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New DC- Travis Niekamp

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Redbirdfan21
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:13 pm


ISUBU
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:34 pm

We're putting the band back together.

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Total Red
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:46 pm

ISUBU wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:34 pm
We're putting the band back together.
I'm pleased that Coach Spack has been talking with former coaches Heacock and Berry. It's always tough to see coaches leave, especially Kane Kiernan because he's one of us - a Redbird. But on the flip side it opens the door for others that have been connected to the program.

Welcome Home Travis

fourthandshort
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:55 pm

Interesting find ... he is an alumni from 1997, and also coached in 1998-99 .. which previously was the best 2 year football run up until 2014-15 run

- played DT at ISU finishing in 1997, a rough 2-9 year
- outside linebacker coach, safeties coach and defensive tackles coach at his alma mater, Illinois State University in 1998 and 1999

So was part of and he witnessed a huge turnaround under HC berry, then followed him

http://goredbirds.com/news/2018/1/4/nie ... nator.aspx

So lot of experience playing/coaching DL and coaching LB, among other duties. Only DC experience was Co-DC at LA-Monroe I think .. so this is step up for him. I'm quite sure Spack will be mentoring this guy. He will also be the DL coach, so fits very nicely into Nowinsky void .. but will have his work cut out for him with loss of Keene, Conley, McCown.

Hard to say how this will work out, but I would not judge this guy based on probable slow start for defense next fall ... we lost a lot of starts and stats at DL and DB. Stacked very deep at LB and deep enough at DE. But again, thinking Spack will help him get defense back on track .. might look a little like 2013 on defense .. slow start and strong finish .. hopefully not quite as slow as 2013.

But our offense and run game should help take some pressure off the defense early ... 5 yards and a pile of rubber tire pellets ... and another Redbird first down !!! We are going to grind teams into the ground .. work the play clock and move those chains. Help keep the defense rested.
Redbird Nation Rising ... Fans and donors need to get on board !!

fourthandshort
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:23 pm

so given our great depth at LB and limited proven DT depth .. is this a year to go to the 3-4 alignment ??

LBers: Horton, Barry, Martin, Deforest, Clark, Barajas

DE's: Harris, Swaine ... maybe work Barry and/or Barajas in at DE.

Going to look up Montana and see what they liked to do .. and Louisiana-Monroe.
Redbird Nation Rising ... Fans and donors need to get on board !!

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Total Red
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:46 pm

fourthandshort wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:23 pm
so given our great depth at LB
I feel like we have 2 proven LB'ers. Horton deserved more than the Newcomer team. Barry finished the season strong. He's been moved around a lot (TE, DE, LB). I want to see what he can do at the Mike. He doesn't have the prototypical low center of gravity for a MIke (think Boomer Grigsby, Brian Gant - former Redbirds) but he could be closer to a Brian Urlacher type. He was a college Safety.

Lots of potential candidates beyond those two especially Barajas as he comes back from injury but right now I feel like we only have 2 proven.

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StLRedbird
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:07 pm

fourthandshort wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:55 pm
Interesting find ... he is an alumni from 1997, and also coached in 1998-99 .. which previously was the best 2 year football run up until 2014-15 run

- played DT at ISU finishing in 1997, a rough 2-9 year
- outside linebacker coach, safeties coach and defensive tackles coach at his alma mater, Illinois State University in 1998 and 1999

So was part of and he witnessed a huge turnaround under HC berry, then followed him

http://goredbirds.com/news/2018/1/4/nie ... nator.aspx

So lot of experience playing/coaching DL and coaching LB, among other duties. Only DC experience was Co-DC at LA-Monroe I think .. so this is step up for him. I'm quite sure Spack will be mentoring this guy. He will also be the DL coach, so fits very nicely into Nowinsky void .. but will have his work cut out for him with loss of Keene, Conley, McCown.
No Kidding? So the only two years of Redbird Football that produced playoff teams in the 1900s, Niekamp was a coach? And had played during some of the dark days. Hancock was a discouraging place back then.

But those teams just brushed it off and went about their business. And those teams made me think maybe football could be something here. Anyone else remember the Berry years that way?

