UND Coaches Meet and Greet – July 29th

UND Football fans will have an opportunity to meet the new coaching staff tomorrow night, July 29th, from 6-8pm at the new Scheels store in the Columbia Mall.  Free hot dogs and brats will be given out.

Fall Camp starts on July 31st with the first practice being held on August 2nd.

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UND Football Pre-Camp Notes

  • San Jose State, UND’s opening game opponent on August 28th, has released their depth chart for fall camp.
  • The Spartans were picked 5th in the Mountain West – West Division Preseason Poll.  They did not have any players selected to the Mountain West Preseason All-Conference Team.
  • A note from the blog states that on offense the Spartans  ”plan to spend quite a bit of time in three receiver sets”.
  • Per twitter, UND has added another juco WR to the fall roster.  Cassius Pierce, 5’10″ – 185, is going to walk-on this fall after spending two seasons at Pima Community College in Tuscon, Arizona.  Pierce had 31 receptions for 289 yards and 1 TD last season.  He appears to be more of a possession receiver who also had good return ability in the special teams game.
  • The annual UND Football Letterwinners Golf Scramble will be held this coming Sunday-Monday, July 27-28th at The Legends in Prior Lake, MN.  They typically have 160-180 golfers participating.  This event serves as a fundraiser for the football program.
  • UND is holding their final camp of the summer for potential recruits this Saturday, July 26th.  The “Elite-Camp” will begin at 10am at Memorial Stadium.
  • The beginning of the Bubba Schweigert era begins next week, July 31st.   8 short days away.  We will be previewing both sides of the ball in the next week or so.  There is definitely some speculating to do when it comes to laying out a depth chart, etc.  We know UND will release a depth chart in the next week but we will give “our” depth chart as we see it ending up heading into SJSU game week.
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Earn It

With the 2014 Big Sky All-Conference Teams being announced and the preseason polls being released, we thought we’d give our own thoughts on how we think the season could play out for UND, from our perspective.  UND placed no all-conference players and was picked 10th by the coaches and 11th by the media.  We completely understand why given all the variables:  new coaching staff, massive roster turnover, last season’s results and the uncertainty of JUCO and FBS transfers and what impact they will have, etc.

UND will need to show everyone this year that they are better than many are predicting.  If you want respect from the coaches, media and opposing fanbases, you gotta earn it.

2014 Schedule

Aug. 30th @ San Jose State- We think UND could hang with the Spartans and end up short by 10-14 points.  This is not the same SJSU team that had NFL QB David Fales leading them last season.  However, we feel having so many new faces, along with a new coaching staff, will prove too much to overcome in week 1 vs. an FBS opponent.  LOSS

Sept. 6th vs ROBERT MORRIS – This is a game UND has to win in their home opener against a team who comes from the NEC and finished 5-6 last season.  The Colonials may seem like a familiar squad regionally as they played in Fargo in the 2010 playoffs and the 2012 season opener.  The Colonials also have a new coaching staff.  WIN

Sept. 13th @ Missouri State – The Bears are a good team from a very good conference (MVFC).  Here’s what they did last year:  crushed then-ranked Illinois State, crushed playoff participant South Dakota State, went to SIU and won by 10, lost by 3 points to Central Arkansas and lost by 7 to UNI.  This is a tough home team and winning in Springfield will be a tall order.  One saving grace is that the Bears play Oklahoma State in Stillwater the week before UND travels to Missouri State.  The physical and mental challenge will be there for MSU after playing a Big 12 opponent.  LOSS

Sept. 20th vs STONY BROOK – The Seawolves last visited UND in 2009 when UND defeated them 31-24.  Last season Stony Brook finished 5-6 in the CAA after winning the Big South with a 9-2 record in 2012 and advancing to the playoffs.  This is another game that we believe UND will be able to win – they must.  WIN

