“The SFI Three”

Now that the final list of 70+ candidates for the UND job has been published, we figured it would be time to list our personal favorites to make the final round of interviews in what will probably be a final three, in our opion.  The rumor out of UND is that AD Brian Faison has widdled the list down to nine “finalists” and will be conducting interviews, presumably over the phone with them this week.  Without further ado, we present to you “The SFI Three”:

  • Glenn Caruso.  What?  He didn’t apply?  So what.  Go check his ‘stats’.  He is one of the best candidates available and that whole “applying” thing can change with one phone call from AD Brian Faison.  Caruso is a hard-nosed workaholic, family-man type that will be able to come in and take charge of the program.  He has won big at the D3 level (65-10 at St Thomas) and no, that does not scare us off.  His turnarounds at Macalester and St Thomas were fast and sustainable. He is a recruiting ace in the Twin Cities and has the respect of the metro high school coaches in that vast recruiting hotbed.  Caruso has experience in the Old-NCC with stints at NDSU and USD.  The offenses he coordinated at USD with Wes Beschorner as QB were some of the best ever in school history and those same offenses gave some pretty darn good UND defenses fits. UND needs a face of the program – a boss – someone to create their own culture and get the players to buy into that culture.  We believe Caruso could do that.  Frankly, its going to take UND to search out Caruso and call him because he has a pretty good job down there and “cannot” apply based on backlash during recruiting season, etc.
  • Bubba Schweigert – The former UND Defensive Coordinator led some of the best defenses in UND Football history.  He is currently in same position at Southern Illinois with Dale Lennon.  Before SIU, Schweigert was the head coach at Minnesota-Duluth, going 22-21 over his four years there.  He led them to the NCC title and a playoff berth in 2005.  He recruited the kids that won National titles for Minnesota-Duluth and now Western Illinois Head Coach Bob Nielsen in 2008 and 2010.  Schweigert, from Zeeland, ND, has the recruiting ties to the upper Midwest that are going to be needed to turn the program around and understands how UND and the state of North Dakota work.  He possesses the ability to discipline, command respect and run a tight-ship.  His forte is defense and we would expect a return of  a formidable defense with the return of Schweigert and some heavy recruiting.
  • Robin Pflugrad– We had a writeup ready on the former Montana HC / Weber State OC and now we are hearing rumors that he did not make the final nine finalists.  How he can’t be in at least the ‘Final 9’ is beyond us, but it must be related to his past NCAA issues at Montana.  Regardless, UND needs to make a move soon to stop the in-house exodus of players and give direction to current players and recruiting for the 2014 cycle.

There are a few other guys we are looking into but are not sold on at this point.  There are a few FBS assistants that look OK on paper but have no ties to the upper midwest area whatsoever.  That scares us.  The guys we like have a tie to the north-land and can get recruiting up and running immediately.  That is paramount at this point.  The class is going to be small anyway but the new coach needs time to give it his best shot at assembling a quality class.

We hope nobody in the UND Athletic Department is planning a vacation any time soon.  This needs to get done.

What are your thoughts on our final three?  Any others you like better?

36 Responses

  1. BCS

    I think Vince Okruch, the special teams coordinator at Akron, is an interesting candidate. Been all over FBS as a DC, including midwest Big 10 schools. Also like Jamie Marshall, the DC from Montana St. Originally from Iowa, so may be familiar with recruiting territory as well. Do you think Pflugrad really has a chance in the end? He is the most exciting candidate in my eyes and has the best resume as far as I am concerned.

    1. Not sold on Okruch. Bounced around so much and nothing really told us he is the guy to lead a program.

      Don’t like Marshall as much either. Something about MSU doesn’t excite us. Good coach but not for this job, IMO.

      One guy we looked into is Dewitt. He could be a wildcard candidate but he does have ties to Klieman at NDSU. Would he end up there?

  2. UND92,96

    Just curious what specifically it is about DeBoer that prevents him from being a more viable candidate in your opinion?

    1. Outstanding question. We have asked around a bit, networked, dug, etc. and from everything we have heard he is a good coach, smart, hard worker. But, we are not sold that he is the guy for UND at this time. Looking for more of an assertive, strong-minded, in your face, face of the program type of personality and not sure he is that.

