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FOOTBALL: UND manages to clear field of snow, holds third practice

UND practices Wednesday.1 / 2
UND players participate in drills.2 / 2

It’s the spring football season at UND.

But Memorial Stadium was in no shape to hold a spring practice early Wednesday morning after Blizzard Gigi dumped nearly a foot of snow on Grand Forks earlier in the week.

By mid-afternoon, however, the turf at the stadium was ready to go, thanks to a crew from UND Facilities.

“Great job by our facilities people on campus,” said UND coach Bubba Schweigert after North Dakota held its third practice of the spring season. “Really appreciate their effort so we could get out here and keep moving forward.”

The blizzard did postpone UND’s practice on Monday but it did no further damage. Snow banks lined the turf but UND managed to hold its first contact practice of the spring season.

All in all, Schweigert was pleased with what he saw.

“I thought it was a step in the right direction,” he said. “Always on the first day, you probably want a little bit more. But we’re trying to play hard, stay on our feet and practice the right way. For the most part, I thought we did that.”

UND practiced for 20 periods, a handful involving contact. There was no tackling, but the pads did pop at the stadium for the first time since last fall.

“Our guys are working hard in learning our offense and defense,” said the UND coach. “They have a general understanding of what we’re trying to teach here. That’s a good sign.”

UND will return to the practice field Friday and Saturday.

More contact is expected but no live scrimmage is expected in the next few days.

“We won’t do that until we’re ready,” said Schweigert said. “But at some point we’re going to have to evaluate our guys.”

One highlight from the practice was Brian Labat’s interception during an 11-on-11 drill. Labat, from Detroit Lakes, Minn., plays middle linebacker.

Also, UND began and ended its practice with punt drills.

A handful of receivers and speed players left UND last season after the program made a coaching change.

Players that took reps in returning punts included Jer Garman, Tyrhe Ivery, R.J. McGill, P.J. Sparks and Aeron Carr. Carr is a redshirt freshman.

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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