This past Friday, North Dakota State’s football coach’s clinic took place with keynote speaker coach Jon Gruden. Gruden spoke at a press conference before he watched the Bison’s football practice and then spoke at the coach’s clinic.
Gruden, who has one Super Bowl ring as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002, is known now for is commentary on ESPN Monday Night Football. Sean McDonough and Lisa Salters for MNF join him in the booth, while also hosting Gruden’s QB Camp on ESPN.
Before the 2006 season, many of the coaching staff for Tampa left for other coaching positions and Gruden had a hard time looking for a new linebackers coach. At the time, Tampa had Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks on the team.
Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin suggested Gus Bradley out of North Dakota State. The following year, Todd Wash went to Tampa to be the defensive quality to coach and then defensive line coach the following year. He also came out of North Dakota State. Gruden said the two best coaches he hired came out of NDSU.
“I don’t like their offense here, I love it.” Gruden said. “The way they huddle. The way they run the football. The way they play and the effort they play with.” This was in response to when he was asked about if his meeting with Carson Wentz made him went to come to NDSU and Fargo.
Gruden said he believes with the success players have had out of NDSU, they have opened the doors for coaches to take a second look at other NDSU players.
“This is not a good program, it’s a great program,” Gruden said. “This is a five-star operation.”
When asked what about NDSU makes their skills transfer to the NFL level, Gruden said, “That they are here and they are finishers. A lot of them come here as red shirt freshmen. They have been in the same program with the same coaches. They get some reps. Reputation is the mother of learning I always say.”
Gruden continued to say they come out of here polished and are versatile guys. He would give praise to Joe Haeg, noting how last year’s graduate can play both guard and tackle. Gruden also noted he’s smart and they do a lot of things at the line of scrimmage.
“This style of football is not for everybody,” Gruden said. “This is a real commitment.”
The top thing Gruden was excited for talking with the NDSU coaching staff was to congratulate them.
“I’m here to support them,” Gruden said. “I’m here to acknowledge them as good as they are in their field. I just really want to compliment them.”
Gruden said a lot what he learned in football was some of the greatest lessons he has learned in life. Things like work ethic, mental toughness and sportsmanship.
When asked about his coaching philosophy, Gruden simply said, “Do whatever it takes to win.” He learned that in his time with Oakland from Al Davis who is known for his famous line “Just win baby.”
Gruden spoke on finding a way to adapt to whatever issues they had, any type of change from the rules, the coaches, the roster, injuries and players holding out.
“Find a way to adapt and be consistent and be relentless and do whatever you got to do to win,” Gruden said. “Compete man.”