GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The Fighting Hawks were back outside for practice No. 8 of fall camp as the weather was near perfect again for the 22-period workout at Memorial Stadium. With a majority of the offense installed, the focus in team drills and skelly work shifted to the red zone where players on both sides of the ball made their share of plays. UNDSports.com caught up with offensive coordinator Paul Rudolph to catch Fighting Hawk fans up with his thoughts on that side of the ball. He touched on a wide variety of topics including overall progress, the battle for the back-up quarterback position and who is catching his eye among the newcomers.
Paul Rudolph Q&A
Through the first week of fall camp, how's the offense progressing? "There's been some positives every day. We're always striving for that consistency. When you are mixing and matching guys, you look for that consistency to keep developing. But, overall it has not been bad."
What's one area you want to see the most improvement in from week one to week two? "Continuing to make strides in the run game, especially the blocking. There is a mindset that's got to be created on day-in and day-out basis to battle on the line of scrimmage and I don't know if we have accomplished that yet."
How are the veterans been with coaching up the young guys? "I think they have done a nice job of getting them moving, going in the right direction. There has not been that many mental blunders, it's been some physical things and some fundamental things here and there that have been the tough things."
How's the battle for the No. 2 quarterback spot behind Keaton been going so far? "I'd say Brad Heidlebaugh has the inside track on that right now. He's put together eight pretty good practices. He's been pretty solid, taking care of the ball. He's done a nice job of seeing pressure and knowing where to go with the ball. His mechanics have improved and his arm strength has improved. That competition is far from closed yet."
Any of the young guys making a positive first impression? "Yeah, I like what (wide receiver) Izzy Adeoti has done. He's had a tougher couple of days here recently. I think practices seven and eight have dragged on him a little bit, but he's fighting through some things and I've enjoyed what I've seen from him. I also think the two new quarterbacks (Brock Boltmann and Nate Ketteringham) have picked things up nicely through eight practices and I like the progress they are making."
Last year, wide receivers Travis Toivonen and Noah Wanzek both played as true freshman, guage their progress going into year two in the program and having that experience from last season to build on? "I think mentally is where they have made the biggest strides. Physically, they've put on some weight and both are running just as good if not better than a year ago, but mentally you can see on a rep-in and rep-out basis they are on top of things pretty well. Everything is nice and smooth and done with confidence. That is what I've noticed out of those two."
Making Strides: UND's offensive ascension under the direction of Paul Rudolph
Paul Rudolph's offense has improved season after season since his arrival in Grand Forks and with the All-Big Sky backfield tandem of Brady Oliveira and John Santiago back in 2017 to pare with an evolving wide receiver corps, the fourth-year assistant has a stockpile of weapons at his disposal to help keep that trend going.
|Year||Scoring (ppg)||Total Offense (ypg)|
Senior Keaton Studsrud opened up red zone team drills with a jump ball on a corner route to Travis Toivonen that the sophomore high-pointed and brought down for the touchdown ... The senior captain then threw a strike to Josh Seibel on a seam route in skelly red zone work that his classmate went up to make a nice catch on for another score ... Seibel also caugth a touchdown pass from Nate Ketteringham ... Brad Heidlebaugh bounced back after throwing an interception to Oscar Nevermann, but connecting with Toivonen in the back of the end zone for a touchdown ... Ketteringham also threw a touchdown pass to De'mun Mercer on a fade route and true freshman Brock Boltmann benefitted from an acrobatic catch by Stetson Carr to log a touchdown pass during skelly work ... The defense returned the favor in the final team drills, logging one more interception when Jordan Canady camped under a deep ball from Andrew Zimmerman to come up with a turnover ... The morning workout marked the third-straight day an NFL scout was on hand as the Tennessee Titans were represented out at Memorial Stadium ... The Fighting Hawks will go through one more standard practice on Friday before taking part in live work in a scrimmage-type setting on Saturday morning ... Head coach Bubba Schweigert wants to make that practice as game-like as possible as local officials will be on hand to get some preseason work in as well.
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