Sept. 27th @ Montana State – Winning a road game in the state of Montana has proven to be very difficult and is something we don’t see happening right now.  Four year starting QB Denarius McGhee is gone, but the Bearcats always have a nice home field advantage to go with their talented squads.  This will be a huge character litmus test for the new culture of the UND program moving forward.  What is the mental makeup of the 2014 version of UND Football?  How will they handle a tough environment in the Big Sky Conference, specifically if they get down early?  LOSS

Oct. 4th vs MONTANA – From a mental standpoint, UND knows 2 things:  they can beat Montana as they did in 2012 in The Alerus, or get blown out at home by the Griz like last season.  We don’t believe that UND will be as bad as last year’s game or that the Griz will be as good.  This game comes down to the 4th quarter with Montana getting a late score to win at The Alerus.  LOSS

Oct. 11th vs PORTLAND STATE – Last season, the Vikings beat UND 14-10 in a game UND could have and should have won.  PSU will be solid this year and is projected to finish in the middle of the pack of the Big Sky.  UND needs to win this home game like they did against the Vikings in 2012.  WIN

Oct. 25th @ Southern Utah - UND travels to another 2013 playoff participant in Cedar City, Utah.  UND has beaten the Thunderbirds the last 2 times they have played in 2011 and 2012 – once in Utah, once in Grand Forks.  SUU brings in another BYU transfer at QB named Ammon Olson to follow up another BYU transfer who did alright as a 4 year starter in Cedar City, Brad Sorensen.  This game could go either way, but SUU gets the advantage off of last year’s successful run.  LOSS

Nov. 1st @ Eastern Washington – Vernon Adams and Ronnie Hamlin.  Hamlin returns after single-handedly turning the game around last year in Grand Forks.  Adams, the best QB in all of FCS, returns again with a loaded arsenal on offense.  This may be the most lopsided game on the scoreboard of the 2014 season.  LOSS

Nov. 8th vs WEBER STATE – UND plays the Wildcats for the first time since going Division 1.  Weber also welcomes a 1st year coaching staff as Jay Hill takes over for Jody Sears.  Hill comes to Ogden after a long stint at The University of Utah.  Without knowing too much about what Hill will do on the field and what he brought in for transfers, its hard to gauge anything about Weber.  The only thing we do know is that this has to be a win for UND at The Al.  WIN

Nov. 16th vs NORTHERN ARIZONA – After playing for what seemed like a decade in Flagstaff, RB Zach Baumann is finally gone and graduated.  Finally (it seemed like he had more eligibility than Josh Ranek, who played in the NCC literally FOREVER).  UND played a very good NAU team tough at home in a loss in 2012 and lost in Flagstaff last year by 21 after a 2nd half meltdown.  We truly believe this is a coin-flip game for UND, and will be a big ‘swing game’ for the final record on the season.  UND wins.  WIN

Nov. 22nd @ Northern Colorado – Until we see something change dramatically in Greeley, this is and always should be a win for UND in Big Sky Conference play.  UND beat them last year in Grand Forks and lost in 2012 in Greeley on the infamous “12 men on the field” play on 4th and inches.  UND ends the season with a win over the Bears.  WIN

So there you have it.  We see a 6-6 record with a couple “swing games” that will determine the relative success of the season.  Could easily be 5-7 but with some luck could be 6-6.  If things go better than expected, 7-5 is not out of the question.

What are your thoughts on our predictions and what do you think UND finishes at?

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Big Sky Kickoff

The Big Sky Conference just held their annual “Kickoff”/Media Day out in Park City, Utah.  The Preseason All-Conference Teams and Preseason Polls were announced at this time, along with a ton of interviews, golfing, and eating.

Link to the Big Sky Media Social Hub from the Kickoff event.

Article on UND senior safety Baylee Carr from the Grand Forks Herald.  He is obviously Coach Schweigert’s type of player.  The team culture that Schweigert wants is being implemented and getting North Dakota kids is a big part of that.

