Impressive new training ground for older Bison football players – InForum

FARGO — There were a few occasional shoutouts and minor skirmishes between offensive and defensive linemen Friday during the second football practice of the season at North Dakota State. That was about it for the old school, though.

Everything else was like a shiny new car when the Bisons drove to their new training ground adjacent to the Nodak Mutual Football Performance Complex. The interior facility is in the final months of construction.

The outdoor field had its first practice.

“We were all saying it didn’t really feel like camp because it didn’t have the old feel of being here on the grass pitches,” senior defensive end Spencer Waege said. “So just being here with the new setup, everything seems to be ruined and like I said, I didn’t really feel like I was at camp today.”

The NDSU installed an artificial training ground several years ago, but it was removed to make way for the new project. It’s a much different look than the three former grass practice pitches that stood on the site for many years, such as when offensive coordinator Tyler Roehl played for the Bison, ending his career in 2008.


The North Dakota State offensive lineman performs drills during practice on the new turf at the Nodak Insurance Football Performance Complex Friday, August 5, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

“I was talking with Coach Roehl before practice, we’re too spoiled,” left tackle Cody Mauch said. “He would tell us what he had when he was playing. No, we’re definitely pretty spoiled now.

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The covered ground of the $50 million project is expected to be completed by mid-October. The entire facility is targeting a spring finish date, with the last to be completed being a locker room, sports medicine area, recruiting room and offices.

“It still looked nice from a distance,” Waege said. “But seeing it up close is much better.”

The FieldTurf training ground received its finishing touches on Thursday. It includes new lights that will replace the portable lights that were brought to the training ground in late fall when training would end after sunset.


North Dakota State punter Kaedin Steindorf and teammates get to work during practice on the new turf at the Nodak Insurance Football Performance Complex Friday, August 5, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

NDSU still needs two practice fields for the most part and uses Dacotah Field, the home ground of the Bison football team.

When the interior is complete, NDSU will have the equivalent of approximately 2 1/2 practice football fields.

“Every time we come down to college and see it being put together, we’re like, man, this stuff is gonna be huge,” Mauch said. “And it’s really quite huge. … It wasn’t even a thought six years ago. It’s just cool to see the program progress like this.

This will be the first year that NDSU will not have a turf practice field, but turf playing fields in college football are becoming rare. Every team in the Missouri Valley Football Conference plays on grass.


North Dakota State defensive backs prepare for practice on the new turf at the Nodak Insurance Football Performance Complex on Friday, August 5, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

The only grass field NDSU has played on in recent years is at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas in the NCAA Division I FCS National Title Game.

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“We’re on grass all the time,” Waege said. “We don’t play anywhere in our conference or anywhere for that matter that still plays on a grass court. So for how many years we always had to do a team session on the grass court, we just never had to play on the grass. So being on the grass all the time, I think, helps a lot.

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