Now he's back to run the show on the defensive side. Would love to have been a fly on the wall on his recent conversations with the coach.

dpdoughbird06
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:36 pm

fourthandshort wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:55 pm
Interesting find ... he is an alumni from 1997, and also coached in 1998-99 .. which previously was the best 2 year football run up until 2014-15 run

- played DT at ISU finishing in 1997, a rough 2-9 year
- outside linebacker coach, safeties coach and defensive tackles coach at his alma mater, Illinois State University in 1998 and 1999

So was part of and he witnessed a huge turnaround under HC berry, then followed him

http://goredbirds.com/news/2018/1/4/nie ... nator.aspx

So lot of experience playing/coaching DL and coaching LB, among other duties. Only DC experience was Co-DC at LA-Monroe I think .. so this is step up for him. I'm quite sure Spack will be mentoring this guy. He will also be the DL coach, so fits very nicely into Nowinsky void .. but will have his work cut out for him with loss of Keene, Conley, McCown.

Hard to say how this will work out, but I would not judge this guy based on probable slow start for defense next fall ... we lost a lot of starts and stats at DL and DB. Stacked very deep at LB and deep enough at DE. But again, thinking Spack will help him get defense back on track .. might look a little like 2013 on defense .. slow start and strong finish .. hopefully not quite as slow as 2013.

But our offense and run game should help take some pressure off the defense early ... 5 yards and a pile of rubber tire pellets ... and another Redbird first down !!! We are going to grind teams into the ground .. work the play clock and move those chains. Help keep the defense rested.
That last part will also help me survive entire games with a 4- and 6-year old in tow. "4" cut off circulation to my legs after he fell asleep on my lap during halftime of the particularly long and slow South Dakota game.

ISUBU
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:35 pm

StLRedbird wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:07 pm
No Kidding? So the only two years of Redbird Football that produced playoff teams in the 1900s, Niekamp was a coach? And had played during some of the dark days. Hancock was a discouraging place back then.

But those teams just brushed it off and went about their business. And those teams made me think maybe football could be something here. Anyone else remember the Berry years that way?
Niekamp played his final two years for Berry. The Heacock years weren't terrible. The Birds just couldn't get over the hump. They'd seem to finish around 5-6 each season. They knocked off #1 YSU once.
Then Berry came in talking about competing for the national championship, and seemed like he could do it. Berry's first two seasons saw the team fall back in wins, but you could see the beginning of a program. I remember theyd hold out Glenn to watch a series with the coach before entering the game. Even with the losses they were fun to watch. Unexpected plays and the willingness to throw a lot was a change. As the Birds started to win, the play became less risky.

Reggie
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Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:54 pm

fourthandshort wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:23 pm
so given our great depth at LB and limited proven DT depth .. is this a year to go to the 3-4 alignment ??

LBers: Horton, Barry, Martin, Deforest, Clark, Barajas

DE's: Harris, Swaine ... maybe work Barry and/or Barajas in at DE.

Going to look up Montana and see what they liked to do .. and Louisiana-Monroe.
I think with a 3-4 they would just be moving the current weak side DEs off the line, and current SDEs to weak side. Then you are still playing two of our current DTs at a time. Otherwise I think we would get run over.

fourthandshort
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Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:02 am

Total Red wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:46 pm
fourthandshort wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:23 pm
so given our great depth at LB
I feel like we have 2 proven LB'ers. Horton deserved more than the Newcomer team. Barry finished the season strong. He's been moved around a lot (TE, DE, LB). I want to see what he can do at the Mike. He doesn't have the prototypical low center of gravity for a MIke (think Boomer Grigsby, Brian Gant - former Redbirds) but he could be closer to a Brian Urlacher type. He was a college Safety.

Lots of potential candidates beyond those two especially Barajas as he comes back from injury but right now I feel like we only have 2 proven.
agree partly, and both Horton and Barry are SRs ... figure both should improve even more, given Horton a 2nd year in our system, and Barry's 2nd year playing LB.

For the record, you missed a position change on Barry ... as true FR, he was WR, who later then turned to TE to DE to LB ... just love this guys track record .. reminds me of OL Liedtke who changed positions nearly every year .. and is now in NFL.

But I like these guys a lot too:

- Kelly-Martin (JR, 38 tackles, 215 lbs) - assuming he will put on 5 lbs at least, and I believe will become our next stud
- Deforest (JR, 35 tackles, 240 lbs) - maybe not a stud, but very very solid
- Clark (JT, 19 tackles, 245 lbs) - had 4 TFLs incl 2.5 sacks, and 4 QBHs in limited time .. potential dark horse with another full off season
- Barajas (JR, injured, 240 lbs) - 4 star Notre Dame transfer got injured .. but assuming he can stay healthy, and benefits from full offseason in program, I have to believe he will become a contributor

This is why I think we are stacked at LB and like idea of 3-4

But I think our incoming DTs will be big enough to hold their own in short down situations, but doubt there is Dalton Keene emerging yet, so interior is taking a step backwards. Not so worried about replacing DT McCown - we've got several guys with nice size waiting their turn. And only somewhat worried about replacing DE Conley given news that SR Swaine played injured all year and JR DE Harris is filling out his frame nicely .. add 5 lbs to both those guys and we should be fine at DE. Also loved idea of moving TE Gillum to DE .. he seems to raw with his talent to be TE .. would love to unleash him at DE like we did Perkins.

