What to Watch For At Spring Scrimmage

UND will be hosting their annual spring scrimmage at Memorial Stadium on Saturday at 11:30am.  Being the staff is only in their second season, there is obviously a ton of jobs up for grabs.  Here are some #hottakes on what we are looking for and positions to pay attention to:

  • Three spots on the OL are up for grabs.  LT – C – RG.  Brandon Anderson (LG) and Sean Meehan (LT) have their spots locked down.
  • Don’t be surprised if Mat Cox is getting reps at center come fall camp.  UND seems a bit uneasy about the center position.  Dan Bell and Brandon Miller could see reps there as well to see who can adjust the best.
  • If AJ Stockwell doesn’t stay healthy come fall camp, Cox could be the starting left tackle.  He has had a decent spring.  Overall depth at tackle is still scary right now.
  • The RG position is a battle right now between Brandon Miller and Demon Taylor.  We would give the edge to Miller at the moment but this one will go into fall.
  • Meehan has adjust very well at RT.  He has looked solid all spring and will be an anchor over there.
  • Looking forward to seeing Ja’won Arrington run the ball in a game situation.  Will also pay attention to Patrick Sharp and Kyle Norberg as they battle for the backup spot.  Sharp has been running at a different tempo this spring.
  • Jawon Johnson had had a nice spring at safety.  Fully expect him to win the job opposite Cole Reyes.
  • Watch for depth chart position battles at ILB.  After Ratelle and Rich, there are some battles going on at each spot, specifically at “Sam” between Tajhe Hartley and Connor O’Brien.
  • Dylan Harmston has been coming on strong lately in spring practices and has been noticeable making plays in the backfield.  He’s one to watch and should get lots of reps tomorrow at OLB.
  • Corner is a position that is 100% up for grabs.  Both spots.   Deion Harris has the inside track on one of them but we will be watching Chris Brown, Chris Carter, and Harris to see who sticks out.  We have heard that Charles Flowers got dinged up and will not play in the game.  Too bad.

Several of the Class of 2015 signees will be on hand, including Zack Williams, Mason Bennett, Brady Oliveira, Brad Heidlebaugh, Patrick Rooney, Ty Carter, and Bryce Blair.

UND will also be hosting around 10 juniors on unofficial visits from Minnesota, Colorado, and North Dakota.  Names we have seen as visitors are:

  1. Nathan Leithead – Pine Creek, CO
  2. Kacin Nowlin – Pine Creek, CO
  3. Matt Fine – Bloomington, MN
  4. Zane Van Matre – Rock Canyon, CO
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UND Spring Scrimmage Info

Here is the press release from UND about the Spring “Scrimmage” coming up on Saturday at 11:30am at Memorial Stadium.

  • Slated to start at 11:30 a.m. CT, the scrimmage will feature approximately 60 plays of the offense going up against the defense in pre-scripted situations. 
  • Fans planning to attend the event can park for free in both the west and north lots next to Memorial Stadium. Those lots will be open for fans starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Because of the UND Champions Ball fundraiser being held that night at the Alerus Center, UND had to move their spring game scrimmage to Memorial Stadium.  The problem is that Memorial is no longer in service for fans, only for the team underneath the bleacher seating.  So their will be no concessions or restrooms to use inside the building itself.  We are assuming their will be porta-potties brought in but have not seen any clarification on that yet.  This is obviously much less of an event than it has been in the past due to the move.  Memorial doesn’t give them much of a chance to do anything.

We will update this page with any new info we come across.

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Scrimmage #2 Thoughts

UND held a 29 play “scrimmage” on Wednesday to try and get some live reps for the younger/newer players.  Even though it was extremely windy that day, the team was able to run the full offense and give us a look at how the team has progressed thus far in spring ball.

