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Jeff Kolpack, Published September 19 2008

Bison ties collide in NFL game Sunday

Tuesdays are game- planning days with the Chicago Bears. Here is a telephone conversation you will never hear between Bears defensive coordinator Bob Babich and Tampa Bay linebackers coach Casey Bradley:

Babich: “Hello Gus, what do you hear about Brian Griese at quarterback?”

Bradley: “He’s got a sore elbow, but don’t tell anybody. How’s Kyle Orton, or who are you going to start at quarterback?”

Babich: “We’re starting Orton because he throws the short ball very well against your defense.”

Bradley: “Oh, didn’t know that. Our guy is a little different – he struggles against your scheme so we’ll probably run the ball a lot on first down.”

No, when Babich and Bradley talk, it’s all about anything other than their teams. But on Sunday, they’ll be part of an ex-Bison coaching collision at Chicago’s Soldier Field and Babich will be outnumbered 3 to 1.

“All three are excellent coaches,” he said.

The other two are defensive line coach Todd Wash and defensive assistant Johnny Cox. Bradley started the Buccaneer pipeline in 2006 when he went from NDSU defensive coordinator to the Bucs.

Wash joined him a year later. Cox, a former assistant under Babich from 2000-02, latched on to the Bucs this year after spending last season at Holy Cross. Before that, he was a high school coach near Portland, Ore.

All of the former NDSU coaches keep in some semblance of contact, such as running into each other at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February. But there’s no time to sit on the phone and talk about Babich’s new granddaughter or Bradley’s kids-in-every-direction lifestyle.

They won’t talk this week until three hours before game time when the teams first take the field for warmups.

“We never talk football,” Bradley said. “It’s more like seeing how each other is doing.”

Readers can reach Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546 or jkolpack@forumcomm.com.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com