      Are we splitting hairs? Probably. But we have to go with our gut based on information attained.

    1. His NCAA issues are apparently too much for UND to look past. That’s fine but we think if they really look into them and don’t just talk to ‘academia’ types, that it wasn’t as bad as reported for him.

  3. Harry

    What about Daren Wilkinson? Played football in the mountain west and led an explosive CSU-Pueblo offense. Also was OC at SDSU so he has been in the region. Your thoughts?

      1. duswede

        No, but a d2 head coach that has experience at the BCS level, FCS Playoffs and has turned around a terrible Findlay team in the GLIAC to me is intriguing. Rob Keys?

  4. Adam

    Guessing Caruso wasn’t interested because he had to have been on Faison’s short list and was probably contacted already. He would be my top choice if he was interested.

    I would say it then comes back to Bubba and Deboer. I kind of like Deboer, but I would be fine with either. Caruso, Tibesar, and Bollinger would’ve been my top 3 but it doesn’t look like that is happening.

    1. We don’t think he was on any list. Too bad because he would have been a fine candidate. Would he have gotten then job? No idea. But he could have given them something to compare against, at the very least.

      We are thinking along the same lines as you. Bubba and Deboer. A Saluki Shootout. May the best interviewee win.

    1. Zero. Bubba is not working for Deboer. Way too far along in his career for that. Deboer wants to be a head coach. He has applied at more than one place. Bubba also wants to be a head coach.

  5. niu fan

    Niu fans are hearing on boards that golladay is back home over christmas and will probably be staying down here for 2nd semester. Personally I see him being redshirted at NIU if he transferred, so does a kid really want to sit out for year just to play in the fbs or is he running from a problem at und. i dont know how to feel about him, who knows maybe he never plays a down for niu then itd look like a bad move huh.

    1. UNDBIZ

      He’ll have to redshirt for a year due to NCAA transfer policies. It appears he’s running away from the problem that currently is UND’s football program. He’s a great player and you guys will be happy to have him in 2015.

    2. We are hearing he will be transferring back home too. He played at St Rita’s in Chicago so the move makes sense, if that is what he wants. He will surprise you guys. 6’5″ and runs really well. Very good hands. Loves to block in run game. He has crushed some guys over the years.

    3. Golladay could very well step on campus and be a top 3 WR right now at NIU. I think that’s on the low end. On the high end, from a pure talent standpoint, hes the best WR right now in Dekalb. Especially with another year to develop mentally and physically. Kinda scary.

      1. Mark

        I would take Zach Vraa over Golladay anyday and twice on Saturdays in December.

        Anybody can put up big numbers when the QB throws 60 times a game.

        1. Anybody can put up big numbers at WR when you have a senior QB and your running game is going for 5 yds/play and absolutely plowing over the defense. Not hard to beat one-on-one all game, every game.

          Might want to check your stats also.

  6. Mark

    Well the most importat state for a Wide Reciever is Touchdowns and Regular Season Only:
    Vraa – 11 (13 if you want to include playoffs)
    Golladay – 8

    Also, the bison played a tougher schedule.

    1. UNDBIZ

      Helps when you’re not a sophomore competing with Greg Hardin for targets from 2 freshmen QBs. As for the schedule comment….. LOL again. Vraa wouldn’t have seen the field at UND. You can pick out pretty much any position on the team and NDSU will be better than UND at that position, but WR isn’t (wasn’t) one of them.

      1. Mark

        Love how UND fans think the Big Fluffy was tough. Northern Arizona, Southern Utah and Montana were all borderline playoff teams that got exposed

        1. Trollolol

          And EWU ran all over the MVFC’s #2 defense. NAU, who was “exposed”, played SDSU a lot tougher than MVFC’s #3 YSU did the week before.

  7. Mel

    The kid is a beast and UND was lucky to have him for two years .No one with his potential should subject themselves to another season like last years. Where EVER he goes it will be a welcomed addition!!!! I hear the offers are coming out the wood work

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