UND has reached the halfway point of fall camp and all appears to be going well. They have managed to stay healthy, minus a few dings, etc. There will be two more scrimmages this camp, with the next one being on Saturday, Aug. 18th at 9:30am. This scrimmage is usually the most important one because most of the packages should be installed. Now its time for players to separate from one another and allow the coaches to set the two-deep.
UND has received its third commitment to the Class of 2013. OL Dan Bell of Menomonee Falls, WI committed to UND last night and joins his fellow Wisconsonite Mitch Meindel and Dustin Iverson in the 2013 class. Bell, 6’6-275, appears to have good footwork and agility, as evidenced by the multiple camp videos out on youtube. This biggest upside is his frame which will allow him to easily get around the 300lb range. Bell was ranked as a Scout 2-star.
With the 2nd scrimmage of camp coming up we thought we would address the main position battles that we see being sorted out in the next week or so:
- Cornerback – Chavon Mackey vs. Rumeal Harris/Dwayne Brown/Chris Brown/Chris Hall. Mackey is the odds on favorite due to this experience and the flashes of brilliance he has shown in the past couple season. He has, however, been inconsistent which has opened the door for the other four. Our best guess is that Mackey will retain the starting spot but Hall will continue to see some game reps initially and Chris Brown will also be in the mix while backing up Daryl Brown on the other side. Harris will be a #3 but easily could play is way into some PT if given a chance. We must also remember that most of these guys are debuting for the Dime package also, not just starting cornerback.
- Backup Defensive Line – There appears to be a real battle going on for the backup Nose Guard spot. Ben Henson and EJ Welch are both trying to win the #2 spot behind starter Devin Benjamin. At the End positions, Jay Nelson and Ross Brenneman are the starters. After those two we got Spencer Cummings and Seth Stanchik but the battle is between Kyle Woodsmall and Dwayne Pecosky to see who can win the job to be the next guy in after those five. As of right now we would say Woodsmall has a leg up on Pecosky but it is something to watch for. There is much needed depth that they have not had in previous years along the defensive line. Regardless if there are any injuries to the potential nose guards (Benjamin, Henson, & Welch), we see true freshman Mike Edwards gettting a serious look at losing his redshirt.
- Starting OLB Cordero Finley appears to be coming into his own and has also been spotted playing some ILB, which tells us they need some depth at that position. The battle at ILB is between Derrick Goard/Brian Otto/Will Ratelle to see who can be the #2’s at each ILB position. Our thoughts are that initially it will be Goard along with Otto who will backup starters Garrison Goodman and Ben Peters.
- The latest report from camp has said that Jer Garman is getting a shot at returning kicks. We, along with most fans, want to see Garman with the ball in his hands due to his explosive speed and quickness. We had stated that Romon Bridges was also seen taking kickoffs so we assume there is a battle/tryout going on to see who will win that coveted job. They both are diminutive in size but possess very good speed so it should be interesting to see how it shakes out.
- The wide receiver depth is serious this year. The obvious top 2 guys on the depth chart are Hardin and McGill, followed by some sort of combo of Jameer Jackson, Tyrhe Ivery and Blair Townsend. The true battles here are for the 4th spot when UND goes 4-wide with their personnel groupings. One of those five will be on the bench in that situation. With the fall that Jackson is having we are putting him in as he #3 receiver. The X-factor is true freshman Kenny Golladay, who brings freakish size, skill and ability to the position that probably hasn’t ever been seen at UND. He is actually being considered a candidate to have his redshirt pulled because of his performance in fall camp. Unless he proves to be a top 3 WR right away, we anticipate he will ultimately redshirt given the depth explained earlier.
The initial Midco Sports Net Coaches Show is slated for August 28th. Dan Hammer, the former UND radio play-by-play voice, will be the host.
The UND football team helped coach at a Grand Forks Youth Football League clinic last night.