  • Mat Cox, Dan Bell, and Brandon Miller had a nice push on Ja’Won Arrington’s 2 yard TD run.  They paved a big hole through the left A gap for an easy TD.
  • Kyle Norberg showed decent speed on a TD run as he raced for the pylon.  UND ran that play out of the “diamond” formation that has been made popular lately by Dana Holgerson at OSU/WVU.
  • The next play Norberg scored again, this time up the middle as Bell and C Grant Aplin plowed a huge hole for an easy TD.
  • WR Josh Seibel had an “end-around” 30 yard TD run called back by a holding penalty on TE Luke Fiedler.  Fiedler was the edge blocker on the play side but engaged S Jawon Johnson a bit too long and it turned into holding.  Good teaching point for the young TE, who did a nice job on the initial seal block.
  • The QB’s both looked OK, despite the wind.  Keaton Studsrud hit a couple short ‘pitch and catch’ throws to Miguel Cerriteno, who is having a nice spring.   Ryan Bartels will want one throw back – a sure TD pass in the corner of the end zone on a swing route that he overthrew.  Both QBs have missed open WRs on TD passes.  They both need to connect on those throws when given the opportunities.
  • The defense is running around at a much more fast-paced tempo.  It helps having a year under their belt and being confident in their assignmenst and where they are supposed to be; everyone plays faster that way.  You can also notice the pursuit drills are paying dividends.
  • OLB Brian Labat made a nice play off the edge, knifing inside the blocker to make a TFL in the backfield.
  • We really like a few new passing game concepts that the offense appears to have installed this spring.  Multiple different looks in formation and route combos that are giving the UND defense problems.
  • Overall, we really like the progress of the UND running game so far this spring.  However, we have seen some concerning run fits in the front seven on defense that has allowed some big gains.  This needs to be shored up and we believe it will be.
  • The four linebacker positions and safety continue to be the strength of the defense, both with starting talent and depth.  Defensive line and corner continue to be be the spots that need to improve and build quality depth.  More numbers are coming in the fall, but these positions need to have a strong finish.
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UND Spring Ball Update – Defense

Following up on the offense report, here’s a look at what we’ve seen and heard so far regarding the progression of the UND Defense in spring practices:

– At corner, sophomore Deion Harris is positioning himself as the top guy and should be the starting left corner come fall, like we hoped.  His progression and confidence are obvious so far this spring.  Have we ever mentioned his freakish size and length for a corner?  He will give the defense some flexibility to move him down inside if need be for matchups with bigger WRs and TEs as well, specifically in the red zone and on the goalline.

– At outside linebacker, sophomore Jake Disterhaupt is picking up where he left off at the end of his freshman campaign, being disruptive and noticeable.  As a recruit out of high school, many were wondering which position he would fit best at.  It appears that he has found his comfort level at OLB and will no doubt be a fixture there over the next 3 years.  There’s no question he’s a top 3 guy at OLB right now and if his trend and path continues, we feel an argument could be made for him by the end of spring as the #1 overall OLB.  With up and comer Dylan Harmston, Dayo Idowu, Brian Labat and Javen Butler, the depth is there for a steady rotation of fresh legs.

– Tajhe Hartley and Connor O’Brien are getting noticed at inside linebacker.  O’Brien’s improvement will be valuable for depth and Hartley’s athleticism has been exciting to see at the least.  You can tell he still needs more time mentally to gain confidence and play fast, but when he triggers you can notice it.  Dylan Bakker is showing promise as a rotational guy as well.

– Jawon Johnson certainly looks the part as the starting safety opposite of Cole Reyes, who we believe will start playing the Flyer spot like we had hoped before spring ball.  Johnson needs to work on his mental game and knowing where to be in the defense, which will lead to playing faster with more reps and confidence.  We really like how he looks physically right now.  Domo Blackmon is also making solid progress thus far and is jockeying himself into position as the 3rd man in the rotation at safety.

– Liking what we see at defensive end with sophomores Brandon Dranka and Drew Greely so far, which was to be expected given their experience as true freshman last season.  Both will be counted on heavily and need to stay healthy.  Alec Carrothers is also still showing progress and will no doubt be in the rotation.  Depth is still a concern here however.

