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College football: Sioux in overdrive

The UND football team has opened the regular season this decade against Texas A&M-Kingsville, Central Washington, Delta State, Humboldt State and Minnesota-Crookston.

UND football practice
UND football players work on a blocking drill during practice Saturday at UND's Memorial Stadium. Herald photo by Eric Hylden/

The UND football team has opened the regular season this decade against Texas A&M-Kingsville, Central Washington, Delta State, Humboldt State and Minnesota-Crookston.

Not exactly any Texas Techs in the group.

So with UND's opener against the Red Raiders of the Big 12 less than a month away, the Sioux begin fall camp with a different level of intensity.

"There's definitely a different excitement," UND coach Chris Mussman said as his team held its first practice Saturday morning at Memorial Stadium. "There's a little bit of an unknown. It will truly be a measuring stick to see where we're at athletically. That's going to be exciting to see what's out there."

UND's game against Texas Tech is only the beginning of a grueling and unique schedule. After visiting Lubbock, Texas, on Sept. 5, the Sioux travel to Northwestern State of Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin of Texas. UND's first home game is Oct. 3 against South Dakota.

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Mussman admits it's not an ideal schedule for the Sioux, who are in their second season as a transitioning Division I program.

"When you play in a five-team league, you're only going to have four games guaranteed," Mussman said. "That means you have to go find seven or eight games and three or four at home. That's tough to do; it takes money to bring teams in. That's the frustration we have as a coaching staff. At times, you put the players in situations you wouldn't like to . . . going on the road.

"But we have to take the attitude that it doesn't matter. We're not going to complain about it. We're going to prepare for every opponent just like we always do."

Camp surprises

There were a couple of surprises for Sioux coaches as players reported to camp this week.

Sophomore Kyle Moore, a wide receiver transfer from the University of Minnesota, has decided not to play college football.

Also, junior Michael Gowan no longer will be with the Sioux. Gowan, a Cando, N.D., native, was listed fourth on the depth chart at tight end entering the season.

The Sioux appeared to only have one injured player on Saturday. Offensive lineman David Koelln, a projected starter at center, suffered a foot injury and is expected to be out three weeks.

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"We anticipate (Koelln) to be ready Sept. 5," Mussman said.

Mussman also said the coaches will evaluate whether any freshmen will not be redshirted.

"We'll find out and see who could possibly help us," Mussman said. "We're not going to pull a redshirt to stand on the sidelines."

UND specifically will look at defensive backs, running backs, wide receivers and offensive linemen, positions Mussman feels the Sioux may be shorthanded.

Miller reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1121; (800) 477-6572, ext. 121; or send e-mail to tmiller@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: UND FOOTBALLUND SPORTS
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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