A few quick notes as the UND football team is now three practices into fall camp:
- Much-hyped WR J.J. Robertson is no longer with the team. The former University of Illinois commit participated in spring ball but never returned to the team due to academic issues.
- While we are talking academics, redshirt freshman WR Anthony Fletcher and redshirt freshman corner Dan Konowalski are both not participating in fall camp. They are, however, still listed on the roster which tells us they could be joining the team once school begins.
- For excellent practice-by-practice coverage go to UNDSports.com and GrandForksHerald.com. Both are providing daily updates of the happenings at fall camp. The new “Brick by Brick” series is the UND media departments look into UND Football as it progresses through fall camp.
Here are a few position battles that we are keeping an eye on and will be reporting about as camp goes on:
– The Big One – Quarterback. Redshirt freshman Joe Mollberg and Ryan Bartels are listed as 1A & 1B on the initial depth chart. It doesn’t get any tighter than this one. Both had good springs and both bring alot of talent to the table. It’s obviously way to early to call a winner but we will be watching this one closely, as most UND fans will be.
– Running Back. Talk about a crowded backfield. Senior Jake Miller leads the way early in camp but is going to be pushed hard by upstart junior Adam Shaugabay, who had a terrific spring ball. Miller is a bit under-sized to take the majority of the carries so we expect a situation similar to last season where 2-3 running backs split time depending on down/distance. Sophomore PJ Sparks should factor in to the equation at some point in fall camp. He has the size and speed to run the 10-15 times per game. Junior Jer Garman will be a specialty back, mostly coming in to run certain packages. We see Shaugabay filling the departed Mitch Sutton’s role as the power back and Miller/Sparks/Garman battling it out in August to see who will get the rest of the reps.
– Both Safety positions. There are currently 11 safeties on the roster. Yes, eleven. Other than senior FS Will Lewis, there are really no other proven commodities that we can write in with pen. That leaves a whole bunch of guys fighting for one other starting spot (SS) and the two backup spots at each safety position. Senior Chavon Mackey moved to safety from cornerback but is no lock to start. Junior Baylee Carr has the most experience at the safety position and will be on top of the depth chart, initially. Sophomore Javen Butler has a chance to play some but hasn’t shown he can do it consistently yet. Sophomore Dillon Olson is a darkhorse to enter the top 6. Then comes all the new talent on the roster in freshman Cole Reyes, Ryan Cain, Devin Coyle, and Cam Kuksa. After all that, do not be surprised if one of the freshman works his way into one of the top 3-5 spots by the end of fall camp. This position group overall will be special teams titans.
– Cornerback. In our opinion, junior Daryl Brown is the only proven sure-fire starter that is listed on the UND roster at cornerback. After Brown, there are four guys fighting for the other starting corner spot – senior Chris Hall, sophomore Chris Brown, sophomore Rumeal Harris, and junior Tyrhe Ivery. All four played last season with Harris having the best spring ball out of all of them. We are watching to see how Ivery transition’s to playing corner after being a WR early on in his career. Our early hunch is Harris makes a strong push for the other starting corner spot. We believe he’s got the physical talent and now he needs to get the mental and technical aspects down.