– At noseguard, Tank Harris is coming along nicely and showing promise but still needs time this spring and next fall.  We think Austin Cieslak is making the transition inside where he probably best fits in the defense.

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UND Spring Ball Update – Offense

UND has entered the halfway point of their spring football season.  We have seen limited practice reps but have asked around and come up with some tidbits on how practice is progressing and which players are standing out, etc.  We are going to blast you with bullet points on the UND Offense if that is OK?  Cool.

  • The QB race is still the same as it has been.  Keaton Studsrud is taking the #1 reps and Ryan Bartels is taking the #2’s.  Studsrud has grown much more confident since last fall, as one would expect.  Both are battling for the starting position but there hasn’t been any shakeups that we know of.  Wish we had more but both are doing about what everyone expected.
  • WR Josh Seibel from Bismarck has picked up where he left off last fall.  Seibel, a walkon, came out of nowhere and led UND in receptions with 25.  He has been a steady player and will no doubt be in the mix for the starting nod at the ‘Z’ WR position.  Seibel is the type of ‘diamond in the rough’ player that Coach Schweigert needs more of to turn this program into a Big Sky contender.
  • WR Clive Georges is looking very good.  He is as fast as advertised.  The nice thing is he doesn’t possess track speed to where he needs to get going over a certain distance to reach top speed.  Georges can accelerate quickly and get on top of the DB’s in a hurry.  Even with his slight frame he has not shied away from contact, whether it be blocking or running routes into traffic.  The UND offense desperately needs home-run hitters and Georges needs to provide that element.
  • The addition of Georges has seemed to up the competition level at the WR position.  Miguel Cerriteno has impressed as well after having an average 2014 season by struggling with dropped balls.
  • I am really hoping that freshman Luke Fiedler can turn into the receiving threat that UND has not had at the TE position in recent years.  He has the size (6’5″-225) and hands to do it but is still developing as an overall tight end.  To be on the field he needs to show he can block in the run game, as well.   Fieldler and Zach Adler could be a nice pass-catching duo at TE for UND next season.
  • RB transfer Ja’Won Arrington is head and shoulders above the rest of the running backs on the roster.  He has the size and vision to be a very good RB in UND’s system.  He has been extremely impressive thus far.
  • The offensive line is a mix of untested players, as we hinted at earlier in the spring.  LG Brandon Anderson is the only sure thing along the offensive line.  He has looked the part of the veteran leader all spring.
  • RG Demon Taylor is starting to assert himself and use that massive frame of his to make a case for being the starter come fall.  He has the size and athletic ability but is only a freshman so it’s going to take time.
  • It will be interesting to see what they do with transfer OT Kevin Camy.  He is reminding us of last year’s juco transfers in that he appears a bit behind and is going to take time to adjust to the FCS level.  We like that he made it in at semester break but if he isn’t ready to go come fall, he could be a redshirt candidate.
  • The offensive tackle position is thin right now.  AJ Stockwell is out with injury leaving only Camy, Mat Cox, Sean Meehan and Adam Stiner to man the two spots.  Meehan is going to need to stay at tackle due to depth issues it appears.
  • Come fall I would not be surprised to see Elijah Grady or Zack Williams being thrown in with the #1’s and 2’s to see if they can add anything to the offensive line.  Quality depth will be an issue for another season, at least.
  • The offense appears to be tinkering around with different tempo’s in practice.  Last fall they huddled up every play and used the majority of the play clock so as to slow the game down.  Now that the offense is installed, it seems they want to add a few wrinkles and have them ready for certain situations.
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Overlooked Aspect of Springball

When Coach Schweigert and his staff began their tenure at UND last January, they noticed a roster that was in their opinion lacking the size, speed and depth needed to compete at the FCS level.  There were a few pieces here and there but not what they believed to be requisite.  After last winter’s workouts they were even more convinced they needed immediate help to stem the tide until their recruiting classes were put in place.  Hence, the need for junior college and FBS transfers.

