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Bubba Schweigert

UND FOOTBALL: Only one thing certain for first practice of the season, the past doesn't matter

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A new era of football opens Friday at Memorial Stadium, where UND will hold the first of its 15 spring practices.

Bubba Schweigert will be in charge of his first practice as the UND head coach. He’s not a newcomer to the program, having served as an assistant for 15 years.

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But it is a different era since it’s been a decade since Schweigert has coached at UND.

Only one thing is certain at Friday’s practice: The past doesn’t matter.

“When we met on Jan. 15, I told our guys if they have one break in this program it’s right now,” said Schweigert.

“All positions are open and everyone will earn their spots and earn their playing time. That’s the culture we need to create here to be a team that reaches the top of the Big Sky Conference.

“Everything has to be earned. Nothing is going to be given to anybody.”

UND will practice Friday at 3:15 p.m., Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and Monday at 3:15 p.m.

“It’ll be helmets only for a couple of days and it’ll be a busy four days with three practices,” said Schweigert.

The spring season will give UND’s new coaching staff an opportunity to evaluate the players as well as incorporate a new system, mainly focusing on the offensive side of the ball.

Schweigert was on the ground floor of UND’s switch to the 3-4 defensive alignment during his first stint at the school. UND still uses the 3-4, but the new coach said there may be some tweaks to the program’s defense.

“The base stuff is the base stuff,” said Schweigert. “It’ll look the same. But we’re probably going to run a bit more pressure.”

Offensively, however, UND may look different than the past few seasons.

“You’ll see bigger people on the field and a real commitment to run the football,” he said.

But one thing UND has learned in its two seasons of Big Sky football is that teams in the three time zone league like to throw the ball.

 “Obviously, we have to have the ability to spread people out,” added Schweigert.

Schweigert said progress has been made since he took over in January.

“Guys are getting more comfortable around us,” he said. “We’re getting to know the players a little better, too. One thing we’re going to preach is that we need to get a little better every day and have more consistency.

“If there is one thing we really need to work on right now, it’s consistency. We’re a little up and down in the workouts. We can’t have that if we want to improve as a football program.”

UND’s spring season will culminate with the annual Green and White game April 26 at the Alerus Center.

UND opens its 12-game 2014 season Aug. 28 at San Jose State.

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