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UND Drive: A game within the game
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Updated: Tuesday 08/18/2011 17:05:54 (ET)
by UND Athletics Media Relations
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The UND Drive Blog will provide an inside look at the 2011 Fighting Sioux fall camp that began 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 the evening of Sept. 1 against the Bulldogs and each subsequent game that follows.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Head coaches utilize creative ways to introduce competition into fall camp as many ways as possible. For the Fighting Sioux, the squad ended Thursday's practice with one of those - a first-down challenge.

The principles were basic. It was a late-game situation where the offense needed to grind out the clock by getting a first down and the defense had to put the clamps down to try to get the ball back with time to spare.

Head coach Chris Mussman stressed the importance of the situation by calling his team together just before to put the proper emphasis on the level of competition he wanted to witness during the live drives.  

"Those things put our guys in game-type situations - real situations without having to extend a whole bunch of live reps into a full game length," Mussman said. "That is what we have tried to do this fall, try to segment it out where you do not have to do that.

"It is good experience for the guys to be in those situations. Our offense needs to be able to run the ball and get a first down when needed and, defensively, there is that time where you have to shut it down and get off the field."

There were five drives by the offense in this game within the game at the end of practice and the defense held a slight edge when the final whistle blew at 3-2. Mussman liked what he saw from this top units on both sides of the ball.

"It was pretty good give-and-take," Mussman added. "The first unit that initial time out, the defense held them to a three-and-out, then the second time the ones got the first down. So, you like that give-and-take." 

Junior Mitch Sutton (Plover, Wis.) nearly got the 10 yards needed on a third-and-10 on the first drive the top offense, but he was tripped up just shy after a nine-yard scamper. 

Redshirt freshman Adam Shaugabay (Warroad, Minn.) continued his impressive fall working with the No. 3 offense as he picked up a pair of first downs on five carries during that unit's first opportunity.

The second-team defense had the cleanest effort by that side of the ball as it held the No. 2 offense in check thanks to a tackle for loss by Cordero Finley (Kenosha, Wis.) on first down.

Sophomore Jake Miller (Bismarck, N.D.), running with the No. 1 offense, led that unit to a first down on its second chance. He bulled over a defensive back on third-and-3 to pick up four yards and a first down.

The No. 3 defense got its revenge on the final drive of the day, stopping P.J. Sparks (Glendale, Ariz.) a yard shy of a first down on a third-and-7 rush.

News and Notes
-The players will put on their coaching hats later Thursday as they will conduct a youth clinic for fourth, fifth and sixth graders here in Grand Forks. Check back on Friday for a recap of that event and a photo gallery.
-The team is tenatively scheduled for a 70-play scrimmage at the end of Saturday's practice.  That could be scaled down depending on the availability of players dealing the standard "bumps and bruises" of fall camp.


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