UND Football Scrimmage #1 Thoughts

The UND Football team held their first and only scrimmage this past Friday.  Due to low numbers at certain positions (offensive line) they have tried to keep full-contact to a minimum and just work on installing the offense and honing up on fundamentals.  We have a feeling that there won’t be too many spots locked up this spring, making fall camp the time where players separate themselves on the depth chart.

  • The defensive unit was without a doubt the better side of the ball on Friday.  However, that is usually the case in spring ball as the offense has more to install and many more moving parts to sync than the defense.  This year is even worse as the offense is installing an entirely new offense with all new terminology.  If the defense didn’t get the upperhand we would be surprised.
  • There has been some speculation about whether this offense would install different packages for different QB’s, etc.  To answer that question, we saw multiple “quarterback draw” running plays, meaning athletic QB’s like Mollberg and Hanson will have that play available to them.
  • The UND offensive line seemed to struggle mightily.  They are short on numbers this spring, having only nine OL total, but they could not get much of a push at all.  The OL is going to benefit greatly from the addition of Juco’s Brendan Slaight and Colton Boas when they arrive this fall.
  • The longest run of the day was an 8-yarder by senior Jer Garman.
  • Third-string QB Jake Hanson (soph.) completed a couple nice passes to Tyrhe Ivery (sr.) and Tanner Vesledahl (soph.), with both catches going for about 10 yards.  The incumbent starting QB’s, Joe Mollberg and Ryan Bartels, didn’t do much in the scrimmage.
  • Freshman safety Cole Reyes had a punishing pass breakup along the sideline as FB Dwayne Pecosky was running a 15 yard 0ut-route and Reyes broke on it and laid out Pecosky just as the ball got there.  UND needs more of that this fall and we know Reyes is going to be counted on to contribute at the safety position.
  • The defense dominated on the goal line.  The offense ran about 5 plays from inside the three yard line and never scored.  The defensive line got a nice push on each play.
  • The decision to move senior Shea Walker (6’1″-300) from center to nose guard is going to be a good one.  Walker will not be an all-american or anything but he shows good footwork and quickness to go along with a nastiness that is needed at that position.  He will only get better as they progress into fall camp and he continues to log reps.
  • The safeties looked good overall as William James and Baylee Carr both made nice plays on the ball.  James cut off a couple long homerun pass plays, getting into the receiver and altering his route and not looking back for the ball until he gained dominant position.  Very nice to see.
A recruiting update:  Juco offerees Dashon Wade (Pasadena) and Brian Anderson (Butte) both ended up signing with Southern Mississippi.  They both supposedly had UND on the their short list until the FBS level Golden Eagles came calling.  WR Tim Patrick (Grossmont) and CB Jamal Mayo (Laney) are still out there and have not signed anywhere as of yet.  They both already visited UND.  We believe UND can still sign 4 players if they choose.  A program can only sign 30 players in one signing period and UND is at 26.  

 

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Back to Basics

It has become quite apparent that the UND coaching staff is going to treat Spring Ball 2014 as a “back to the basics” type of session.  While they are obviously installing the offense and defense, they are also taking a good chunk of every practice to work on such things as tackling, blocking, pursuit, stance, alignment and so on.  We have seen the following drills being implemented thus far (these are very common drills but noteworthy):

  • Form Tackling:  one player tackles another onto a big padded mat that the track team uses.
  • One-on-One Tackling:  RB vs. LB’s and DB’s vs. WR’s.  Lined up across from each other the offensive player breaks one way and the defensive player needs to react up and tackle offensive player in space.  The defense has had trouble with this in spring drills but seems to be improving.  This type of open field tackle was a major problem the last two seasons.  Also benefits the offensive player in that they work on their moves/shakes in open space.  Reading weight of defensive player and so forth.
  • Pursuit:  an offensive player runs down the hash and the defense, from their respective positions, has to hustle over and take the right angle to catch up to the offensive player.  This type of drill teaches the defensive player to instinctively hustle after the ball no matter where they are.  Becomes second nature.
  • Stance work:  Coach Schweigert and Coach Rodgers have been working with the DB’s on their stance and read steps to get them to play the way they want.  Nothing like starting from scratch.

