The midway point of fall camp is quickly emerging as the North Dakota football team returned to the practice field at Memorial Stadium following its first complete day off the playing surface since camp opened on Aug. 3.
There was no easing back into it either as the team completed its third two-a-day in the last five days.
The offense continued to focus on the passing game during both workouts, which has provided good repetitions for a youthful secondary.
"We are progressing pretty good," defensive backs coach Benny Boyd said. "We are deep at receiver with a nice mixture of athleticism and size, so that has given our guys a lot of good looks. We still need to work on bringing a high-level of energy every practice because our unit cannot afford to have a flat practice.
"We have to be sharp and have some leadership start to emerge from one of the veterans in the group."
Sophomore Daryl Brown (Plymouth, Minn.) is the lone returning starter of the four defensive backs in UND's 3-4 scheme. He started all 11 games during last season's 8-3 run and had two interceptions as a redshirt freshman to tie for the team lead.
Senior Braden Hanson (Charlotte, N.C.) continues to build chemistry with those wideouts and he continued to look sharp in both sessions. Junior R.J. McGill (Phoenix, Ariz.) was the beneficiary of a couple of those passes in the morning session as the team worked on its red zone offense and defense.
Junior Chavon Mackey (Jacksonville, Fla.) had one of the nice plays of the morning session, nearly making an acrobatic interception in the corner of the endzone on a pass intended for Greg Hardin (Bellevue, Neb.). Mackey made the fingertip grab initially before the ground knocked it loose.
- The special teams emphasis in the second practice was on kickoff returns. Sophomore Jer Garman (Marion, Iowa) was getting most of the reps with the No. 1s.
- Senior Marcus Hendrickson (Perham, Minn.) and redshirt freshman Romon Bridges (Stockton, Calif.) paired up a couple of times for two niice completions during the afternoon session. The first came in skelly drills when Bridges got behind a defensive back to haul in a long 45-yard bomb from the right-hander, then the two opened up a team period connecting on a fade route in the corner of the endzone.
- Hendrickson was also on the throwing end of perhaps the best catch of fall camp when six-foot-four freshman Kenny Golladay (Chicago, Ill.) contorted his body to make a one-handed catch on another fade route. The youngster from the Windy City is earning a lot of respect from his coaches and teammates for the work he has put in through the first 13 practices.