It’s hard to measure how much of the off-the-field happenings in Frisco affect or don’t affect a football team — or wonder if a team is handling it all — but make no mistake, you better be fully prepared and done with all of the necessary game planning by the time you board for Frisco. That was the advice Craig Bohl got in 2011, probably culled from his experience in some major FBS bowl games that he was a part of.
The schedule is busy, with just one closed practice on Thursday for each team. It’s not entirely devoid of distractions, either, with on-field interviews for media at noon for Jacksonville and at 1:30 p.m. for NDSU. Also included in that day is a community activity and a BBQ for both teams at the dinner hour. Friday is also itinerary to the hour with the annual FCS title luncheon at noon for both teams, a press conference for NDSU from 3-3:30 and for Jacksonville from 4-4:30. The Bison open practice is from 4-5 p.m. at Toyota Stadium practice field No. 4, which has been a hit for former players and fans. Only the players are allowed on the immediate premises, with fans not too far away behind a fence. I’ll never forget the line of fans that first year in 2011, which also caught Bohl by surprise and was perhaps the first sign that more NDSU fans were going to show up than once thought.
“I think being around the environment helps you,” said NDSU head coach Chris Klieman. “Just knowing where to get off the bus, the hotel, where the meeting rooms are at, where the locker room is at and the practice fields and the type of grass. All those things make it more comfortable going into this week. I don’t know if it helps you win — that comes down to execution — but there’s no question the experience of being down there helps our guys.”