WAYNE NELSON: Reading between the lines helpful
UND’s annual media day was held Monday — an event that rarely produces any news, controversy or true indication of what’s in store for the season.
However, a lot still can be learned by the buttoned-down media sessions.
All you have to do is read between the lines.
Bubba Schweigert took over UND’s program at the start of the year. He inherited a program that hasn’t yet gained any traction in the Big Sky Conference. And it’s one that — quite frankly — needs considerable rebuilding after back-to-back 5-6 and 3-8 seasons.
Last season, UND allowed 371 points as Big Sky opponents consistently blew out the Green and White, even at home. In fact, there may have not been 371 fans left in the Alerus Center at the end of some of those blowouts.
Reading between the lines, however, in one of Bubba’s answers during the Media Day festivities could say a lot about where the native North Dakotan wants to take his program.
So, Bubba, what color jerseys will UND wear at home this season?
“We’ll wear green jerseys at home,” said Bubba, without hesitating. “When you’re at the University of North Dakota, you should wear green jerseys. That’s the school color. That’s what I believe. That’s what a lot of our followers believe.”
The days of the all-black UND uniforms — and whatever swagger they intended to give during the past two seasons — may be numbered, but not entirely gone.
“I’m not against a ceremonial jersey for a blackout game, or something like that,” said Bubba. “But there has to be some tradition in a program. And our school color is green.”
Reading more in depth between the lines, UND — under Bubba — may look a lot like the program did during the 15 years he served as an assistant in Grand Forks.
When Bubba was here the first time, UND was a physical team, one that ran the ball effectively, threw it enough to keep defenses honest and beat up teams defensively — using the blitz effectively out of a 3-4 defensive alignment.
And there probably won’t be any nonsense on the field as well as we witnessed a few times in recent seasons. We may not see defensive backs celebrating — or taunting — after holding opposing receivers to an eight-yard completion on first-and-10.
In essence, Bubba wants more substance than flash; more effort than lip service; more passion than indifference.
And the non-descript green jerseys with white pants … well, that suits Bubba just fine.
“I remember there was an article written down in Fargo years ago when Cream of Wheat held its 100-year anniversary,” Bubba recalled. “The writer from Fargo compared our football team at the time to Cream of Wheat, which is kind of bland; something that has hung around for a long time but something that gets the job done.
“Many people were offended by that article. I wasn’t offended one bit. That was our style. That’s who we were. We came to work and got the job done. I was part of a process that turned the program around and made it real solid.”
And, if we remember correctly, UND wore the not-too-flashy green jerseys with plain white pants.