With Med School hopes on the horizon, UND tight end focusing on one more football go around
In the classroom, learning has never been difficult for UND senior tight end Luke Fiedler.
The two-time Big Sky Conference all-academic team selection just earned a minor in chemistry and is taking steps toward Med School.
Learning on the field has been a bigger challenge.
In fact, UND tight ends coach Shawn Kostich claims he hasn't been harder on anybody in his coaching career more than his 6-foot-5, 262-pound Orlando, Fla., native.
"Kostich would bring that up, and he'd say 'How do you get such good grades in class but can't learn a trade motion means to stay off the line?'" Fiedler said. "Football knowledge is different. For a lot of kids, you don't have that weight bearing on you in high school. In high school, you have simple plays. You come out here and one play can look 20 different ways, and the speed is five times faster."
But that's where Kostich sees a change in his tight end group, which is led by the fifth-year senior in Fiedler.
"Last year this time, if you asked my biggest concern, I would say it was mental," Kostich said. "It's not mental anymore. We have no lack of experience. We played four fullbacks and four tight ends last year, and we bring almost all of those guys back."
Fiedler takes the heat from Kostich in stride.
"He chews your butt, but if you make a big play and look at the sidelines, there is nobody happier than him," Fiedler said. "I try to tell that to the young guys when I have them over to my house to go over the playbook."
Staying in line with the overall 2017 injury storyline, Fiedler's season a year ago was sidetracked with injuries. He missed three games and rarely practiced during the week in order to keep him healthy enough for Saturdays. He finished with five catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Fiedler has practiced every day of fall camp so far this season.
He's also been busy at home. Fiedler, who started school entertaining a career as a veterinarian, has two snakes and a lizard.
"It's a Bearded Dragon, a desert lizard, so we've got a little army," Fiedler said. "I grew up around reptiles. I was always catching frogs and lizards. I've always been a big animal guy."
Fiedler, who has extended family in North Dakota and Minnesota, was born in Edina, Minn. His family moved to Orlando when he was 6 months old when his dad took a new job in Florida.
Fiedler's dad, Barry, graduated from UND.
After this season, Fiedler plans to take a year off and study for the Med School entrance exam.
"Right now, it's all football," Fiedler said. "I've got the rest of my life to do the rest."