NCAA football championship: North Dakota State's picture day sets the bar high
The North Dakota State football team walked slowly across the field at Toyota Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, the sun had finally broken through after a foggy Texas morning.
The team was dressed in gray team-issued workout outfits and moved along the field grouped together by positions, knowingly or not, but still together as a team.
Offensive linemen took panoramic photos of the field on their smartphones, defensive backs clipped videos for their SnapChat accounts and equipment managers tweeted out the latest happenings.
Most days for a football team are mapped out in great detail – eat breakfast at 7 a.m., watch film at 9:05 a.m., study hall at 6:30 p.m. and so on. This day was no different. There were things to be done.
It was picture day.
“Minnesota! Gimme Minnesota now,” one of the Bison coaches yelled.
A group of 37 guys got together in a scrum and posed for what would be one of hundreds of photos snapped at the field. The Bison have a tradition of getting team photos done by state. The guys from Wisconsin where next, followed by South Dakota and North Dakota. It seems sophomore running back Darius Anderson would be rather lonely in his state photo. He is the only member of the Bison to call Hawaii home.
Since this football game is taking place in 2016 in the United States of America, naturally the boys from NDSU had to show off their dabbing skills.
There is a group of 19 members of the team who share a special bond, or at least a unique look.
The guys on the team call it the ‘caveman look.’
So when the coach who was coordinating the different group pictures shouted “Gimme the ‘Long Hair, Don’t Care.’ Let’s go, go, go!”
Two brothers are proud members of the Long Hair, Don’t Care gang – Jerrod and Derrek Tuszka.
“Derrek actually started it and said I wouldn’t grow mine out, so I had to prove him wrong,” Jerrod Tuszka said. “The whole man-bun thing is kind of a trend now. It even made it to North Dakota. “
The Tuszka brothers grew up on a farm in Warner, South Dakota playing 9-man football because their school wasn’t big enough to support an 11-man team. The number of graduating seniors in Jerrod Tuszka’s class was 23 and it was the largest class at the school at the time.
The Tuszka Brothers are not only sons of farmers in the long hair club – “We got a lot of big ol’ farm boys on this team,” one of the guys shouted as photographer snapped the official championship photo of the Long Hair, Don’t Care Club.
The past four FCS seasons ended on this field with North Dakota State hoisting the NCAA Division I Football Championship trophy. The Bison have taken the usual ‘this is a business trip’ approach to the now-five consecutive years journey to Frisco.
The North Dakota State fans takeover of Frisco started right around the time the Bison were posing for the official team picture.
"It is so neat knowing you're going to have upwards of 20,000 people traveling down to see you,” NDSU head coach Chris Klieman said earlier in the week. “Whether or not they get in the game or not, who knows, but I know they're all going to be down there."
And they are coming. The fans of NDSU built a check-in app for social media showing where the fans are as they roll into North Texas.
As the guys in the Long Hair Club might say, a picture is worth a 1,000 words.