When looking back at last year’s transfer list (the one’s that actually made it to campus), we saw a trend that should not have been surprising.  The majority of the transfers that arrived in Grand Forks in mid-summer or fall camp struggled to adjust and did not end up being major contributors.  For example, the UND defense is tough to learn, no matter how much the staff tries to simplify it.  Guys like Flowers, Blackmon, and Bakker didn’t pick it up quick enough and either redshirted or played sparingly because of it.

For the 2014 season UND had the following players join the team in the fall:

  • Charles Flowers (redshirt)
  • Colton Boas (started at center but had growing pains)
  • Dom Blackmon (played sparingly, needed to learn system)
  • Dylan Bakker (redshirt)
  • Alex Tillman – FBS (arrived in summer, started at corner, had 4 years experience at Houston)
  • Jordan Hinojosa – FBS (started at NG)
  • Miguel Cerriteno (played sparingly, struggled with drops)
  • Cedric Simmons (injured early on and never played again)

After talking to a member of the defensive staff, he kept stressing how important it is to sign the transfers at semester break and get them on campus immediately.  They would work out with the team for 2.5 months, go through a full spring session, and then get full summer workouts in, as well.  This would then have them ready to play fast come fall camp instead of spending the first couple months of the season trying to acclimate to the playbook, change in lifestyle, etc.

As this coaching staff stockpiles their own recruiting classes, the need for and number of Juco/FBS transfers will trend downward over the next couple years.  You will no doubt see less of them as the depth chart fills in with 4-year high school recruits.  The staff would obviously never turn down a difference-making FBS drop down player (like Tillman), but Juco transfers could be scarce over the next couple years.

UND currently has the following transfers on campus and competing in spring football:

  • Clive Georges – WR
  • Jawon Johnson – S
  • Ja’Won Arrington – RB
  • Zach Arnell – S (injured)
  • Trent Galkoski – S
  • Oscar Nevermann – RB
  • Kevin Camy – OT
  • Alex Reed – WR

A few random notes from what we heard about winter workouts and who had made big strides heading into spring ball:

  1. Charles Flowers tested out as the strongest cornerback.  The staff redshirted him to let him get stronger and not waste a year.  It has appeared to paid off.
  2. OT Kevin Camy increased his strength numbers almost exponentially from where he started.  He still has a long way to go physically but from all accounts made huge strides.
  3. S Cole Reyes tested extremely well in most categories, including fastest 40 yard dash (4.68 laser), Pro test, and VJ (36″).  He also weighed in at 218 pounds.
  4. S Jawon Johnson had a 10’6″ standing long jump and 36″ vertical.
  5. WR Alex Reed tested well also with the fastest 10 yard dash.
  6. Not surprisingly, LB Will Ratelle blew everyone out of the water in total lifting (bench, squat, clean).
  7. DE Brandon Dranka had the highest lifting total among all D-lineman.
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SFI Spring Depth Chart – Offense

Because of injuries and non-spring participants, the Offensive side of the ball is a bit more challenged with less depth and numbers than their defensive counterparts at almost all positions.  Coach Rudolph and the offense will no doubt have to practice and preach “smart practice tempo” to try and keep everyone healthy so that they can complete spring ball in one piece.

