ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

UND football: Defense sets tone for team

UND wrapped up its first week of spring practice Friday without any major surprises. The Sioux came into spring drills knowing their defense would be the team's strength. That hasn't changed. "It's probably as athletic a group as we've had in a l...

UND wrapped up its first week of spring practice Friday without any major surprises.

The Sioux came into spring drills knowing their defense would be the team's strength. That hasn't changed.

"It's probably as athletic a group as we've had in a long time," UND co-defensive coordinator Mike Mannausau said of the Sioux defense. "We have experience at all positions."

The Sioux depth chart after the first week reveals that of the 11 players listed at No. 1, two started all 11 games last season while three started 10. And all 11 played in at least nine games in 2009, a season in which the Sioux finished 6-5.

The defense will be anchored by the Killer B's -- also known as the defensive line. Broc Bellmore and Ross Brenneman are the ends while Ty Boyle is the nose guard in the Sioux 3-4 defensive alignment.

ADVERTISEMENT

While the Sioux will enter the season with experienced defensive starters, their backups haven't seen the field much, if at all. And that will be one of the questions entering the 2010 season, which begins Sept. 2 at Idaho.

"We have senior inside linebackers and we have freshmen inside backers," Mannausau said. "We have senior outside backers and freshmen outside backers.

"Our big concern will be injuries and how our young players develop. We still have a long way to go."

The Sioux secondary, meanwhile, may be as experienced as any UND group in a long time. The group is led by cornerback Dominique Hawkins, who led UND in tackles last season. The other cornerback, currently No. 1 on the depth chart, is Kenny Watkins.

The safeties are Kris Ankenbauer and Joel Schwenzfeier.

The UND No. 1 linebackers to date are Ryan Kasowoski and Ross Cochran on the outside and Curtis Dublanko and Paul German inside.

Schwenzfeier, a senior-to-be who picked off three passes against Texas Tech last season, said he's noticed the overall talent level of the team improve the past two seasons.

"The young guys coming in, usually they develop in one to two years," Schwenzfeier said. "But these guys have talent. They just have to get their technique down.

ADVERTISEMENT

"There's a lot of energy out there. Those younger guys are going to be good."

UND resumes practice on Monday.

The first scrimmage of the spring season is tentatively scheduled for Saturday.

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: UND FOOTBALL
Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
What To Read Next
Featuring area prep sports cancellations and postponements, local boys and girls basketball results, N.D. girls wrestling second edition coaches' poll and much more!
Featuring the prep honor roll, area college basketball conference standings, N.D. Class A and B prep basketball polls, and much more!
Featuring boys and girls hockey results from throughout the region, area prep basketball scores, boys swimming and diving results, and much more!
Manning needed 24 points to break the school record held by Kyle Sanden, who scored 1,549 points in the mid-1990s.