Week One Thoughts

The UND Football team has officially completed 10 of their scheduled 29 practices before the home opener with Valpo.  Now would be a good time to relay what we have seen and heard so far.  There was a “live” short yardage session on Saturday that showed some things that need to be improved on, but also had many positives:

  • An area of concern for us was the offensive line.  They did not get anywhere near the push that is needed to convert those crucial short yardage plays.  UND needs to be able to get three yards on 3rd and two.  They are not going to be able to rely exclusively on the big passing play this year with such young QB’s.  Methodical drives are going to be needed and will directly help the defense by keeping them off the field.
  • Will Lewis filled the hole nicely and stopped RB Jer Garman short of a first down.  Nice form tackle to stone the ball carrier – need more of that this year.  One-on-One tackling is at the top of the list of “things that need to improve in 2013”.
  • QB Joe Mollberg connected nicely with WR Kenny Golladay on a long TD pass.  Mollberg threw a simple fade route to Golladay, who ran by corner Daryl Brown to make the play.  Lets hope we see more of this during the season, a lot more.  We have always been fans of taking what the defense gives you, even if it is not the call in the huddle.  If they are going to leave Golladay or Hardin isolated one-one-one, check out of the play and audible to the post, fade or slant with a simple hand signal.  Those two receivers will be able to beat a good percentage of defenders in an isolated situation and UND needs to recognize and take it.
  • Overall, the defense did a fairly nice job making plays but we are going to temper our enthusiasm as its still early in camp.  The offensive line needs to get a better push in the running game this season and we will be watching for reports on that as camp progresses.
  • Safeties Chavon Mackey (converted corner) and Javen Butler appear to be making a run at the starting jobs and at the very least being in the rotation, along with dime roles.
  • Our early guess as to which true freshman could get his redshirt pulled:  NG Marcus Cheatom.  He is a big man and shows very quick feet to go with that 6’1″-290lb frame. Defensive line is a position of need, also.

23 Responses

  1. Hambone

    Not a good thing to hear about the O-Line – they really need to step up their game this year.

    Was wondering about CB depth – I wasn’t impressed with Chris Hall or Chris Brown last year, and although Rumeal Harris had troubles last year I thought he had some potential. Have you guys heard anything about where Ivery stands in the group? Would love if he could make an impact there this year. Also really excited to see if Butler can bring it together at safety.

    Another question – do you feel that Stockwell will get his shirt pulled as a TE? I’ve heard that Adler is a beast, but haven’t heard much on Norby or Mathewson. I guess I hope that they don’t burn a year of eligibility if they’re not going to effectively use him.

    1. The O-line wasn’t awful but they need to get to the point where the OC can count on them converting that crucial 3rd and 1 to keep the sticks moving.

      Both Hall and Brown have moments but seem inconsistent. We look to Harris to make a major push for the other spot opposite D. Brown. He is young but has nice hips and pretty good instincts.

      We cannot see them pulling Stockwell’s shirt just to be a blocking TE. There would have to be an injury to Adler or Mathewson for that to happen. Stockwell has a bright future and we would love to see him redshirt and put on 15-20 lbs of muscle.

  2. RD17

    Is the QB competition really “that close”?

    Very concerned about the Oline now after reading this. Can’t have success in the Big Sky without some horses up front.

    1. As near as we can tell, the QB’s haven’t done a whole lot yet. Needs to be more “live” mid-field type of situations to sort it out. The last live session was short yardage only. Going to be another 7-10 days before one could truly feel good about making a prediction.

    2. The O-line simply needs to be better than last season. The pass protection was actually pretty good – they gave Hanson and Hendrickson time damn near every game, minus Montana State. With these young QB’s UND needs to get the run game going, though. No way around it.

  3. old hog

    I would just encourage everyone to remember how early it is. Camp and scrimmages are a process of trials and testing of different combinations of players, alignments, and situations. It’s all part of a process.
    None of us can watch a single or handful of practices or scrimmages and get a good enough picture of what is really happening. Lets not get too high or low on anyone at this point. Plenty of time for that once the banging starts for real…..Go Sioux!!!!!

    1. True. It is early but that is no excuse. If they were able to run the ball last year then we would use the “its early” card. They couldn’t, which is why we are keeping an eye on the OL and trying to gauge where they are at.