2015offensespringdepthchart

OFFENSIVE LINE
- Left Tackle:  One of the two offensive line position with the most uncertainty needs to find itself and have an idea of where they will be at by the fall.  Leading candidate AJ Stockwell is out rehabbing an injury after showing a lot of promise late last season.  Kevin Camy is a big-bodied JUCO transfer that will need to assert himself immediately and also needs to get better in the weight room.  We’ve heard good things about Mat Cox’s development both on the field and in the weight room, but he is still a work in progress and still needs to put on more weight.  This is one of the top two most intriguing position battles this spring on the O-line.
Left Guard:  The most certain starter on the O-line, 3-year starter Brandon Anderson is the experienced anchor up front. Sophomore Dan Bell will be counted on for depth and will hopefully be able to be a quality depth guy in case of injury.
Center:  Colton Boas is the returning starter here and with redshirt freshman Jacob Francis also out with an injury, Boas seems to be the guy at the outset.  However, the darkhorse is redshirt freshman Grant Aplin, who has gotten rave reviews in the weight room and is known as a grinder in the trenches despite his lack of height.  Having a certain level of ‘nasty’ can make up for a lot of things in the trenches.
Right Guard:  The other O-line spot with the most uncertainty entering spring practices.  We think the experienced Sean Meehan being at this spot gives the offensive line their best starting lineup, but because of the uncertainty at both tackle spots right now and lack of depth for spring ball, Meehan will remain at right tackle for now.  Enter sophomore Brandon Miller and redshirt freshman Demon Taylor to battle for this spot during spring.  Both have the size you like to have at your guard spots and we feel Taylor could challenge for the starting job.
Right Tackle:  The aforementioned Meehan started here last year and is more than likely slated at this spot again.  Redshirt freshman Adam Stiner will be the number 2 guy for now but we wouldn’t be surprised to see some shuffling at this spot, dependent upon the progression of Camy and Cox on the other tackle side.  Either guy could be a potential swing candidate if they develop enough this spring, which would allow Meehan to move down inside to guard, especially given the hopeful return of a healthy Stockwell in the fall.

TIGHT END
The no-brainer returning starter here is senior Zach Adler, who will be the guy in ’21’ and ’11’ and sets.  Junior Luke Mathewson more than likely enters as the #2 man on the depth chart, followed by promising redshirt freshman Luke Fiedler.  We are interested to see how Fiedler develops this spring because of his size (6’5″-235) and huge frame and we expect to see him in the slot to try create mismatches on linebackers and safeties up the seam.  When sophomore Kyle Ruhe returns from injury next fall, this position should have some of the best pass receiving threats they have had in quite some time.

WIDE RECEIVER
- X:  The wide receiver position in general is the biggest crap shoot on the team.  Some shuffling around is almost imminent.  We really have no idea how these positions could shake out because of the lack of experience.  Senior Miguel Cerriteno probably starts off as the #1 ‘X’-receiver with 6-4 redshirt freshman Luke Stanley being the #2.  Stanley has tons of potential because of his size and ability to go up and get it so he could challenge Cerriteno as early as this spring.
Z:  Sophomore Josh Seibel surprised last season after the receiving unit was decimated by injuries.  We feel his progression continues at the flanker spot as the #1 guy on the depth chart entering spring, which he earned.  Arizona transfer Clive Georges will no doubt be pushing him but will need to get comfortable with the offense and prove he can be a playmaker and apply his physical ability that he possesses.  Maverick Edmunds moved over from cornerback and will be counted on to be a quality depth guy and is one of the faster guys on the team, but will need to use the spring to mold his craft as a WR.
J:  Sophomore Brandon Walker and JUCO transfer Alex Reed are both candidates to be  swing guys for all 3 spots, but we believe Walker starts as the top guy in 3 WR sets at ‘J’ because of his experience in the offense.  We’ve heard great things about Reed and believe he will have a say in things before spring practices are concluded.  It’s anyone’s guess and is up for grabs as to who will be the 4th man in 4-WR sets at this time.  By all accounts Reed brings great intangibles to the team, which is crucial as Coach Schweigert is still trying to create the right culture in his UND football program.

FULLBACK
UND returns just two fullbacks in their pro-style offense, meaning both should be getting plenty of reps this spring.  Returning starter and North Dakota native Dustin Iverson (6’3″-250) is coming off a nice sophomore campaign where he caught 12 balls and more importantly evolved as a lead blocker.  Freshman Tyler Coyne is a walk-on but will be counted on to challenge Iverson and provide quality depth at an important position in UND’s pro-style offense.

