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.