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McFeely: Klieman mum about Bison dismissals, getting rumor mill going

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Chris Klieman did what football coaches do. More, actually. He opened his Monday press conference by volunteering information that three backup players were kicked off the North Dakota State football team and a fourth backup was suspended for one game. And then he wouldn’t talk about it anymore.

Some football coaches, perhaps many, would not have offered such information about player dismissals without being asked about it. It’s good he did, probably, from a coaching perspective. Get out in front of the story and move on.

Klieman let it be known freshman quarterback Henry Van Dellen, senior safety Darren Kelley and freshman receiver Sean Engel were removed from the team. He also said junior receiver Dallas Freeman will be suspended for the upcoming Football Championship Subdivision game against San Diego at the Fargodome on Saturday.

Then Klieman did what every other football coach does when they don’t want to be asked questions about team discipline issues. He said, “I’m not going to get into any reason other than a violation of team rules.”

A couple of reporters, including me, asked Klieman for more details on the dismissal and suspension. Specifically, I asked whether he could narrow down the reason for the dismissals into a category like “academics” or something else and he responded by saying, “I said we’re not going to talk about it.” KVRR-TV reporter Keith Albertson followed up by asking whether the dismissals and the suspension were related and a slightly agitated Klieman responded by saying, “I said we’re not going to talk about it.”

Former Bison coach Craig Bohl told Forum sports editor Kevin Schnepf in 2013 to “park those questions” because Schnepf kept asking about Bohl leaving NDSU for a job at Wyoming. This was Klieman’s “park it” moment. It was clear he wasn’t going to offer any further information.