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UND becomes a Big Sky Conference member next season, a move that brings an upgrade in competition. The Sioux are trying to upgrade their roster, too, by adding power up front -- a necessity in the Big Sky. The search for a power forward or center -- or both-- continues at UND, which will not have any signings to announce today. Recruits can sign national letters of intent today, the start of the spring signing season. Two recruits were on campus last week and another reportedly is expected to visit this week.
In UND's 2010 homecoming game against Southern Utah, Sioux defensive lineman Seth Stanchik had a shot at taking down Thunderbirds' quarterback Brad Sorenson. "It was one of the first plays of the second half," Stanchik recalled. "I was almost to the quarterback and I just got hit in the leg. I was flipped over. It didn't hurt at first. It just felt like a huge dead leg. Then I got up and knew something was wrong right away." Stanchik fell to the Alerus Center turf. His season was over as he suffered a broken fibula and tibia.
Toward the end of Friday's practice at Memorial Stadium, UND quarterback Braden Hanson connected with receiver R.J. McGill for a 50-yard gainer. It was one of those perfect-spiral on-the-money passes that McGill caught in stride behind the Sioux secondary. "That long post over the top felt real good," McGill said. "He put it right into my bread basket. It was right on the money." McGill has been right on the money in spring camp.
UND completed its fifth practice of spring football Wednesday at Memorial Stadium. A number of things have changed in the five practices -- some good, some not so good. But there has been one constant: Sioux linebacker Dominique Bennett is making life miserable for the UND offensive line. "He's driving our offensive linemen crazy," UND coach Chris Mussman said.
At UND's practice Saturday at Memorial Stadium, there were plenty of high-fives to go around for the Sioux defense. But there were words of caution associated with the high-fives. "The defense had the upper hand over the offense the entire day," UND coach Chris Mussman said. "Give our defense credit; they're pretty good but they played against a pretty awful group today. We're not going to dislocate our shoulders patting ourselves on the back." UND's offense struggled in the first live session of the spring season.
Both E.J. Welch and Derrick Goard know they have their work cut out for them on the field. And they know they have their work cut out for them in the UND football locker room, too. "It's a brotherhood; you have to come in, work hard and earn everyone's trust," said Welch. Welch and Goard are both transfers from junior colleges.
Starting today, there will be approximately 2,600 youth basketball players in Grand Forks to participate in the 23rd annual Junior Grand Am. The tournament drew a record number of teams, and that's a good thing for the Grand Forks Fast Break Club -- the organization that sponsors the event. "All of the profits from the tournament go back into supporting our programs," said Jody Thompson, the Fast Break Club president.
Romon Bridges may or may not see the field when UND begins its 2012 season as a first-year member of the Big Sky Conference. Bridges, a redshirt freshman, currently is a third-string receiver. And UND's receiving corps -- based on two spring practices at Memorial Stadium -- may be one of the team's strengths in the fall. But Bridges already has made his mark in one area -- he earned one of the two UND Beefmaster awards during the offseason, which signifies impressive work in the weight room. Bridges is a 5-foot-9, 154-pounder from Stockton, Calif.
UND's first spring football practice Monday at Memorial Stadium wasn't out of the ordinary. Tempers flared a bit; a few fumbles came on simple handoffs; and defensive players did some extra running if they lacked pursuit to the football. "All-in-all, it was a pretty good day," UND coach Chris Mussman said. Then again, there was the wind, which was gusting up to 33 mph out of the southeast -- making for less-than-ideal conditions. "But it was just good to be back out playing football again," Mussman added. UND's football program officially took another step forward with the beginning of th
UND finally has cleared its five-year transition to Division I football. However, the Sioux football program now faces another obstacle -- a long-term hurdle known as the Big Sky Conference. UND opens spring football drills Monday at Memorial Stadium, the first step the program will take in its preparation for Big Sky Conference play. "I'm anxious to see the challenges week in and week out the Big Sky presents and how much difference there will be from team to team," UND coach Chris Mussman said. "As you play out West, what are the different philosophies you'll see? "No.