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Updated: Thursday 03/30/2012 18:03:34 (ET)
by Ryan Powell, UND Media Relations
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*Saturday's (March 31) practice has been moved to a 1:45 p.m. start*

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - At 3:45 on Friday afternoon, while most were staring at the clock and waiting for the work day to end, the Sioux football team could not wait to start its work day. 

That’s because Friday marked the first day of spring ball in which UND would practice in full pads. Although the majority of today’s drills did not feature full contact, it was another step toward next Saturday’s initial spring scrimmage.

"I really liked the tempo of today's practice," UND head coach Chris Mussman said. "I liked the energy on the defensive side of the ball. There was a lot less thinking.

"Offensively, we have added a lot of stuff, different cadences, going on two and they are facing more defenses, so the degree of difficult really went up for some of those young (players) and you could see that today."

Receivers Greg Hardin (Bellevue, Neb.) and Tyrhe Ivery (Garland, Texas) provided the day’s top highlights with acrobatic, one-handed catches. Hardin’s catch, a diving effort on a corner route, came during a 1-on-1 drill while matched up against sophomore Daryl Brown (Plymouth, Minn.).

Ivery’s came over the middle on a tipped ball during a half-skeleton session while he was falling backward to the ground.

The team closed out the two-hour session with some third-down situational work.  There was little contact during the first day of full-pad work, but the intensity was high. Senior defensive end Jay Nelson (Wheaton, Minn.) had to let up a couple of times to stop from sacking the quarterback in those closing drills.

The offense also made its fair share of conversions in the final two periods with nice execution on short, intermediate routes.

Practice Notes: With apologies to Wayne Nelson of the Grand Forks Herald, the most high-profile observer was UND President Dr. Robert Kelley, who took in a good portion of today’s practice from the sideline ... Football wasn’t the only sport on the minds of the UND coaching staff ... At separate times during practice, both head coach Chris Mussman and assistant coach Danny Freund wandered over to the sideline to ask how the UND-North Dakota State baseball game turned out (UND lost 1-0) ... Mussman reminded his team that the two squads play again on Sunday in Grand Forks at 1 p.m. and urged his players to come out and support the rivalry - one that he said he hoped his guys would get to experience sooner rather than later ... Mussman also wished former assistant coach and long-time friend John Kelling all the best as he is making a fresh start at the University of Mary ... Kelling signed a contract on Friday to become the Mauraders' defensive coordinator.

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