UND FOOTBALL: UND stresses rushing attack during spring season
A major point of emphasis for UND in the fall will be its run game.
Few are happier with that philosophy than UND offensive lineman Brandon Anderson, a regular from last season’s UND team that passed the football considerably more than it threw it.
“When you get to run the ball, you get to do what you’re really meant to do,” said Anderson.
UND heads back to the Memorial Stadium turf today for spring practice No. 9. And the No. 9 is significant as well, as that is how many offensive linemen are participating during UND’s spring season.
“We’re getting better,” said UND coach Bubba Schweigert after Friday’s practice. “There aren’t many numbers but our guys are getting a lot of reps. Guys should feel good about that. Some guys had to go 10-12 plays in a row. We’re practicing long drives, I guess.”
Ideally, Schweigert said a team would like to have 12 offensive linemen participate in spring drills, with that number increasing to around 18 in fall camp.
Help, however, may be on the way as UND added two junior college lineman recently, Brendan Slaight and Colton Boas.
Slaight, a 6-foot-7, 318-pounder, comes from Siskiyous (Calif.) Community College, while Boas played two seasons at Iowa Central Community College, where he was the team’s offensive lineman of the year in both his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Also, there may be one or two high school players, said Schwiegert, who may get a look at playing on the line as freshman.
“But we’ll see how they develop,” he said.
In the 2013 season, UND rushed the ball 319 times for 891 yards. North Dakota attempted 431 passes, completing 257 for 3,125 yards.
UND’s run game ranked last among the 13 Big Sky Conference teams.
“You start passing all the time and defenses just tee off on you all the time,” said Anderson. “And that’s no good.”
UND has played two seasons in the Big Sky. The league is known for a wide-open style of play. But the league does have dominant running backs and has its share of physical teams as well.
“It’s very physical,” said Anderson, a 6-6, 313-pound junior from Sartell, Minn. “I don’t know how you can say it isn’t. I’ve played in it.”
UND has reached the halfway point of its spring season.
Schweigert said he’s seen steady progress, particularly on Friday.
“I really liked our energy during the team sessions,” he said. “When there were some low spots during the practice, we were able to pull out of it and recover. That was really the first time we’ve seen that. And that happened because we had good energy.”