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Greg Hardin hauls in one of many great receptions at today's practice.
UND Drive: The donning of full pads
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Updated: Saturday 08/12/2011 12:37:39 (ET)
by Ryan Powell, UND Media Relations
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The UND Drive Blog will provide an inside look at the 2011 Fighting Sioux fall camp that begins on Wednesday, Aug. 3. Before UND can begin its first official drive of the season vs. Drake on Sept. 1, the team will spend 29 days on a different kind of a drive as the Sioux will work hard to reach the common goal of being the best-prepared team at the Alerus Center on that Thursday evening against the Bulldogs and each subsequent game that follows.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The players donned full pads for the first time in fall camp during Tuesday's practice at Memorial Stadium, but the real hitting is still a couple of the days away. The first live action where players can hit at 100 percent will take place on Thursday.

For senior Chris Anderson (Duluth, Minn.) and his teammates, having the full pads on still brought an increased level of intensity. "It's more realistic as far as football speed and we seem to practice at a better tempo," Anderson said following the two-hour session.

The six-foot-two wideout also said full pads add a little confidence and he said you have to be confident if you want to play fast.

That is just what the offense did early on in team drills as the unit made some big plays that caught the attention of head coach Chris Mussman. "I thought the offense really came out early and the one's did a nice job of establishing a good tempo. There were a lot of guys out there making plays."

Anderson was one of them as he hauled in the longest pass of the day from classmate Brent Goska (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.). Goska's strike sailed about 45 yards in the air before Anderson caught it over the shoulder and pulled away from the defense to finish the play off.

As a fifth-year senior, Anderson knows that a big play can certainly spark the offense, but if you do not go out and the make the next one - the previous one may not end up mattering. "Consistency is a big key for this year," he said. "Making play, after play, after play. If you make a big catch, it's a win for that play, but you have to be able to go back and do it again."

The defense rose to the challenge though towards the final team drills and that is something that Mussman is happy to see. "There is a still a lot of give-and-take with this team," he said. "After the offense kind of controlled things early, the defense regained the momentum and had a nice finish to the day."

News and Notes
-Some of Anderson's wide receiver mates were doing their best impressions of acrobats during the first full pad practice session. Sophomore R.J. McGill (Phoenix, Ariz.) made a diving snag on a deep post route from Goska. Sophomore Blair Townsend (Coon Rapids, Minn.) also joined the aerial show making a couple of diving catches.
-Anderson and sophomore Greg Hardin (Bellevue, Neb.) both stayed on their feet for their big receptions, getting behind the defense to haul in pin-point passes from Goska.
-All three place kickers in camp got some work in during the session as well. Zeb Miller (Ankeny, Iowa) and Tanner Naastad (Grand Forks, N.D.) along with first-team punter Brett Cameron took turns pounding kicks through the goal posts during special teams work.
-The team periods included the yard sticks for the second straight day as the players were put in various situations, ranging from first downs all the way to third-down plays. 
-The conditioning drills, which usually take place immediately following practice were saved for the afternoon. The team will go through its first two-a-day session on Wednesday before going "live" for the first time at the end of Thursday's workout.
-The first scrimmage of the fall is still scheduled for Saturday.

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