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Bison coach Entz hopes spring football season doesn’t ‘hurt’ the FCS brand in the future




In recent weeks, numerous games have been canceled and postponed, and multiple programs have been canceled during the season.

You hate not seeing FCS football happen, Entz said of all missed matches on Monday at his weekly press conference. It’s a tough deal. I hope it doesn’t hurt our football brand to move forward.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference moved conference games from fall to spring due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA also moved the FCS playoffs to the spring.

Entz said NDSU was in favor of playing all season during the fall, when most of the FBS programs were playing, along with some FCS teams. The Bison had one game last October when the MVFC allowed its teams to play non-conference games during the fall.

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The Bison (5-1, 4-1 MVFC) will play against Northern Iowa on Saturday, April 10 at 4 p.m. at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. They haven’t played since March 20, as their previous two games were affected by COVID-19 testing protocols.

Wofford was the last program to opt out, with that announcement coming next Monday around the time of Entz’s weekly press conference. The game between South Dakota State and South Dakota was also canceled on Monday. The MVFC has only played three games since March 20, the last time the conference had a full run of games. The FCS playoffs start on the weekend of April 24.

It’s frustrating, Entz said. I can only worry about the Bison. That’s where I try to keep my mind. If you start to think about how it affects everything, you can become very negative very quickly.

Entz said the team had no positive COVID tests Monday morning, with another round of testing scheduled for Wednesday.

That’s a sign in the right direction, Entz said.

Northern Iowa (3-3, 3-3) and head coach Mark Farley canceled only one game in the spring, namely a game on April 2 in South Dakota.

I’m going to go there expecting to play, Entz said of the upcoming game with the Panthers. I know Coach Farley is a football player, he wants to see matches happen.

The Panthers have a stingy defense, which allows 14.0 points per game. Entz said Omar Brown, the sophomore in Northern Iowa, is one of the top cornerbacks in the Missouri Valley.

After NDSU changed its past two games (one canceled and one postponed) due to COVID, Entz said this was one more challenge in prepping for each game.

It’s been extraordinarily unique, Entz said. You try to set everyone on fire for a game and then you don’t have one. At some point, that takes its toll on your football team. Then they start to question it, shall we play a game again? We probably can’t get too excited earlier in the week. We need to be more mentally locked up.

Entz said the Bison coaches have emphasized fundamentals like blocking, tackling and executing in recent workouts with the season hiatus due to COVID-19.

It’s no different from a season’s Game 1, those are the concerns you have because you haven’t done those things in a while, Entz said.

The Bison lost a veteran defensive piece when senior cornerback Josh Hayes left the team. Entz said Monday that Hayes, of Lakeland, Florida, is looking for an FBS program closer to home, in part because Hayes has a young daughter who lives in that area. Entz said Hayes, who played in 52 games for NDSU, did everything asked of him while on the schedule.

Entz added that the uncertainty of spring has made it difficult to navigate as a head coach.

I wish I had more answers for our players and that’s the frustrating part, he said. As a head soccer coach, you generally need to have the answers, you’re supposed to have the plan. There isn’t necessarily an exact plan for what’s going on right now.

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