UND quarterback Quincy Vaughn admits his role his true freshman season came as a bit of a surprise.
More of a pocket passer in high school, Vaughn developed into a power rusher to give the Fighting Hawks a different wrinkle on offense to complement starting quarterback Tommy Schuster.
Vaughn ended the year with 12 carries for 62 yards and had a touchdown run in the FCS quarterfinals at James Madison. It was almost an exclusive running role, as he attempted three passes in the spring of 2021 with one going for a 21-yard touchdown pass in a home win over South Dakota.
The mix of Schuster and Vaughn led the Hawks to lead the Missouri Valley in scoring offense with 29.9 points per game last spring.
For the 6-foot-4, 245-pound highly touted recruit out of Canada, the spring season provided an opportunity to gain experience playing college football.
"This team has a lot of unselfish players," Vaughn said. "Everyone has a role, and I'm accepting my role as a No. 2 right now and just doing whatever I can whenever I get in the game."
Running didn't exactly come naturally for Vaughn, whose high school highlight film shows most of his running coming off broken pass plays.
"Once I got here, they had a plan for me," Vaughn said. "I had to get on the field and do what I can for the team. (Offensive coordinator Danny Freund) had packages to utilize my size. It was something interesting to me and a surprise, but I'm glad I got that experience."
Even as Schuster developed into an all-Missouri Valley Football Conference-level talent, Vaughn had at least one carry in six games. He had a 13-yard carry in the season opener against Southern Illinois and a 23-yard carry in the playoff opener at home against Missouri State.
Vaughn ended the year averaging more than 5.0 yards per carry.
"There was definitely a learning curve from not running like a running back in high school to now looking at block schemes and fronts," Vaughn said. "When I first started doing it, I was slow and not good."
So Vaughn worked with UND running backs coach Robbie Rouse and offensive line coach Joe Pawlak. They taught Vaughn how to read and hit the holes.
"Heading into this year, I'm feeling confident and looking forward to playing my role and doing what I can for the team," Vaughn said. "Whether it's running or passing, I'm going to do whatever to get on the field."
On Friday, UND ended its fall camp portion of the training schedule and will start preparations for the season opener at Idaho State. The Hawks play the Bengals at 2 p.m. Saturday at Holt Arena in Pocatello.