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UND quarterback competition remains a three-man race

UND football coach, Kyle "Bubba" Schweigert, communicates with a player during a transistion on Day 2 of practice at Memorial Stadium. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

As the UND football team works through the first week of fall camp at Memorial Stadium, a three-man quarterback race remains unsettled.

The team's quarterback depth chart in the media guide reflects as much. It reads Andrew Zimmerman OR Nate Ketteringham OR Brock Boltmann.

Who will start Week 1 on Aug. 30 against Mississippi Valley State is anybody's guess.

"We have a rough deadline for the quarterbacks," UND offensive coordinator Paul Rudolph said. "By Practice 15 or 16, you've got to start maybe putting things a little more solid.

"Today and the next 10 practices we're going to rotate those three, playing with (both the starters and backups). We don't want any excuses of who you're playing with and throwing to. You just put the ball where it's supposed to be and that's all you can control. Eventually, we're going to have to get one guy a few more of the reps. We've got to find someone who will be consistent."

Through the first two practices, Zimmerman has taken the first set of snaps, followed by Ketteringham and then Boltmann.

Rudolph, however, said not to read anything into that order, which he said will likely rotate in the days ahead to allow each quarterback an opportunity to play with different lineups.

The quarterbacks say the competition remains friendly and fun.

"Even in the winter, hanging out with these guys and learning from each other—we compete but it's good competition and makes us all better," Boltmann said.

After the quarterbacks struggled on Day 1, the group bounced back in a big way on the second day.

All three quarterbacks threw touchdown passes in 11-on-11 situations on Friday morning. Zimmerman hit sophomore Izzy Adeoti on a deep ball down the sideline, while Ketteringham connected over the middle to freshman wideout Noah Sickler and Boltmann ended practice by hitting freshman Garrett Maag in the end zone.

"Yesterday was kind of rough," Zimmerman said. "The defense kind of got us. Today, we came out here and started slinging it. As you get more and more comfortable and get more plays in, the defense can't read us. It's fun. It's competitive. We're out here playing football; doing what we love."

The quarterback battle is the first for UND in a few years following the graduation of Keaton Studsrud, who started games in all four of his years with the Fighting Hawks.

Zimmerman, a junior college transfer and one-time Eastern Washington recruit, is the only member of the quarterback race to see action for UND last year.

Zimmerman was 21-for-41 for 339 yards and three touchdowns.

Boltmann, an Edina, Minn., native, redshirted in 2017.

Ketteringham, a Sacramento State transfer, arrived in Grand Forks in the summer of 2017 and sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Ketteringham, a San Diego native, started 15 games at Sacramento STate in 2015 and 2016. He threw for 3,391 yards and 24 touchdowns, completing 54.7 percent of his passes. He also ran for 237 yards and four touchdowns.

Rudolph said he's hoping to see a quarterback stand out with his decision-making and understanding of situations.

"The quarterback has to be right a majority of the snaps," Rudolph said. "We want them really understanding what the defense is giving them, not forcing things and keeping the assembly line moving."

Rudolph said Thursday's practice was sloppy and disappointing, but he was rejuvenated by Friday's bounceback performance.

"We struggled (Thursday)," Ketteringham said. "We bounced back today, making good reads and seeing the safeties. We got them a little bit today. It's fun to compete."

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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