Preseason All-Conference Team

QB *#Vernon Adams Jr.  Pasadena, Calif.   Eastern Washington
RB Kristaan Ivory Sr.  Los Angeles, Calif.   Cal Poly
RB Gabe Manzanares Sr.  San Francisco, Calif.   UC Davis
FB Nick Butier Jr.  San Luis Obispo, Calif   Northern Arizona
TE #R.J. Rickert Sr.  Gilbert, Ariz.   Northern Arizona
OG Trevor Poole Sr.  Spokane, Wash.   Montana
OG Cornelius Edison Sr.  University Place, Wash.   Portland State
OG JP Flynn So.  Bettendorf, Iowa   Montana State
C *Roy Garcia Sr.  Tempe, Ariz.   Northern Arizona
OT *Clay DeBord Jr.  Asotin, Wash.   Eastern Washington
OT Jacob Julian So.  Prescott, Ariz.   Northern Arizona
WR *#Cooper Kupp So.  Yakima, Wash.   Eastern Washington
WR #DeAndre Carter Sr.  San Jose, Calif.   Sacramento State
WR Ellis Henderson Jr.  Portland, Ore.   Montana
PK *Brady Stuart Jr.  Newhall, Calif.   UC Davis
Returns #Shawn Johnson Sr.  Bakersfield, Calif.   Montana State
Pos. Player Year Hometown School
DE *#Zack Wagenmann Sr.  Missoula, Mont.   Montana
DE James Cowser Jr.  Fruit Heights, Utah   Southern Utah
DT Tonga Takai Sr.  Honolulu, Hawai’i   Montana
DT Dylan Zylstra Sr.  Kent, Wash.   Eastern Washington
LB Ronnie Hamlin Sr.  Lacey, Wash.   Eastern Washington
LB Austin Hasquet Sr.  Peoria, Ariz   Northern Arizona
LB Nick Dzubnar Sr.  Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.   Cal Poly
LB Leilon Willingham Sr.  Denver, Colo.   Northern Colorado
CB Deonte Flowers Sr.  San Diego, Calif.   Montana State
CB Deon’tae Florence Sr.  Largo, Fla.   Weber State
S Matt Hermanson Sr.  Sioux Falls, S.D.   Montana
S Tevin McDonald Sr.  Fresno, Calif.   Eastern Washington
P #Kyle Loomis Sr.  Roseburg, Ore.   Portland State
Special Teams – Chad Newell So.  Billings, Mont.   Montana State

Coaches’ Poll

Team First-Place Votes Total Points
1. Eastern Washington 12 144
2. Montana 1 130
3. Montana State 111
4. Cal Poly 108
5. Northern Arizona 100
6. Southern Utah 89
7. Sacramento State 79
8. Portland State 71
9. UC Davis 66
10. North Dakota 34
11 Weber State 30
12. Idaho State 28
13. Northern Colorado 23

Media Poll

Team First-Place Votes Total Points
1. Eastern Washington 34 464
2. Montana 1 416
3. Montana State 1 364
4. Cal Poly 329
5. Northern Arizona 328
6. Southern Utah 299
7. UC Davis 228
8. Portland State 227
9. Sacramento State 222
10. Idaho State 124
11 North Dakota 121
12. Weber State 103
13. Northern Colorado 61



Early July Updates

We are now officially 21 days from reporting day for the UND Football team.  From what we understand, the players report on July 31st and get acclimated, etc.  The first practice will actually be held on August 2nd, with tons of meetings, compliance, and physicals being held prior.  Opening night is August 28th at San Jose State – 9pm CT.

  • July 31st – Players report.
  • August 2nd – First practice.
  • August 28th – Game #1 at San Jose State.

UND still has one roster spot left to fill and we fully expect them to try and fill it with an FBS transfer.  No names are available as of yet but they have been in contact with several in the past month.

Speaking of the roster, it has officially been posted on the UND website.  No real surprises as it appears the entire recruiting class of 2014 is represented.

