One thing is obvious about the North Dakota State football team, aside from the fact it is the class of Football Championship Subdivision: Coach Craig Bohl is the president and CEO of the Brent Vigen Fan Club.
Like Saturday night after NDSU throttled New Hampshire 52-14 at the Fargodome to earn a third trip to Frisco, Texas. Nobody in Bohl's postgame press conference asked about Vigen, the Bison's offensive coordinator. Yet when somebody tossed out a general question about the Bison's remarkable senior class, Bohl took the opportunity not to praise the players, but to lay it on thick about Vigen.
"You brought up that recruiting class and I thought about one of the key guys recruiting those guys. ... It was Brent Vigen whorecruited Ryan Smith, Kevin Vaadeland, Taylor Nelson, John Crockett, Leevon Perry, Grant Olson, Ryan Drevlow, Travis Beck, Carlton Littlejohn ... and Marcus Williams," Bohl said. "It really hit me when all those seniors stood up and thanked Brent Vigen for recruiting them. That's a pretty impressive class right there."
Bohl's effusiveness Saturday night came the same day he was quoted as saying the following in a Patrick Reusse column in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis:
"I’m very happy that Brent Vigen, our offensive coordinator and an exceptional recruiter, will be with us. He’s probably had more to do with our success at NDSU then anyone.”
And that came after his TV show last Sunday, when Bohl heaped superlatives on Vigen.
Seems as though Bohl is going out of his way to let the world know how remarkable Vigen is, even when nobody is asking. It also seems Bohl is declining to tell the world how remarkable his defensive coordinator Chris Klieman is, even if we are asking.
Klieman, of course, was named the next Bison head coach last Sunday. And so far Bohl has avoided saying much of anything, and certainly anything outwardly praiseworthy, about Klieman. He's been given opportunities,
At his weekly news conference with the local media Monday, Bohl was asked his thoughts on Klieman being his successor. Bohl essentially said, "He's a good coach ... but we have to focus on our next game."
I'm told Bohl had pretty much the same answer for Reusse when the columnist asked about Klieman.
Hmmmmm. Could it be Bohl is less-than-pleased Klieman decided to stay in Fargo and pass up the opportunity to be defensive coordinator at Wyoming? Could it be Bohl is rewarding Vigen for his loyalty with hefty praise, while remaining silent about the attributes of the coordinator who declined the chance to follow him to Laramie?
Sure seems that way. And we know Bohl honors loyalty above almost all else.
It can't be Bohl is upset because Vigen didn't get the head-coaching job at NDSU, because Vigen met with athletic director Gene Taylor early last week and said he wasn't interested.
Interesting. Almost to the point of being awkward, especially since Bohl has never before been publicly over-the-top laudatory about Vigen. And he's had 11 years to do so.
If there is some behind-the-scenes drama going on, the world cannot tell. Bison fans don't care. And it doesn't appear to matter.
This Bison team is so loaded, it could spot New Hampshire an early pick-six and a fumble ... and still have the game in the bag by halftime.
Yes, Vigen's offense has been amazing under the direction of Brock Jensen. There is no denying that. But this NDSU run has been built around defense and it showed up again Saturday.
New Hampshire had less than 100 yards of total offense into the fourth quarter and Perry's fumble recovery for a touchdown was the ESPN highlight.
We said it more than a month ago and we'll say it again: Nobody, neither Towson nor Eastern Washington, is going to beat NDSU. The Bison are going to have to beat themselves to avoid a third straight national championship.
"Helluva football team. Helluva football program we got beat by today," New Hampshire head coach Sean McConnell said. "I know where they've been and I know where they are going. Every which way but loose, they beat us. They beat us in every phase of the game."
To hear Bohl tell it, Bison fans should thank one person -- Brent Vigen -- for that dominance.
(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)