These are just a few of the drills we have seen that will greatly benefit this team as they head into 2014.  We will have some thoughts on the offensive side of the ball coming up in the next day or so.  However, it is has been very hard to sort out who is playing well and who is making an impact, etc. because of the emphasis on the basics.  Hopefully, by the spring game some players will be begin to step up and take over some #1 spots.

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Spring Ball Stuff

UND has officially completed two practices thus far in spring ball and had one cancelled due to yesterday’s epic March 31st snowstorm.  Annoying to say the least.  They will have 13 practices left beginning tomorrow with the Spring Game being held at 1pm on April 26th.

  • There are practice reports being published here by the UND media staff after each and every practice.
  • Redshirt freshman TE A.J. Stockwell is sitting out spring ball due to an injury.  Hate to see freshman lose valuable reps in the spring as it’s their first taste of college action.
  • Redshirt freshman DL Garrett Cary is apparently no longer with the team due to a on-going injury.  We are assuming it must have gotten to the point where he was advised to not play football any longer.  Tough break for the kid as we heard nothing but good things about his future.  We wish Garrett the best of luck.
  • UND appears to be getting back to the basics this spring as we have seen multiple shots of them working on stance, footwork, form tackling, etc.
  • RB Adam Shaugabay has moved over to defense to take some reps at the OLB position.  Being he is one of the better overall athletes on the team, the move makes sense.  Get the best athletes on defense, especially those that are backups on offense.
  • This past weekend UND had three recruits in to visit:  WR Tim Patrick of Grossmont College (CA), CB Jamal Mayo of Laney College (CA), and CB Dominique Blackmon of Arizona Western (AZ).  No word yet if any committed but they all appear to be May graduates.
2014 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE

April 2 (Wed.) 3:15 p.m.
April 4 (Fri.) 3:15 p.m.
April 7 (Mon.) 3:15 p.m.
April 9 (Wed.) 3:15 p.m.
April 11 (Fri.) 3:15 p.m.
April 14 (Mon.) 3:15 p.m.
April 16 (Wed.) 3:15 p.m.
April 18 (Fri.) 3:15 p.m.
April 21 (Mon.) 3:15 p.m.
April 23 (Wed.) 3:15 p.m.
April 25 (Fri.) 3:15 p.m.
Spring Game – Alerus Center - April 26 (Sat.) 1 p.m.

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Interview – Head Coach Bubba Schweigert

Here is the final installment of our three-part interview with the UND Football Staff.  I sat down with head coach Bubba Schweigert to talk about a myriad of topics, including IPF, roster, recruiting, etc.  (We had to break out the interviews into sections because of file-size restrictions).

Bubba Schweigert – 1

Bubba Schweigert – 2

Bubba Schweigert – 3

Bubba Schweigert – 4

Bubba Schweigert – 5

Bubba Schweigert – 6

Bubba Schweigert – 7

Bubba Schweigert – 8

Once again, thank you to Coach Schweigert for taking the time to sit down with me and for also allowing his staff to do the same.

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Interview – DC Eric Schmidt

Here is Part 2 of our UND Spring Football interviews with the coaching staff.  In this interview we were lucky enough to be joined by defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt.  He gave us some good insight on the current roster and who might move around to another position, etc.

Eric Schmidt – 1

Eric Schmidt – 2

Eric Schmidt – 3

Eric Schmidt – 4

Eric Schmidt – 5

Eric Schmidt – 6

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Interview – OC Paul Rudolph

I was lucky enough to catch up with the a few members of the coaching staff this past week and get a chance to sit down and talk to them about a variety of things, mostly spring ball topics, etc.  Me doing an interview does not make Bob Costas blush, that much is confirmed.  But, the coaches did an outstanding job answering the questions and we feel they gave solid insight into what fans are going to see during spring ball and this coming fall.

Today’s interview is with offensive coordinator Paul Rudolph.  An interview with defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt will follow tomorrow and Head Coach Bubba Schweigert will most likely be posted on Wednesday.

Spring Ball practice begins Friday, March 28th – 3:15pm at Memorial Stadium.