We are hearing that safety Aaron Rogers of Santa Monica College is going to walk-on at UND this fall.  Rogers, 5’11-185, visited UND this past winter but apparently was never offered a scholarship.  He is the son of former NFL linebacker Sam Rogers (Bills, Chargers, Falcons).  Rogers is the 5th defensive back transfer added to the roster since the new staff took over.  Probably safe to say that they deemed that area a weakness.

There are rumblings out of the UND athletic department that an apparel contract is being worked on for the entire department.  Adidas is the brand we are hearing and it makes sense based on the fact that the UND hockey team uses Reebok, which is owned by Adidas.  This move is long overdue.  Many FCS programs have apparel contracts and recruits these days are swayed by the ability to get high-end gear.

The annual North Dakota Shrine Football game is being held this Sunday, July 13th at the Fargodome.  Game times are 4pm (11-Man) and 7pm (9-man).  The game will be televised on ND ABC affiliates - WDAY 6-3 in Fargo, WDAZ 8-3 in Grand Forks, KBMY 17-3 in Bismarck and KMCY 14-3 in Minot.  It will also be streamed on WDAY.com.  UND recruit Austin Cieslak will be playing for the 11-man West team.

The annual Big Sky Conference Media Day will be this Sunday, July 13th.  Coach Bubba Schweigert will be attending, along with senior safety Baylee Carr (Hazen, ND).


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A WR Signing and More

A few random updates surrounding UND Football:

UND recently held their first of two One-Day Elite Camps.  Many of the attendees were potential targets in the Class of 2015 and 2016.  There were a total of 120 players there from 10 states and 1 Canadian province.  We verified that they offered the following players following the camp:

  • Elijah Grady – New Town, ND.  6’3″-250
  • Zack Williams – Winnipeg, MB.  6’6″-260
  • Carl Engwall – Lakeville, MN.  6’4″-230

It is apparent that the new staff is getting into Canada much more than the previous staff did.  We have been doing some digging and here are a few names of players that UND has been in contact with:  

  • Graydon Campbell – Greely, Ontario
  • Jakob Butler – Sherwood Park, Alberta
  • Colton Hunchak – Calgary, Alberta

UND has signed a much-needed wide receiver to the Class of 2014.  Miguel Cerriteno of Feather River College (CA), by way of Las Vegas, NV, has decided to join UND and his signing became official yesterday.  Cerriteno, 6’2″-190, was an All-Conference and All-Region II performer for the Golden Eagles in 2014, leading them to a 6-4 record.  He compiled some impressive statistics, grabbing 58 passes for 826 yards and 11 TD’s.

Cerriteno shows decent speed, not blazing but definitely good enough to be effective in the Big Sky, and very good hands and body control.  He appears to be a smooth, fluid runner and will definitely be counted on to provide red-zone catches along with the ability to make the tough catch across the middle.  Cerriteno adds much needed depth to UND’s depleted WR corps.  Last year they had three dangerous weapons in Greg Hardin (Denver Broncos), Kenny Golladay (transferred to Northern Illinois), and Jameer Jackson (transferred to Mankato State).  All are gone.  Guys like Cerriteno, Casey Young, Aeron Carr, R.J. McGill, and Tyrhe Ivery all need to step up and try and fill that massive void.


