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UND FOOTBALL: Sioux turn the last corner

UND is through with two-a-day practices, a welcome relief for incoming freshmen. But senior captain Marcus Tibesar said two-a-days become easier as the years go by. That's probably one reason why Tibesar ended Saturday's practice at Memorial Stad...

UND is through with two-a-day practices, a welcome relief for incoming freshmen.

But senior captain Marcus Tibesar said two-a-days become easier as the years go by.

That's probably one reason why Tibesar ended Saturday's practice at Memorial Stadium by running a couple of extra wind sprints alongside Sioux offensive linemen.

"It was for moral support," UND coach Chris Mussman said. "He and Jake Landry both were out there running."

It wasn't a big deal but it did show what Mussman has said more than once about this year's team, which is two weeks away from its season opener at Texas Tech.

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"(Friday), the winning team in our challenge didn't have conditioning, but all the guys ran," Mussman said. "I like our team. They're a close-knit bunch. It's a family atmosphere here. But there is some work to do."

And the work now intensifies as UND opens this week's practice with more of a focus on Texas Tech.

UND has practiced for two weeks. Tibesar has noticed a transformation in 14 days.

"We've grown leaps and bounds from the first day," Tibesar said. "You can really see how much this team has grown."

But the work continues, especially on offense.

"We're a work in progress, especially offensively," Mussman said. "We're young up front and we have two experienced players (Kyle Bondy and David Koelln) that aren't practicing.

"The offense had a pretty good day (Friday) and then today the defense had a little chip on its shoulder and went after the offense. It's one step forward, two back for the offense.

"But when we've gone live, the offense has done well. They've been making plays and that's encouraging."

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UND won't practice today and will scrimmage Tuesday, the first day of classes.

"Normally, the practice on the first day of class is an awful one," Mussman said. "So we decided to scrimmage and not beat our heads against the wall."

Injury update, notes

Landry, the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, missed Saturday's practice. He bruised his right thumb early in preseason camp and has missed the past three days.

"We're letting the swelling go down and by Monday he should be back," Mussman said.

Bondy and Koelln, Mussman added, should be ready to go in time for UND's game-week preparations for Texas Tech.

-- Sioux coaches still aren't certain if any true freshmen will play this season. The offensive line and defensive secondary may be areas where true freshmen see the field, Mussman said.

"We may have the luxury of redshirting all of our kids," Mussman said. "They're athletic and talented. They'll play a lot of football here in the future."

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-- Jay Nelson, redshirt freshman linebacker from Wheaton, Minn., has impressed Sioux coaches with his long-snapping ability.

-- Texas Tech, which at one time was ranked No. 1 last season, did not crack The Associated Press Top 25 poll that was released Saturday. The Red Raiders received enough votes to place them just outside the top 25.

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: LOCAL SPORTSUND 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.
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