The annual Spring Football Game is set for April 26th – 1pm at Alerus Center

Once again, I would like to thank the staff for taking time out of their day to sit down with me.  Very appreciative.  Here are the interview clips:

Paul Rudolph – 1

Paul Rudolph – 2

Paul Rudolph – 3

Paul Rudolph – 4

Paul Rudolph – 5

Paul Rudolph – 6

 

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UND Signs Colton Boas, Charles Flowers

Name:  COLTON BOAS

School: Iowa Central CC – Fort Dodge, IA (Coach Kevin Twait)

Vitals:  C (#73).  6’2″ – 300 lbs

Offers:  Indiana State

While undersized in terms of height, Boas makes up for it with his thick frame in weight.  He’s got a great motor and continues to drive his feet after contact until the whistle.  Also, does a great job of using his hands after initial contact to sustain his blocks.

Boas is a textbook downhill, power running game center in that most of his blocks made on his film are right in front of him on a nose, shade or 3 technique inside.  We didn’t see him get out on the perimeter much when uncovered on outside zone, toss plays or screens, but that may be a product of the offense he was in, scheme and playcalling.  However, he showed the ability to pass off initial defenders to his guards and get to linebackers on the 2nd level – a critical concept in zone running schemes.

Boas will definitely add depth to the interior offensive line this fall and will be a challenger to start at center immediately.  He has 2 years of eligibility remaining.

Hudl Highlights

 

Name:  CHARLES FLOWERS

School: Citrus College – Glendora, CA (Coach Ron Ponciano)

Vitals:  CB (#24).  6’0″ – 175 lbs

Offers:  Sacramento State, Northern Colorado

The highest priority position of need for 2014 brings in a cornerback with great size and measurables.  Flowers executes a shuffle-step technique in man coverage and does an excellent job of maintaining inside leverage in his backpedal.   Also, he does a good job flipping his hips and running vertical in press man coverage and seems to understand how to get into dominant position after wide receiver releases downfield.

Flowers has great natural instincts and awareness – specifically when the ball is in the air – and shows a knack for knowing when to turn and look for the ball.  Uses ‘field’ and ‘boundary’ leverage very well and seems to always know how to position himself on the field.  Exceptional ball skills on film for a first year player.  Plays physical and uses his hands well in coverage.  He finishes plays and fights for the ball until the very last second.

Another nice trait that has been missing in UND’s secondary recently, is that Flowers is a surprisingly physical/solid tackler already.  He will still have to fill out his frame and put on a bit more weight as currently he is slight in nature and too thin to hold up through a full Big Sky Conference schedule.  The UND staff will need to teach him how to get off blocks on the perimeter better.  Also he will need to improve his top end speed through off-season workouts to be ready for Big Sky competition.  With more development physically and technically, all signs point to him being an immediate impact player for the UND defense over the next 3 years, starting in 2014.

Flowers was named to Region IV All-State team in California as a cornerback.  He will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Hudl Highlights

 

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PWO Signees and One More

Here is the list of Preferred Walk-On’s that signed with UND on national signing day.  To clarify, a PWO is a player that did not receive scholarship money but will be part of fall camp from the very start.   The other “walk-ons” start with the team with school begins, typically about 3 weeks after the beginning of fall camp. (Thanks to undsports.com for the information)

GRANT APLIN - OL, 6-1, 290
Victoria, Minn. (Chanhassen High School) Coach: Bill Rosburg
Aplin probably projects best as a center but could also potentially play nose if needed.  Earned All-Missota Conference honors as a junior and senior.  Highlights

DYLAN BECK - OL, 6-4, 290
Lakota, N.D. (Lakota HS) Coach: Joe Harder
Because of the lack of film, hard to project.  Our best guess is that he probably ends up playing inside on the OL.  Named to the All-Region Team in 2012 and 2013

CONNOR BOLDUC - P, 6-3, 195
Mahtomedi, Minn. (Mahtomedi HS) Coach: Dave Muetzel
Named to the Kare11 All-Metro Team and Associated Press All-State third team. Highlights

TYLER COYNE - FB, 6-1, 230
Plymouth, Minn. (Maple Grove HS) Coach: Matt Lombardi
The battering ram type fullback that all 2-back offensive coordinators love.  Named to the All-Northwest Suburban Conference team as a fullback.  Highlights

