UND football camp Day 17: Future at offensive line coming into focus

At UND football camp Thursday morning at the High Performance Center, there were glimpses of the future during team work.

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Offensive linesmen Adam Neustel (left) and Kyle Downs (75) practice blocking drills during spring football practice at the UND High Performance Center. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

The starting offensive line for the UND football team is expected to be a strength in 2021 with proven commodities in Matt Waletzko, Ryan Tobin, Nathan Nguon, Kyle Hergel and Donny Ventrelli.

But at such a taxing position, it's always important to look at the future -- especially at a position in which it often takes time for young players to have the right frame and learn the right technique.

At UND football camp Thursday morning at the High Performance Center, there were glimpses of the future during team work.

The team drills consisted of the offense setting up at the 25-yard line, looking to score on the short field. During the time with mostly the depth chart's No. 2's, UND running backs Luke Skokna and Otis Weah found a ton of room running to the right side.

At that time, UND's offensive line was featuring true freshman Andrew Fenton at center, redshirt freshman Colin Lavell at right guard and true freshman Easton Kilty at right tackle.


If UND were to suffer an immediate injury on the offensive line, it's likely veteran Bennett Helgren could fill in at tackle and Nebraska transfer Xavier Trevino could fill in for an interior spot.

But as this spring and future seasons unfold, look for Fenton, Lavell and Kilty to receive major consideration for playing time.

Kilty has received rave reviews. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Kilty played small-town high school football in Stratford, Wis.

Here are the details from Day 17:

The scene: UND practiced in full pads from about 7:30 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. at the High Performance Center.

Play of the day: In team drills late in practice, junior college transfer quarterback Ethan Postler connected with tight end Derek Paulson over the middle wide open for a touchdown.

Looking good: Adam Stage. The transfer kicker from St. Cloud State had the best day among the kicking group. In a rushed setting, attempting to simulate a situation where UND has no timeouts and needs to run the field-goal unit on the field, Stage drilled the attempt from about 35 yards out.

Needs work: UND's offense seemed to have a little too easy of a time running the football in team drills.


Day 17 notes

  • Safety Kadon Kauppinen continued his standout camp. In team drills, Kauppinen came up in run support and would've faced a hefty collision with running back Dalton Gee in the hole. Later, he flashed his speed to close really quick on a swing pass to Creighton Mitchell.
  • Rookie wide receiver Jack Wright is still working his way back from a leg injury, but he's starting to make some catches that turn heads. He caught one ball over the middle from Ethan Postler in team work.
  • Marcus Preston and Bo Belquist -- two other true freshman wideouts -- continued to make the most of their reps, as they caught balls in team work. Belquist caught one from Postler on a comeback route and then did some juking in space to show some of his wiggle.
  • In pass rush drills, UND inside linebacker Hayden Reynolds continues to be a handful for interior linemen on bull rushes.
  • Brock Boltmann didn't take many quarterback reps Thursday but he showed his receiving prowess. He's had a knack for reeling in tough throws and coming down with slant catches in traffic.
  • Isaac Moore, a promising but undersized defensive end, made a nice play to get deep in the backfield on a Mitchell carry.

Past coverage

Day 1: Strange season begins

Day 2: Richter, Burian make plays

Day 3: UND develops Boltmann's versatility

Day 4: Hawks work to replace All-American at inside linebacker

Day 5: Offensive line develops chemistry with veteran group

Day 6: Quarterback room ramps up competition


Day 7: Sophomore cornerback's stock rising

Day 8: A look at returner options

Day 9: Wide receiver vets make case for playing time

Day 10: Tight end options provide variety

Day 11: Schweigert talks QBs on media call

Day 12: Hawks go live for first time

Day 13: UND goes light, early

Day 14: Bubba Schweigert refocuses Hawks

Day 15: Kadon Kauppinen makes play for playing time

Day 16: When will Marcus Preston impact the passing game?

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, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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