Peterson: Roehl reversal into coaching
Tyler Roehl still looks the part as he roams the turf at Jake Christiansen Stadium with bulging biceps and monster calves. The Concordia running backs coach still exudes the intensity that made him a standout player at North Dakota State and West...
Tyler Roehl still looks the part as he roams the turf at Jake Christiansen Stadium with bulging biceps and monster calves.
The Concordia running backs coach still exudes the intensity that made him a standout player at North Dakota State and West Fargo High School.
When the offense makes a big play in practice, it's not unusual to see Roehl sprint up the sideline with his hand up in the air to celebrate the success.
"He's still got some player left in him I think," said senior running back Ben SaariBovre, from Alexandria, Minn.
Roehl, 24, traded in his helmet for a baseball cap and his mouthpiece for a whistle this fall, his first year on the Concordia staff.
"He's sprinting after our running backs on the field," Cobbers head coach Terry Horan said. "He's been a breath of fresh air, he really has. I love his passion. I love his energy.
"If he needs to give out a coaching point, he's going to do it, but he's going to be the first one there giving the kid a high-five if he does something well."
A few short months ago Roehl was at the Minnesota Vikings rookie minicamp trying to earn a spot on the team's roster.
However, an unresponsive surgically repaired knee has likely ended his NFL dreams.
To Roehl, his new job with the Cobbers has been the next best thing.
"I'm running around here a little bit and doing as much I can with the players," said Roehl, who assisted with the West Fargo High School football team last fall. "It's fun. I'm still playing in a way."
Roehl, who played at NDSU from 2004-08, rushed for 2,512 yards and 35 touchdowns as a Bison. He ranks among the school's Top 10 career rushing leaders. He had one of the most memorable rushing performances in Bison history, torching the Minnesota Gophers for 263 yards in 2007, an NDSU school record for a single game.
That success has given Roehl "instant credibility" as a coach, Horan said.
"It was kind of nice to meet him because I watched him on TV," said Cobbers junior running back Chris Gilson, who is from Detroit Lakes, Minn. "I watched him kill the Gophers, unfortunately.
"He obviously knows his stuff. Coming from a guy where you've seen him have success you kind of believe what he says."
While Roehl has played in many college games as a player, Saturday will be his first as a college coach as Concordia opens its season at Dickinson State.
"It's going to be like a learning point for me as well to go through my first game, but I feel like I'm ready for it," Roehl said. "I've been through so many games in my career and watching the coaches get ready for games as well."
While the Cobbers don't return one running back who rushed for more than 100 yards last fall, Roehl thinks the position has potential.
Developing a consistent ground game could be crucial if the Cobbers are to have a successful year.
"I feel like we've got some great athletes back there," Roehl said. "It's just putting them in the right position to succeed. I feel like from Day 1, we have improved quite a bit."
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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.
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