SAM FLUEGGE - PK, 6-0, 165
Apple Valley, Minn. (Eastview HS) Coach: Kelly Sherwin
All-South Suburban Conference player in soccer as a junior and senior.   Highlights

LUKE STANLEY - WR, 6-4, 200
Menomonie, Wis. (Menomonie HS) Coach: Joe Labuda
A potential steal and diamond in the rough, Stanley may start at WR, but we think he ends up a difference maker with added weight at the TE spot in the near future.  Named First Team All-State as a tight end by the Associated Press and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association.  Highlights

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We found out on Sunday that UND received a commitment from Brendan Slaight after he visited last weekend.  Here is a writeup on UND’s new addition:

Name:  BRENDAN SLAIGHT

School: College of Siskiyous – Weed, CA (Coach Charlie Roche)

Vitals:  LT (#65).  6’7″ – 305.

Offers:  Idaho, Georgia State

Slaight, who is originally from Colton, Oregon, attended Siskiyous the past two years so he will have two years of eligibility left at UND.

On tape it is obvious that Slaight is a big man.  The ’6’7″ – 305′ part does not appear to be inflated in any way.  Slaight is a very aggressive player, which we obviously love.  He appears to have the “edge” to him that all successful lineman have where they play to the whistle and perhaps beyond at times.

The Eagles ran the ball a good amount this past year which will help Slaight as he comes into the new UND offense that is going to focus on the run more this season.  He will not be asked to pass protect 40-50 times per game like UND’s offensive tackles were asked to do last season.  Slaight stays low out of his stance and has decent feet in the 3-5 yard box.  He is not overly quick or fast, however, and may need time to adjust to the Big Sky edge rushers that he is going to see on a weekly basis.

We project Slaight as a right tackle for UND based on the comments above.

Slaight was All-Conference twice for the Eagles and was selected as a Region II All-State performer this past year.

Hudl Highlights

 

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Recruiting Weekend Mystery

We can confirm that UND is having a recruiting weekend starting tomorrow, March 1st.  What we cannot confirm is who is actually showing up on campus.  Usually it’s pretty easy to sniff out 4-6 names but with this being a late season weekend we figured it would be tougher – and it was.

More than likely they are hosting 2-4 kids and more than likely 2-3 of them are junior college kids who have not graduated yet, therefore, they are still taking visits but are eligible to sign immediately for the this coming fall (as long as they graduate or grades are in place).   We did see earlier this week that UND offered OL Colton Boas of Iowa Central CC so he may be an option, not sure.

We are sorry to disappoint but we will not give up!  Hopefully, by the end of the weekend we will know more and will update this blog post and twitter.

UPDATE:  per Siouxsports.com, it appears Charles Flowers of Citrus College and Brian Anderson of Butte College are visiting UND this weekend.  Also, OT Brendan Slaight of College of Siskiyous visited and committed.

2 Comments

Verbal Commit – Chris Hannible

Name:  CHRIS HANNIBLE

School: Bakersfield Community College – Bakersfield, CA (Coach Jeff Chudy)

Vitals:  S (#8).  6’0″ – 185.

Offers:  None known.

Hannible is the second junior college signee in the class of 2014.  He comes to UND from Bakerfield College in Bakersfield, CA, where he also played his high school ball for Bakersfield High School.  He played quarterback and safety in high school, leading them to a perfect 13-0 season and was named the “All-Area Player of the Year”.  We believe Hannible will have two years of eligibility left at UND.

Hannible shows very sound footwork for safety.  He has quick change of direction when watching the quarterbacks eyes and rarely appears to false step.  Hannible’s tackling appears to be sound also, meaning he should be able to hold up his end of the deal in run support.  We love the fact that on interceptions he went up and got a few of them at the highest point, not waiting for them to come to him.  His speed appears to be good, not overly fast but more than adequate for the Big Sky Conference.  He seems to have a natural feel for the safety position.

We fully expect Hannible to come in and contribute immediately to help shore up a position that was arguably the shakiest on the team last season.  UND needs better safety play to help clean up the back end of the defense and also contain those big plays that leaked out last season.

In 2013, Hannible had 59 total tackles (24 solo), 4 Int’s, and 2 pass breakups for the Renegades.

Hudl Highlights

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