Photo By Tim Sanger/NDSU Athletics
Football fans across the world often quote the words of Chris Berman. From “Woop” to “He Could Go All The Way”, Berman is the narrator behind every big play on TV and in our own minds. When junior Adam Cofield runs the football, I think of a famous Chris Berman catchphrase.
“And he’s rumblin’, bumblin’…stumblin’,” Berman would utter. In most cases, the announcer would be referring to a defensive lineman or larger running back/fullback as they lumbered towards the endzone. While Cofield may not bumble or stumble when he runs, he certainly knows how to rumble with the football in his hands.
Standing at 5-foot-11 and weighing in at a solid 202 pounds, Cofield uses his mighty frame to bruise opposing defenders between the tackles. It’s his stature that usually garners a “power back” distinction for the Lee’s Summit, Missouri, native. However, as he has gotten more carries and caught more passes, Cofield has shown his speed and agility too. There is no better evidence than his 71-yard game-winning run on fourth and inches against South Dakota State last weekend.
— VNL Sports (@vnlsports) October 26, 2019
“He has always been explosive. The nickname of power back probably comes from just how we use him and a lot of times it’s in the I. So he gets associated with being a downhill back because we’re running power with him or some sort of gap scheme,” head coach Matt Entz said on Monday. “He has great speed, he has great footwork, he makes people miss. Adam is a powerful kid but still has good speed where he can outrace people as well.”
No longer can one simply deem Adam Cofield as a power back. Over the past three weeks, Cofield has racked up runs of 38, 58 and 71 yards. That 71-yard dash against the Jackrabbits set a new career-high. Cofield finished that Dakota Marker game with 86 rushing yard on just seven carries, a 12.3 yards per carry average.
“Pre-snap, my main objective was to just get the first down. The offensive line blocked it so well that the hole just opened up. I kind of got big eyes and reacted and just went,” Cofield said of that fourth-down run. “I just trusted my speed. If he was going to dive at my legs, I was just going to trust what I’ve been working on and break the tackle.”
— Andrew Grieve (@AGrieveNDSU95) October 27, 2019
That game-winning run is not the first time Cofield’s name has been called this season either. Through eight games, the junior has taken 90 carries and rushed for 488 yards and an impressive eight touchdowns. Add to that, 11 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown through the air. With that versatility, Cofield has become a nightmare for opposing defenses. However, Cofield believes that the Bison offense as a whole is the biggest incubus of all.
“I wouldn’t say opponents just gameplan for me because the whole offense has a lot of different things,” he said. “I’d say they gameplan for the Bison so it’s important for us to prepare for the type of defense that we’re going against.”
While the casual viewer sees Cofield as a power runner who can get downhill by knifing between the tackles, the junior describes himself differently. When asked what his running style is, Cofield would not divulge if he prefers north and south to east and west. In fact, he would say his style is whatever adheres to the gameplan. “Being able to go out there and execute, that’s my run style,” he said.
Matt Entz has said on numerous occasions that Cofield has improved his footwork in his time on campus. That is evident if you were to watch Cofield two years ago to today, but again, Cofield sees things differently. He feels he has improved his mental fitness tenfold since coming to Fargo in 2016. “My biggest improvement is the mental aspect of the game. These coaches put a lot on us and I’m just blessed that I am able to take on the knowledge they have bestowed on me,” he said. “I just want to keep using my abilities and mental aspect to keep improving.”
It’s hard to ignore the fact that Cofield has football in his blood. His father, Tim, had stints in the NFL with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. The elder Cofield was also a stellar talent in the Canadian Football League. Because he was around the game so much, football quickly became the running back’s focus. “It did grow on me at an early age. I learned to love football because I was just around it all the time” Cofield said. “I just feel like football was everywhere around me so I felt like this was something I wanted to do since I was a little kid.”
However, Cofield’s father was a defensive player throughout his professional career. While Adam Cofield played on both sides of the ball for Blue Springs South High School, the defense seemed like his calling initially. He was named a first-team all-state linebacker and was Missouri’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2015. Thanks to that success, Cofield thought he would follow in his father’s footsteps as a college (and possibly professional) linebacker.
Obviously, North Dakota State had other plans and it seems to have worked out for all parties involved.
“I ask myself that questions sometimes because I felt I was actually doing well at linebacker in high school,” Cofield said. “It was just a blessing to come and play football at a high level in the first place.”
With a road test against Youngstown State on the docket, Cofield sees the importance of preparation. A talented Penguins front seven will look to limit NDSU’s rush attack on Saturday. This only heightens the importance of game preparation for Cofield and the Bison running backs. “They have some pretty good guys at the defensive line and linebacker so we just have to keep preparing and execute day by day,” he said. “The most important thing is to prepare from Monday to the start of the game. We just need to keep improving and let our abilities go out there and execute at a high level.”
If Chris Berman were on the call for a Bison football game, he’d have plenty to say about Adam Cofield. While he may rumble down the field at times, Cofield has shown he is a vital weapon for NDSU. One can only imagine Berman yelling “he could go…all…the…way” as Cofield speeds down the sideline.
For now, we’ll just have to play that audio in our head when the junior breaks a big run.