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Think Big: Spring Football Schedule
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Updated: Sunday 03/22/2012 10:22:03 (ET)
by UNDsports.com
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The staff at FightingSioux.com will provide "Think Big" reports throughout the 2012 Spring football schedule as the Green and White officially begin the transition to the Big Sky Conference. Check back frequently throughout the next month for video features, practice reports, photos and all the insight on the UND Football program.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The University of North Dakota football program has a lot of reasons to feel good about the direction it is headed after wrapping up the four-year transition into the Football Championship Subdivision.

Coming off an 8-3 season, earning a share of the Great West Conference title and finishing the 2011 season ranked in both national polls will certainly warrant those feelings.
 
And, the Fighting Sioux have taken that momentum into the off-season weight program and are eager to translate that to the field on Monday when spring drills begin at Memorial Stadium.

However, there is another transition looming for this football program and that is what fifth-year head coach Chris Mussman does not want his team to lose site of this spring.

"I think there is a sense of urgency, particularly with the older guys," Mussman said. "They get it. Those juniors and seniors have played a lot of football and know what we are getting into."

What the reigning GWC Coach of the Year is referring to is his team's transition to the Big Sky Conference, which sent two teams to the 2011 FCS playoffs and boasted the 2010 National Champion - Eastern Washington. This will be the first season the Fighting Sioux are playoff eligible.

"There are no more breaks in our schedule," Mussman said. "As a coaching staff, we have to start changing things up now in order to stay healthy and be prepared for what we will face in conference play on a week-in, week-out basis."

After playing three to four GWC games over the past four seasons, the Fighting Sioux will face a grueling eight-game Big Sky slate in 2012 and also play a league foe in non-conference action, accounting for nine of the team's 11 games.

Mussman knows that will be one of the toughest challenges for his team as they join the new league and that is why this spring is arguably one of the most important this program has faced. 

"Our biggest thing during the spring will be to find out where our depth is and who among these young players can help us at this level," Mussman said. "We stepped up to the challenge last season, but this will be even more challenging for our program.

"Our guys will have to focus on the task at hand and really start to find an identity as we move forward."

Monday will be the first of 15 spring practices the team is alloted per NCAA rules. The Green and White are scheduled to hold two scrimmages (April 7 and April 14) before closing out the schedule with the annual Spring Game at the Alerus Center on April 21 at 3 p.m.

All practices are open to the public.

2012 Spring Football Practice Schedule
03/26 (Monday) - 3:45 p.m.  
03/28 (Wednesday) - 3:45 p.m.
03/30 (Friday) - 3:45 p.m.
03/31 (Saturday) - 12 p.m.
04/02 (Monday) - 3:45 p.m.
04/04 (Wednesday) - 3:45 p.m.
04/06 (Friday) - 3:45 p.m.
04/07 (Saturday) Scrimmage #1 - 12 p.m.
04/11 (Wednesday) - 3:45 p.m.
04/13 (Friday) - 3:45 p.m.
04/14 (Saturday) Scrimmage #2 - 12 p.m.
04/16 (Monday) - 3:45 p.m.
04/18 (Wednesday) - 3:45 p.m.
04/20 (Friday) Alerus Center - 3:45 p.m.
04/21 (Saturday) Alerus Center - 3 p.m.
All practices scheduled for Memorial Stadium unless otherwise noted
* Times and location subject to change

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