We brought our special kid reporters in during spring practice to ask the hard-hitting questions every member of Bison Nation is curious to know. But these aren’t just kids; we went a step further. Who has the scoop better than the sons of Bison coaches? Kellen and Konner Entz put their dad under the spotlight to answer every question about the Bison defense, and Colby Klieman gets an exclusive one-on-one interview with his dad as Chris Klieman’s team prepares for another national championship run.
Kellen Entz Interviews His Dad, Matt Entz
Kellen Entz: What lesson, or lessons, did you learn last year that you will take with you for the rest of your coaching career?
Matt Entz: “You need to pay an unbelievable amount of time to details. And that’s one thing we do here at NDSU, and for the Bison football team, every I is dotted and every T is crossed. When you do those things you have a chance to be pretty good at playing the game.”
KE: After winning your first FCS Championship, how do you stay hungry for another?
ME: “You just want to keep getting better. This is a new team, a new year; that year is behind us now and it’s time to move on. Time to see if we can get another one for the Bison.”
KE: This is the second spring with the same coaching staff. In what ways have you gelled to become better as a staff this season?
ME: “We know each other now. Last year we were still trying to learn everybody; we were strangers, and this year we got to know each other. We can joke around, we can be candid with one another and really share our thoughts and ideas in meeting without any judgment or being worried about offending someone.”
KE: For you, what’s the most important part of your role as defensive coordinator?
ME: “To be a leader. To be a great role model for the players, stay organized to keep moving this thing forward and so we can continue to get better each day.”
Konner Entz Interviews His Dad, Matt Entz
Konner Entz: What did the current group of linebackers learn from last year’s three seniors?
Matt Entz: “They learned how to practice. You talk about Travis (Beck), Carlton (Littlejohn) and Esley (Thorton), those guys practice unbelievably hard every day, came to meetings locked in and focused and I think that’s rubbed off on the young kids this year because we don’t have any seniors in the linebacker room right now. Right now, they’re all still sophomores and freshman and they’re still learning, but they had good role models last year on how to approach the game.”
KE: Who are some of the players on defense that have stood out for you this spring?
ME: “Grant Morgan up front has done a really nice job of improving and being dynamic and doing some good things from the defensive line. MJ Stumpf and Nick DeLuca are doing some good things, and then in the back end of things, Chris Board and Tre Dempsey and, of course, I’d be remised if I didn’t mention CJ (Smith) and Jordan Champion. I think those guys are two of the best corners in the country.”
KE: What does Nick DeLuca have to do this season to grow as a linebacker?
ME: “He needs to be able to communicate. Last year, he had those seniors to rely on to communicate those checks and calls. Now it’s on him. He’s the mic, so he’ll have to take charge and we have to keep developing him as a leader for Nick. Nick has an unbelievable amount of potential so he’s got to continue to push it forward so he understands how to reach that potential.”
KE: Who has already showed signs of stepping up to become the next leader of this defense?
ME: “Grant Morgan, MJ Stumpf, Tre Dempsey, CJ Smith, Jordan Champion – those are the guys we need to get going and to maintain that leadership that they’ve shown but see if they can take it to the next level.”
Colby Klieman Interviews His Dad, Chris Klieman
Colby Klieman: What’s the mission of spring practice?
Chris Klieman: “The mission of spring practice is trying to get every player just a little bit better, trying to take some of the weaknesses they had in the fall and making them strength and trying to get the younger guys up to speed on what our program is about.”
CK Jr.: Who are some of the players on offense that have stood out for you this spring?
CK Sr.: “All of our young offensive linemen. I don’t want to mention any names but all the young offensive lineman have done a really good job, and I’ve been really impressed with some of our young tight ends, Nate Jenson, and Connor Wentz and then all of our younger wide receivers. I expect the older guys to stand out, but those younger receivers and tight ends and offensive lineman have done a really nice job.”
CK Jr.: What did you learn in the scrimmage today?
CK Sr.: “I learned that you were around too much and in my way. I saw you bouncing around. I gotta watch the film first, Colby, to see what I really learned. But I liked that the defense had a lot more energy today.”
CK Jr.: What was your favorite part about Frisco this January?
CK Sr.: “Winning the game. Winning the game and seeing all of Bison Nation down there. All the alums, all the community leaders. Remember when we got off that bus and did the Bison walk through all the people? I’ll never forget that. That was pretty cool, wasn’t it?”
CK Jr.: Yup. What’s the most important thing a freshman coming into the program has to know before stepping onto the field?
CK Sr.: “How to do it the Bison way and they learn that from the upperclassmen.”
CK Jr.: What’s one piece of advice you can give a student who wants to go into coaching?
CK Sr.: “You get the chance to change a lot of lives of a lot of young people. You have a great chance to make an impact and be a mentor.”
CK Jr.: What’s the best thing about being the head coach of the Bison football team?
CK Sr.: “There’s not a bad thing. Everything is great about being the head coach of the Bison. I’m fortunate every day to be the head coach of the Bison. I love every part of the job and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”