Summer Workouts and Camps

  1. It appears UND currently has around 40-45 players on campus working out with the team for summer workouts.  That number will change by the week as players slowly trickle in as the start of certain summer school sessions begin.  We have confirmed that juco transfers Colton Boas and Dylan Bakker are both on campus already.  The number of players on campus should reach 50-55 in a couple weeks.  
  2. UND is holding their first “One-Day Elite Camp” this week.  Many of the attendees have already been offered by UND or will be offered after camp is over.  This camp is important in it gives the coaches a chance to see the prospect working out in person and can gauge him against similar type of athletes.  We have verified the following names as attending the camp:
  • Dylan Olsonawski – Kittson County North (MN)
  • Connor Schissel – Champlin Park HS (MN)
  • Hunter Tank – Fall River HS (WI)
  • Derek Dufault – Winnipeg, MB
  • Justin Roberts – Pomona HS (CO)
  • Jon Tharaldsen – Bismarck HS (ND)
  • Brock Shaide – Big Sky HS (MT)
  • Zack Williams – Winnipeg, MB
  • Lewis Dobitz – Killdeer HS (ND)
  • Kyle Webb – Chippewa Falls HS (WI)
  • Dalton Elliot – Nicollet HS (MN)
  • Max Praschak – Somerset HS (WI)
  • Luke Thornton – Pine Island HS (MN)
  • Elijah Grady – New Town HS (ND)
  • Carl Engwall – Lakeville North HS (MN)
  • Jeff Stith – Cavalier HS (ND)

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June Musings

A few updates on the happenings of what is UND Football:

  1. UND still has two spots that they can fill for their 2014 recruiting class.  By this point we believe that FBS transfers are done so it will more than likely be a Juco player or two or possibly a late HS signee.  Don’t be surprised if there is chatter about signing a player from Canada.  The new staff has been spending more time up there than the previous one.  As most know, UND has had great success in signing impact players from our neighbors to the north, including Dave Fennell, Scott Schultz, Tim Prinsen, Mike Juhasz, Dwayne Ell, and Donovan Alexander.
  2. Work has finally begun on the long-awaited High Performance Center (Indoor Practice Facility to the rest of us).  The goal is to have it completed by December/January so the team can perform winter workouts in it.  Rain will be the key this summer – hope for an average year of rainfall.
  3. UND is holding football camps all through the month’s of June and July.  Today is the annual 7-on-7 Team Passing Camp.  The Team Camp is being held on June 22nd.  Also, coming up on June 19th, the One-Day Elite Camp.  This is where UND tries to get the best prospects on campus and evaluate them in person.  This camp is usually where the staff can verify their interest in a prospect and possibly offer them a scholarship.  There will be a second Elite Camp held July 26th.
  4. We are working on trying to confirm television information for the season opener at San Jose State.  It’s early but TV schedules have been trickling out all over the country.  SJSU has nine nationally televised games already but don’t know what there home capabilities are for a non-conference game.  Being the game is on Thursday, Aug. 28th and not on Saturday gives us hope that they may be able to get it on some regional sports network.  
  5. UND has set the game times for the 2014 season.  Basically it breaks down to September = 6pm.   October = 1:30pm.  November = 12pm.   Two games each month. 

Sept. 6  Robert Morris  6 p.m.

Sept. 20  Stony Brook  6 p.m.     

Oct. 4  Montana  1:30 p.m.

Oct. 11 Portland State  1:30 p.m.

Nov. 8  Weber State  12 p.m.

Nov. 15  Northern Arizona  12 p.m.



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Roster Update – Post Spring Ball 2014

Now that the spring semester has finally commenced at UND, we figured now would be the appropriate time to update the football roster.  We have confirmed that the following players have quit the team or were not guaranteed a spot next fall.  Not sure how it goes down but with the limited numbers UND can bring in this fall it is not surprising that some players wanted/needed to move on.

  • Kurt Palandech – Freshman QB.  Not quite sure what Palandech is thinking but apparently he wants to try and move on to a junior college and then move up to the FBS level, possibly.  Palandech made huge strides this spring and for our money he would have had a legitimate chance at the starting QB position this fall.  He would not have been the favorite but with his athleticism/speed he seemed like a natural fit for Paul Rudolph’s offense.  His throwing is raw and needs time to be refined.  Not sure he will get that at the juco level but we will see.  Hopefully, he gets the reps he needs to improve.
  • Will Lyons – Freshman CB.  Lyons was a grey-shirt that joined the team at semester break.  Not sure of his future plans.
  • PJ Sparks – Junior RB.  Sparks came to UND with alot of hype but it never quite translated to the FCS level.  He had a hard time cracking the RB lineup and was injured off and on.
  • Hunter Wharton – Freshman LB.  Wharton was buried on the depth chart and didn’t seem to be in the plans for the new staff.  Should have many options to play at back in California.
  • DJ Beard – Freshman LB.  Beard is the same case as Wharton.  Buried on depth chart and must have wanted to move on in search of playing time.
  • Rashad Williams – Freshman OL.  Williams was pretty raw as a left tackle but had a big frame.
  • Garrett Cary – Freshman DL.  We believe Cary’s career is done due to a leg injury.  Sad deal for him as he had a chance to be a pretty good player on the defensive line.

