Over the past few years in NAIA football it’s been the Sioux Falls Cougars’ world and everyone else is just part of their “win” column. They’ve won 3 of the last 4 National Championships and the 1 year they didn’t win they still made it all the way to the title game before falling. Not only that but they’re still ranked #1 in the nation and have got an NAIA record winning streak still going, a streak that now stands at 37 games in a row. The Cougars had their bye this week so it seemed a good time to subject a few of their star players to some of my probing, yet inane, questions. Not all of the players chose to answer every one of my eccentric queries, hence the differing number of replies.

Jon Ryan

Position: Wide Receiver

Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: Mountain Lion Ryan

Favorite Football Player: “Percy Harvin. I think he is one of the best receivers and athletes in the NFL. Every time he touches the ball it is exciting to watch.”

Proudest Individual Accomplishment With USF Football: “The great friendships I’ve developed with my teammates. They will last past when football is done because they are deep-rooted in faith and fellowship.”

One Thing People Who Haven’t Met Him Should Know: “The way I try to live for Christ. It may not always be right, but I try my best. They should know that God has given me everything I do not deserve.”

Dominic Studzinski

Position: Linebacker

 Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: Dom The Dominator

Favorite Football Player: “Ray Nitschke

Proudest Individual Accomplishment With USF Football: “Playing for those who came before me and understanding what it means.”

One Thing Opponents Should Fear The Most From Him: “That I play for the person next to me.”

Television Or Movie Cop That Coach Jed Stugart Most Reminds Him Of: “Inspector Gadget”

Braden Wieking

Position: Kicker

Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: Brassy Braden

Favorite Football Player: “My favorite player who is no longer playing is Kurt Warner. I loved him when he played for the Rams and with the Cardinals. He was a player that got things done on the field but at the same time he is a solid Christian that always had his priorities straight: God, family, then football.”

Proudest Individual Accomplishment With USF Football: ” I am most proud of the football family I have grown into. I am surrounded by 100 other guys that have my back. It’s pretty awesome knowing we are all there for each other.”

One Thing People Who Haven’t Met Him Should Know: “I would like people to know about my faith in the Lord. He has blessed me so much. Before every kick whether it be a PAT, field goal, punt or kickoff I always tell myself: Phil. 4:13 – ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ It just gives me a sense of ease and peace before everything.”

Television Or Movie Cop That Coach Jed Stugart Most Reminds Him Of: “It would have to be Deputy Dawg from the movie The Big Green. He wears the cowboy boots with the cowboy hat.”

Well that’s it! With the post-season fast approaching we’ll soon get to see if the Cougars can threepeat as National Champions.

Things I Learned From This Q&A: Coach Stugart should have either his own Saturday morning cartoon series or a reality show like Steven Seagal, and the University Of Sioux Falls has possibly the most modest student-athletes in the world! When you consider what they have accomplished as a team and individually they are astonishingly free of any bluster or trash-talking, even though my light approach allowed ample opportunity for them to indulge in both. 

Site Where You Can Follow All The USF Teams: http://www.usfcougars.com/

Balladeer’s Blog is not affiliated with or operated by the NAIA or the NCAA or any of their member institutions.   

 © Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Filed under Q&A


  1. This blog is so wonderful the way you let the players talk about their faith.

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