Secondary is whole different conversation .. lot of good bodies, but many question marks losing 3 starters.
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isuquinndog
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Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:33 am

LET'S WIN THIS GAME!

isuphloyd
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Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:51 pm

I had several undergrad classes with Travis, always a great guy towards me. Love seeing him come back to a place that he loved to represent as a student.

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Chi-bird
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Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:11 pm

Not an expert on this by any means...but I'm excited about the hire.

Welcome home, Travis!

MPE773
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Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:13 am

Welcome home Cruiser!

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TIMMY
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Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:37 pm

Love the hire.
Not a 3-4 fan. If you go that route who's your 2 gapper? Better have a few. I don't see it.
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Total Red
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Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:29 pm

fourthandshort wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:02 am

For the record, you missed a position change on Barry ... as true FR, he was WR, who later then turned to TE to DE to LB ... just love this guys track record .. reminds me of OL Liedtke who changed positions nearly every year .. and is now in NFL.

But I like these guys a lot too:

- Kelly-Martin (JR, 38 tackles, 215 lbs) - assuming he will put on 5 lbs at least, and I believe will become our next stud
- Deforest (JR, 35 tackles, 240 lbs) - maybe not a stud, but very very solid
- Clark (JT, 19 tackles, 245 lbs) - had 4 TFLs incl 2.5 sacks, and 4 QBHs in limited time .. potential dark horse with another full off season
- Barajas (JR, injured, 240 lbs) - 4 star Notre Dame transfer got injured .. but assuming he can stay healthy, and benefits from full offseason in program, I have to believe he will become a contributor

This is why I think we are stacked at LB and like idea of 3-4
Good catch on Barry having been listed as a WR. I like that he really caught on in the 2nd half of the season. He's come a long way as a LB'er is a short amount of time.

I count Clark as a DE because he generally came across the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball.

Kelly-Martin stud? I've been hearing that but I haven't been seeing it. He got a starting LB'er position last season but he couldn't hang on to it. That group has potential so maybe this is Martin's year but if I had to pick one to emerge I would look for Barajas. Also some names not mentioned - Washington is coming along and a RS -freshman to watch is Vandenburgh. He may not wait his turn.

fourthandshort
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Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:09 am

TIMMY wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:37 pm
Love the hire.
Not a 3-4 fan. If you go that route who's your 2 gapper? Better have a few. I don't see it.
Timmy .. you know way more than me on this kind of stuff .. help me out:

1. what kind of body/player do we need for 2 gapper ? size and skills ? former Redbirds that fit the bill ?
2. if my optimism with our LB group proves true, how else can we mix things up to take advantage of our LB depth while we see how our DTs develop ?
3. what do you think of our DE situation ? Does Gillum seem like good candidate to convert to DE .. I like Swaine when healthy, but he was injured and his frame can only add so much weight anyway. And who is the next speed rusher to replace Graham .. that RB to DE move was genius.
Redbird Nation Rising ... Fans and donors need to get on board !!

Bender
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Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:23 am

I would like to see O'Day move from RT to DT. While he had success against undersized DEs (see USD game), he struggled to stay engaged and keep the pocket for Kolbe when DEs had speed and size. He came to ISU as a DE and I think he could make an impact as a 6'6" 300lb DT to clog up the run game and add a wrinkle to the throwing windows for the QBs in the MVFC.

RedbirdSF67
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Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:13 am

Excited for Niekamp prospects. Watched a little Louisiana Monroe vs Alabama from 2015, when he was a co-coordinator, out on YouTube. 3-4 for sure, lot of LB switching/blitzing. Less focus on D-line like Nowinsky had with his defenses. We have LBers coming out of our ears here so should be fine. Berry, Forrest, Horton, Barajas, Martin and probably 2-3 more that redshirted last year. Need 5 good lineman to rotate, Harris, Swaine are a given as 3-4 DE, Powell, Podkowski, Galindo, Isreal, Bussone all should be hovering around 290-300 and should emerge there at DTackles. Clark, Guhl, and I'm sure 1 or 2 new surprises at DE have us covered. I'm worried about secondary tbh, Washington needs to emerge and for sure some redshirt freshman.

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