Football

Changes Coming

Changes Coming

Chris Klieman will need to hire a new coach for his staff for the first time since taking as the top guy. Defensive end coach Jamar Cain confirmed today that he’s leaving NDSU to take the same job at San Jose State of the Mountain West. Cain was hired after Klieman took over as head coach and has developed some great players at that position.

Cain is a California native, Sacramento (and rabid Oakland Raiders fan) and now gets a chance to return closer to home. His fingerprints are all over the defensive line, look no further than the season Kyle Emanuel had in 2014, a big reason why was how Cain pushed. Emanuel won the Buchanan Award that year, posting 19.5 sacks, to go along with 97 tackles. He’s also developed Greg Menard to be one of the best ends in the FCS and worked with a couple of younger players we just started to see break thru, Stanley Jones and and the Tuszka brothers. Cain continued to tout Cole Karcz to me during fall camp, a name to watch during 2017 spring ball. Will be interested to see who Klieman gets to fill this position, especially since Cain had plugged into an area in California that NDSU had not really been to in recruiting. Aaron Mercadel and Quinton McCoy were a couple of players that Cain got out of California.

There was a couple of eyebrow raising stories out of the Coaches Convention in Nashville today. First is the story on an early signing period, which got the approval of the coaches for student-athletes to sign a letter of intent on the third Wednesday in December, which is traditionally when junior college transfers sign.

This has been a story I’ve been following for a while, and could have a big trickle down to the FCS level. The big boy schools can now potentially lock up their recruits in December and not have to wait till February for an answer, which would allow for the Group of Five schools and eventually the FCS to know on a player if they’re still available or not. I’ve been a proponent of this for a while, especially at the FCS level, where some kids know where they want to go to school as soon as they verbally commit. There are exceptions, NDSU’s roster is littered with them, from Ben Ellefson, who verballed in August, but was still getting FBS offers into October. Or Darrius Shepherd, who had verballed to South Dakota in January, only to change his mind and sign with NDSU. This will still happen, but I can imagine some kids not wanting to wait around until February.

The other proposed change is a major one in my mind. This is to the redshirt rule, the coaches proposed keeping the five for four rule, you have five years to complete four years of eligibility, but the change would be you could use a redshirt in ANY season in where you played four or fewer games.

The current rule as NDSU has used over the past few seasons with Zach Vraa to Nick DeLuca more recently, is that a player can only use the medical redshirt if a player gets hurt in the first half of the season and if they have played in less than 30 percent or 3 games of the season. DeLuca was right at that threshold, playing three games.

Now, if this rule passes, imagine the possibilities. Coaches could decide to possibly use a true freshman late in the season for the playoffs, take for example off of this year’s team, a Jabril Cox. He plays just the four playoff games, but doesn’t lose a season of eligibility. That could raise plenty of questions for the Football Oversight Committee, which will vote on this and the early signing period next week. Something to keep an eye on.

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