A Few Observations

UND now has four spring practices in the books and it appears to be business as usual in the HPC.

One-on-one sessions, team sessions, skelly, and some special teams mixed in.

  • RB James Johannesson is faster & quicker than we thought.  Not that we really knew what to think but he is quicker than we thought, for sure.  During one play he started left, cut it up, then planted and made another very explosive cut to bounce it outside.  He is going to be a factor this fall, book it.
  • WR Cameron McKinney is as advertised with his speed.   He gets in and out of his cuts quickly and is exactly what they need at the slot position to run the jet sweeps and intermediate short stuff.  A foot race between McKinney and John Santiago would be fun to watch.
  • The offensive line is a work in progress.  Waaayyyy too many botched QB/Center exchanges.  Part of that has to do with freshman Nate Nguon moving to center and learning the position.  UND needs more consistency and better play out of their center in 2017.
  • QB Andrew Zimmerman can get the ball out quick and throw on the run.  He will be a solid backup this fall.  He obviously is swimming with learning the offense but he has the mechanics and footwork to play the position effectively.  The other day he faked the jet sweep, rolled out to his right and on the run hit Noah Wanzek on a comeback route along the sideline, perfect pass.  This is a very good sign for UND’s QB depth.
  • WR Demun Mercer appeared to tweak his lower leg in practice and will more than likely be out for a little while.  Not a huge concern as he is a senior and at least has a year in the system.
  • Freshman DB Andre Randolph has been moving back and forth between CB and S.  He will be in the mix this fall.
  • Along the OL, freshman Ryan Tobin has looked good at guard early on in 1-on-1s.  Bennett Helgren has not participated in full workouts yet (back injury) but has done some individual work.
  • UND is finally getting to the level where they have legitimate competition going on all over the field.  The young guys are good enough to push the older players and make them work to keep their spot.  This is good for the development of the program.

We will try and zero in on more positions as the spring goes on but sometimes it’s hard to get a feel for how the “less sexy but very important” positions are doing.  Those take time to summarize thoughts because less attributes stick out.

2 Responses

  1. Moon

    Waaayyyy too many botched QB/Center exchanges.

    For those of us that have never played center. Help us to appreciate how hard or easy the exchange should be. The general consensus is that it should be easy. Must not be as easy as that. Nothing will mess up a drive as the botched exchange.

    1. It isn’t easy at all…until you learn how to do it correctly after performing 100’s of reps. It’s easy to do when there isn’t a nose guard 1 foot away ready to jack you. The centers at times rush the snap wanting to get their hand up to engage the nose guard. That means they often “short snap” the ball, which means the ball never gets into the QB’s hands, it might hit their finger tips, etc.

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