Grand Forks, N.D. -- By this time next week, head coach Bubba Schweigert and his Fighting Hawks will have completed their first of 15 spring football practices each program is allowed by the NCAA. One thing the fifth-year head coach knows for certain, when 7:35 a.m. rolls around next Friday morning, he will be joined by a motivated group of young men on the field at the High Performance Center.
He's been happy with the intensity and drive he has seen in the weight room since last season ended and he knows that his players are ready to get back onto the playing field.
"We've had good-spirited workouts throughout the winter and I thought what went on in our weight room since last season has been really, really good. When you have a season like we did in 2017, it gets your attention and it gets your players' attention," Schweigert said. "We were were not happy with the results and we feel like our program should perform better than we did a year ago. So this offseason, we have stressed having a sense of urgency because last year was not part of our plan."
One thing that will be noticeably different this spring is not having a returning starter at the quarterback position. Keaton Studsrud held that mantra for the past three springs, but he finished up his senior season in 2017, leaving the door open for Brock Boltmann, Nate Ketteringham or Andrew Zimmeran to fill those shoes.
"It's exciting to have some real competition at the quarterback position," Schweigert said. "We haven't had that for a while in our program, but we think it is great for us. We think Andrew grew a lot last fall and got an opportunity to play some for us when Keaton was nicked up. Nate had to sit out after transferring, but we saw first-hand what he's capable of doing when he was at Sacramento State. Brock redshirted and did a nice job of leading the scout team.
"Each of those players will get an opportunity this spring to show what they can do. Hopefully, we come out of spring ball with an answer as to who will be our starter, but the great part is we think that all three of them can play here, which is a good thing."
UND Football Coaches Clinic: March 2-3 (Brochure)
Immediately following Friday's initial practice, the UND coaching staff will head to the Alerus Center to take part in the program's annual coaches clinic. Area and regional coaches from all levels of football will be on hand to hear from the Fighting Hawks' position coaches as well as other regional coaches. The group will also hear from former Minnesota and Northern Illinois head coach Jerry Kill, who will serve as the clinic's keynote speaker.
"Our program has a lot of respect for Jerry Kill and the success he has had at a number of different places," Schweigert said. "We're sure excited about having him on campus to address our area coaches. We think all of us will learn a lot from what he has to say and to be able to have a guy with his coaching caliber at our clinic is going to be great for everyone involved."
The participants will be able to watch the Fighting Hawks go through their second spring practice on Saturday morning, which starts at 10 a.m. at the HPC. All UND spring practices are open to the public. Coaches still wanting to sign up for the clinic can contact wide receivers coach Danny Freund (Daniel.Freund@athletics.und.edu).
»2018 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE
03/02 (Friday) | No. 1 | 7:45 a.m.
03/03 (Saturday) | No. 2 | 9:15 a.m.
03/05 (Monday) | No. 3 | 7:45 a.m.
03/07 (Wednesday) | No. 4 | 7:45 a.m.
03/21 (Wednesday) | No. 5 | 7:45 a.m.
03/23 (Friday) | No. 6 | 7:45 a.m.
03/26 (Monday) | No. 7 | 7:45 a.m.
03/28 (Wednesday) | No. 8 | 7:45 a.m.
03/30 (Friday) | No. 9 | 7:45 a.m.
04/02 (Monday) | No. 10 | TBA
04/04 (Wednesday) | No. 11 | 7:45 a.m.
04/06 (Friday) | No. 12 | 7:45 a.m.
04/09 (Monday) | No. 13 | 7:45 a.m.
04/11 (Wednesday) | No. 14 | 7:45 a.m.
04/13 (Friday) | No. 15 | 6 p.m.
All practices scheduled for the High Performance Center unless otherwise noted | *Times and location subject to change
-- UND --