UND FOOTBALL: Practice starts to crank up
The UND football team’s fall practice schedule is starting to crank up.
On Wednesday, North Dakota practiced in full pads for the first time on another day of perfect weather at Memorial Stadium.
Today, UND will start two-a-day practices in preparation for the season opener Aug. 28 at San Jose State.
On Saturday, UND is expected to go through its first live 11-on-11 situations of camp.
“You can teach this game without going live, but the best evaluator is going live and seeing who will finish plays and who performs at the highest level when it’s real football,” UND coach Bubba Schweigert said.
Schweigert has been pleased with the steady progress to this point.
“I like our guys’ effort and energy right now,” Schweigert said. “We’re pushing them hard. We don’t practice long, but we don’t waste any time.”
If Schweigert had to pick an area to improve, it’s consistency.
“We were really up and down,” he said. “That’s the No. 1 concern right now.”
Some minor dings
Injuries haven’t been a big storyline for UND so far during fall practices. True freshman defensive lineman Tank Harris injured a leg in drills and is expected to sit out a few days, while junior college transfer wide receiver Miguel Cerriteno was on crutches after apparently pulling a hamstring.
The team is also still awaiting the arrival of Kansas transfer linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore, who was expected to arrive in Grand Forks on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s fall camp, and you’re going to have some tweaks here and there,” Schweigert said of his team’s injury status. “We need to take care of the guys the best we can. That’s on us as coaches. We have to find the amount to do and still take care of them. We have to get better by practicing, so we need guys out there.”
One of UND’s biggest position battles is underway at starting center. On Wednesday, true freshman Jacob Francis (6-foot-4, 290 pounds, Liberty, Mo.) took the majority of the snaps with the No. 1s. Francis joins the mix of former Grand Forks Red River player Jace Hellman and junior college transfer Colton Boas.
“We’re working different combos and seeing who works well together,” Schweigert said. “I’m happy with some of the progress, but eventually you have to find the unit you want to go with.”