RUNNING BACK
This is a position on the offense that is completely up for grabs when spring ball begins today.  We do not think that the position is set in stone as far as the depth chart goes, however, based on the fact UND is still looking for possible transfers to make an immediate impact.  We see senior transfer Ja’Won Arrington breaking through and winning this job based on his experience, combined with his size and speed.  He will not be an ‘everydown’ RB, as few are these days, but should log the lion’s share of the reps.  Sophomore Kyle Norberg returns as the bruising, between the tackles RB on the UND roster.  He made in immediate impact last fall after switching from ILB early last season.  Norberg finished the 2014 season with 225 rushing yards.

What UND does need to find is a “speed” back, a guy that can break a long run with one move and provide a change of pace for the bigger RB’s in Arrington and Norberg.

QUARTERBACK
With Joe Mollberg rehabbing his achilles injury and Jake Hanson making the move to defense, there should be plenty of reps to go around between Ryan Bartels and Keaton Studsrud.  In this sense, the spring should be invaluable for both guys in terms of getting quality reps with the first and second string offense, which will aid both in gaining confidence and building a rapport with their young and inexperienced receiving corps.  We hope both guys push each other all spring.  Bartels brings the experience to the table while Studsrud brings the physical athletic attributes that bode well for Paul Rudolph’s offense.  Studsrud needs to take steps mentally to show he can be the guy long term and we feel if he shows that, he will be the #1 guy on the depth chart heading into fall camp where a 3-man, free-for-all will ensue at the QB spot.  The quality of depth here should be the best it’s been in a long time come August.

 

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SFI Spring Depth Chart – Defense

With the first spring practice only 2 days away, we thought we’d look at we we believe the depth chart will look like for the start of spring practice.  It will no doubt have changes from the start to end of spring practices, but we thought we’d project where we think everyone will be – we repeat, these are our projections.

2015defensespringdepthchart

DEFENSIVE LINE
Left End:  Greely and Carrothers are the 1 and 1a here.  Both will see a ton of snaps and be on the field a lot.  Want to see how Greely progresses in his second year after not redshirting last year.  We are excited about his potential and ceiling.  Redshirt Freshman Austin Cieslak will probably be a swing guy at the #3 spot between right and left.  He will definitely need as many reps as possible.
Noseguard:  Jordan Hinojosa is a defensive catalyst and he needs to be a leader by example here.  His motor is contagious.  Tank Harris enters the equation and we hope will push Kyle Woodsmall for the #2 spot.  Woodsmall is coming off a season ending injury last season and will not participate in spring ball.
Right End:  Brandon Dranka is the guy here.  Have heard great offseason reports about him.  Love his ceiling potential too.  He and Greely have the opportunity to be dominant DE’s on each side.  Now they just have to take the next step and prove it.  Sophomore Nick Schmitz will be the #2 guy on the right.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
- Stud:  Junior Brian Labat is firmly entrenched as the starter here, coming off a nice 2014 campaign.  The battle will be between sophomore Jake Disterhaupt, who had a knack for big plays last season, and senior Javen Butler.  Butler has all the tools and physical ability but has only played sparingly in his three seasons at UND.
Zeke:  Senior Dayo Idowu is the best OLB on the team and an All-Big Sky candidate.  He probably won’t get much work this spring.  A guy we are very excited about, as are the coaching staff, is freshman Dylan Harmston.  He has a huge upside with his speed and athleticism.  Harmston should be a bigtime playmaker over the next 4 years.

INSIDE LINEBACKER
- Sam:  Senior Will Ratelle is the undisputed leader of this defense.  Coming off a 100+ tackle season we are expecting huge things once again from Ratelle.  Like Idowu, we don’t see Ratelle logging many reps in spring ball (not needed).  Tahje Hartley, at 6’3″-210, is a young guy that could make some noise from the ILB spot.
Will:  Junior Taj Rich will be the starter at the weakside ILB position after a solid sophomore campaign where he logged 82 tackles and 11 TFL’s.  Fellow junior Dylan Bakker will be a player to watch after red-shirting this past fall to get himself acclimated to the FCS level.  He has the tools and size (6’2-230)to be a playmaker but will need the spring session to learn the defense.