      To be fair, we are also cautious about the D-Line. They had troubles last season also and need improvement.

  4. old hog

    Agree. But always tough to guage this time of year. Guys know each other. Coaches know each other. Also, coaches are experimenting with combinations. The players know what coaches are working on, as in what plays may be coming. In watching the hogs and talking to some folks closer to things than myself, I absolutely expect better things out of both lines, some very very solid steps in athleticism and depth have been made. I just want to see it against guys not wearing green and white before I get too high or low on anything or anyone. If we stay healthy, our O line should be a very solid BSC-FCS group. I don’t disagree with any of your analysis…….I’m just older and more patient.

  5. geaux_sioux

    I’d give the OL more time to gel. They have a new center piece in Walker and have a OG spot to fill which is huge in the run game. It could even take them the entire Valpo game to gel. OL is a funny thing, but once they become a unit they will be fine. Maybe Kleason will have to be moved back to OG.

    1. Totally agree. Not writing them off at all, my gosh! We are just trying to be realistic about what we saw and heard. There is still 18 practices left but the running game is 1A on our list of things to watch.

        1. We don’t necessarily want to get into the business of individually critiquing players for many reasons, most of all we don’t know enough to do it. Whether a team was able to run the ball, stop the run, protect the QB, etc…..as a whole is something that is easier to observe.

          I am sure things will shake themselves out and reports on how individual players are doing will pop up.

  6. UND Denver

    Hey Oskie,

    Trying to get an update on Casey Young from Denver. I used to see his father but haven’t seen him to catch up. Watched Casey play football and run track in high school. Based on what I saw, hard to believe he can’t find the field.

    Thanks and Go UND

    1. Young appears to be battling for a backup spot at WR behind Hardin, Golladay, Jackson, Townsend, and McGill. He is kind of a victim of being behind arguably the best class of receivers UND has ever had. He is right there though to get in the Top 6 but will take time. He also in the running for the long snapper spot that is open. Long snappers are very valuable – we will keep tabs on him. Thanks for the question/comment!

    1. Don’t think that Adams has started yet. The staff said mid-camp which would be towards the end of this week.

      We will have another update coming tomorrow!

  7. ND legislature sucks

    zero votes in any poll this fall, is this indicative of a potential 4-7 3-8 season? we hope not. you hit in on the head with the “who knows about QB” question. Mollberg even in high school never got past the 1st or 2nd round in playoffs and bartels is from illinois so who knows his background.

  8. only a quarter irish

    I enjoy reading your updates but sometime I have to laugh. “Lets hope we see more of this during the season, a lot more. We have always been fans of taking what the defense gives you, even if it is not the call in the huddle. If they are going to leave Golladay or Hardin isolated one-one-one, check out of the play and audible to the post, fade or slant with a simple hand signal. Those two receivers will be able to beat a good percentage of defenders in an isolated situation and UND needs to recognize and take it. ”
    Wow, I hope those coaches, some of whom have been involved in college football for decades understand things that you have such keen insight on. I hope those same professional coaches that watched these player through their prep career, recruited them and are now coaching them and basically their family can come to a level of knowledge of the players and the game of football you seem to have. I wonder if after reading your report the coaches may suddenly decide they should “take what the defense gives you” or even go so far as put in an audible package after you explained how to do it. Like I said, I read all your posts. But, a blog is blog. It’s comical to see you explain football strategy, but that’s the beauty of the blogosphere world. Everyone can be an expert. Lets hope “UND can recognize” your expertise. Today I award you the title “Captain Obvious”

    1. We appreciate the comment and agree that what we said did not reveal anything revolutionary about the offensive process of football. However, there are many teams out there that do not allow there QB’s to completely abandon a play-call in favor of what they deem a favorable matchup for their WR. Allowing a QB to flash a hand signal/shout a keyword to a WR and then run that new play/route without others knowing is not 100% universal and needs confidence from the OC to be able to be installed.

      A typical play that is called has “audibles” off of it but we are not talking about that. Every offense has those.

    2. Thanks for the words of wisdom and your readership, but we are sorry you feel that way, “only a quarter irish”.

      I guess we’ll work on it then and try not to be so obvious?

      Our apologies, we’ll try do better.

    3. geaux_sioux

      Ironic that in reply you wrote a rambling and nearly incoherent critique? How about you start your own blog about football to spread your immense knowledge to the masses.

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