Those are the only names we have confirmed as leaving the team.  It is quite obvious the new staff has a pretty good idea of what they want and are continuing to tweak the roster accordingly.  The turnover should slow down after the 2014 season when the players can get used to the staff and what is expected of them, etc.



UND Football Add’s Three More

It is becoming quite apparent that the new UND football staff is going to do whatever it takes to upgrade their current roster.  With the loss of 10+ players at Christmas break, along with a handful of rumored cuts/defections after spring ball, there wasn’t near the talent on the roster that is needed to win ball games at the FCS level.  The coaches realized that and are doing something about it.

Added to the roster in the past week are two FBS transfers and a Juco transfer.  Alex Tillman (CB-Houston), Jordan Hinojosa (DL-Minnesota), and Dylan Bakker (LB-West Hills JC) all have signed with UND.  That brings the total number of transfers to nine, with 7 of them being junior college and 2 being FBS transfers.  With that being said, we believe UND has two more spots they can fill in their “signing class” for fall camp.  Expect a couple more.  They can only sign 30 players total in an official signing class.

Alex Tillman (CB) – (University of Houston) 
5′-10″ – 187.  Senior.  Houston, TX.

Tillman has spent the past four years at the University of Houston where he was mainly a backup cornerback and special teams player.  Tillman played on most of the Cougars special teams and should fill that role for UND as well.  He shows pretty good athleticism and speed, as you would expect from an FBS transfer.  Tillman will provide depth at the cornerback position, which has been significantly upgraded this off-season with the additions of Charles Flowers, Dom Blackmon and Tillman.

Jordan Hinojosa (DL) – (University of Minnesota)
6’3″ – 272.  Sophomore.  Miami, FL.

Hinojosa originally signed with Minnesota out of high school but ended up at Coffeyville CC instead.  After one year there he once again signed with the Gophers and redshirted this past season.  Hinojosa will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Defensive line is one of UND’s biggest weaknesses and the addition of Hinojosa will provide a sorely needed boost of talent and ability.  We don’t want to call him a sure-fire all-conference pick or anything but he does have the ability to be a good player based on his high school and limited college highlights.  He was highly ranked out of high school down in Miami and we are assuming some of that expected talent will translate to the FCS level.  Hinojosa will bring effort and a high-motor, which can always be used especially on a team that is rebuilding from scratch.

Dylan Bakker (OLB) – (West Hills CC)  Hudl
6’2″ – 225.  Junior.  Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Bakker comes to UND from West Hills CC in Coalinga, CA.  He is an interesting situation in that he came to the United States from Amsterdam to pursue his dream of playing college football.  He certainly transitioned well to the U.S. game as his highlights and accolades are certainly impressive:

Bakker made 55 tackles and had three sacks as a freshman in 2012 at West Hills, then backed it up with a team-leading 68 tackles and three more sacks as a sophomore. He also added 14.5 tackles for loss, including six in one game against Gavilan when he finished with a career-high 15 total tackles. For his efforts, Bakker was named the team’s Defensive MVP and earned spots on the All-California Region 2 First Team and All-Golden Gate Conference First Team.

Bakker shows good speed for a linebacker and solid fundamentals, which isn’t always the case for junior college players.  He visited Stony Brook immediately after his visit to UND and was offered a scholarship by the Seawolves.

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