CORNERBACK
- Left Corner:  Because of his measurables, we would like to eventually see Deion Harris be the starter on this side, but he might need to gain more confidence and experience first.  We see Chris Brown and Chris Carter battling it out for the starting spot at left.
Right Corner:  We think Deion Harris and Charles Flowers will compete for this spot, but we’d be lying if we said we wouldn’t be disappointed if Harris didn’t start at one corner spot.  He’s a different animal physically that UND has never really had.  Brown, Carter and Harris should be the top 3 in nickel situations right now, but we fully expect the wildcard Flowers to push everyone and be in the rotation next fall and if nothing else, provide quality depth on the right side.  Having 4 capable corners is a nice luxury.

SAFETY
- Rover:  The leader of the back row resides here with Cole Reyes.  He needs to make strides with his pass play recognition, trigger and ball skills.  No reason to think he won’t.  He has all-conference type talent, now he needs to apply himself as such.  Senior Dillon Olson and junior William James should compete for the #2 spot.
Flyer:  This position is transfer loaded with Jawon Johnson, Dominique Blackmon and Zach Arnell.  This is guess for us, but we like Johnson to come out on top.  However, any of the 3 could literally be starting at this point.  We need to see them in action this spring (Arnell will be out with due to injury).

 

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2015 UND Spring Football Info & Thoughts

Here is your official UND Football 2015 Spring Prospectus, courtesy of the UND Sports Information Department.  They did an outstanding job with this and should be commended for the level of coverage.  If you want to know anything at all about UND spring ball, it’s in there.

Practice begins next Friday, March 27th – 3pm at Memorial Stadium.  

Spring Football Schedule

(All practices held at Memorial Stadium)

3/27 (Friday) – 3 p.m.
03/28 (Saturday) – 9 a.m.
03/30 (Monday) – 3 p.m.
04/01 (Wednesday) – 3 p.m.
04/03 (Friday) – 3 p.m.
04/06 (Monday) – 3 p.m.
04/08 (Wednesday) – 3 p.m.
04/10 (Friday) – 3 p.m.
04/13 (Monday) – 3 p.m.
04/15 (Wednesday) – 3 p.m.
04/18 (Saturday) – 9 a.m.
04/20 (Monday) – 3 p.m.
04/22 (Wednesday) – 3 p.m.
04/24 (Friday) – 3 p.m.
04/25 (Saturday) – 11:30 a.m. (Spring Game)

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We will be putting out our offensive and defensive depth charts in the next few days.  These charts are going to be our best guess as to how the depth chart will evolve as spring ball proceeds.  UND put out there depth chart in the link above but these will be our prognostications, so to speak.

Here is what I will be watching for during Spring Ball 2015:

  1. This year of spring ball will be completely different than last spring.  Last year the coaches needed to spend parts of practice simply teaching players stance, technique, etc.  That took up valuable practice periods.  Now, they can slightly reduce those technique sessions and use them to work on installs.  I expect they will still start with the base drills but now the players know what to expect and can have expedited success in learning/perfecting them.
  2. #1 with a bullet is offensive line play.  I want to see which of the young offensive lineman is ready to step up and take a shot at the many open spots along the offensive line.  The only spot that is locked up is Brandon Anderson at LG.  Sean Meehan is a returning starter but I ultimately want to see him play RG, not one of the tackle spots.  He seems better suited for that position.  Young guys I will be keeping an eye on:  Demon Taylor (G), Kevin Camy (T), Mat Cox (T) and Adam Stiner (T).  Really wish Jake Francis and A.J. Stockwell were playing but both are out due to injury.
  3. The progression of Keaton Studsrud.  Spring ball is boiling down to Studsrud vs. Ryan Bartels to see who will be the #1 QB entering fall camp.  With Joe Mollberg still rehabbing his torn achilles, those two are left to duke it out over the 15 practice spring season.  From what I was told, Studsrud grew immensely once he took over the reigns in the final four games of the 2015 season.  The huddle was crisp and the players appeared to respond to his leadership.  Says a lot when it’s an 18 year old true freshman providing that level of confidence.
  4. The running back position is not complete and spring ball will only offer a teaser as to what it will look like come fall camp.  Senior transfer Ja’Won Arrington will be one to watch as I have heard nothing but good things about his attitude and leadership this past winter.  But, we do know they are still talking to possible transfers to come in help out immediately at the RB position.  UND needs a home-run hitter to accompany the power back that they have in Arrington.
  5. UND needs better safety play.  Much better.  Safeties can clean up a lot of mistakes that happen in front of them and make a defensive coordinator look pretty good in the process.  UND had very little of that last season.
  6. I have sharpied in sophomore Cole Reyes at the strong safety position and feel very confident in his ability to be a top-end safety in the Big Sky.  He has the size (6’2″-210), range, and hitting ability to be a disruptive force back there and in the alley.  The guy I am looking forward to evaluating is juco transfer Jawon Johnson.  He is nearly identical to Reyes in size and provides many of the same attributes.  Those two on the field at the same time can get some stuff done.  Juco transfer Zach Arnell will be an X factor, as we will wait to see if he becomes a regular contributor as well.  Arnell will not be participating in spring drills due to injury, however.   UND gave up way too many 3rd and long conversions last season.  These three can help change that.
  7. The cornerback position is another area where UND needs improvement in 2015. IMO, both spots are up for grabs.  I look for true sophomore Deion Harris to make a strong push for one of the starting corner spots.  Harris, 6’3″, brings the size UND is looking for to defend the taller Big Sky receivers.  He did not redshirt last season giving him valuable experience in the system heading into his first spring.  True sophomore Chris Carter also got valuable experience by not redshirting last fall.  Carter is a smaller corner at 5’10” but is an ultra-aggressive player who competes every play.  Senior Chris Brown made huge strides last season after a year of tuteledge by Coach Schweigert and Coach Rodgers.  He has the most experience of the group but is smallest at 5’8″.  The X factor is sophomore juco transfer Charles Flowers, who redshirted last fall.  By all accounts, Flowers needed to get stronger so he made the wise decision to redshirt and build his core.  He came in with impressive juco tape in his only season at Citrus College and I expect Flowers to be in the mix for playing time come fall.

 

 

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UND Junior Day and Recruiting Update

  • UND will be hosting their annual Junior Day tomorrow for current juniors in high school that are prospects for the Class of 2016.  We have been able to confirm that the following student-athletes will be on campus tomorrow:
  1. Braedan Hanson – WR – Red River High School
  2. Zak Kuntz – LB – Red River High School
  3. Jamahl Johnson – DL – Prior Lake High School
  4. Zach Sweep – RB-LB – Bismarck Century High School
  5. Ben Bolinske – QB/ATH – Minot High School
  6. Matt Marler – LB – Minot High School
  7. Foster Conzet – LB – Wayzata High School
  8. Braydon Lund – TE-DE – Minot High School
  9. Tyson Lytle – DL – Fargo South High School
  • DL Kemuel Denny of Pike High School in Indianapolis, IN is visiting UND this weekend and indicated he will be signing after his visit.  Denny appears to be somewhat raw and will need time to develop but has a long frame and quick burst of the ball.  At 6’5″-240 he will fit in nicely at the defensive end position.  We had indicated earlier that UND needed another defensive lineman in this class and Denny is it.  We are still not ruling out a FBS transfer along the defensive line as well due to the fact they could use an older player to even out the classes and provide immediate depth.

KD

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