Grand Forks, N.D. -- Fall camp is about a gradual progression to an end goal, which in North Dakota's case is a day-by-day process to be fully-prepared for a season-opening tilt at No. 25 Utah on Thursday, Aug. 31.
As the progression continues, the Fighting Hawks' second day of fall camp mirrored Thursday's first day in a number of ways as the squad gets acclimated back to full-team practices. There was once again a lot of time devoted to fundamentals and circuit work as blocking, tackling technique, ball security and special teams' drills filled a majority of the 22 practice periods. The workout lasted just under two hours and the team spent its final day practicing in just shorts and helmets before throwing on the shoulder pads for Saturday morning's practice at Memorial Stadium.
The players are chomping at the bit for Saturday because that gets them one step closer to full contact and that "true" football feeling. Junior Tank Harris was among those excited to hear that the team would be donning shoulder pads at their next practice. The big defensive tackle gave an approving head nod and belted out a "let's go" after head coach Bubba Schweigert made the announcement.
Reyes named to STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award Watch List (STATS Story)
Senior captain Cole Reyes continued to rack up preseason recognition on Friday when he was among 21 FCS defenders named to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List. Reyes finished 14th in the voting for the FCS Defensive Player of the Year last season after helping lead the Fighting Hawks to a No. 7 national seed and share of the Big Sky title. The Schaumburg, Ill., native was named the Big Sky Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and landed on Athlon Sports and STATS FCS preseason All-America Teams as well.
KFGO launches UND Football 360 (KFGO Story)
Former football alums Kelly Howe and Craig Reindeau are taking their UND football blog to a new home this season. The duo has partnered with KFGO to form UND Football 360. The duo will also join UND Tailgate Show host Shannon Schweigert on expanded pre and post-game radio shows this season.
Travis Toivonen Q&A
Sophomore Travis Toivonen was one of two true freshman wideouts to see plenty of playing time in 2016. The Red Wing, Minn., native made the most of his first collegiate season as he ended up leading the team in receptions (39) and ranking second in receiving yards (433) and touchdowns (3). He stopped to chat with UNDsports.com for the second player Q&A of the camp.
How have the first two days of fall camp gone for you? "It feels really good just to get out there, to run around and catch some passes. Working out in the summer on our own is great, but that atmosphere can't be matched to fall camp. We're going up against our No. 1 DB's and that makes it a lot of fun."
How important was staying in Grand Forks and get some of that voluntary work in with your teammates? "Those are really important. It was a good feeling to see a lot of guys working hard in the summer to get better when they didn't have to be doing that."
What's the biggest thing you want to improve on from year one in the program to year two? "My knowledge of the playbook and making it easier to focus on the defense, k nowing which routes to run. For me, I also want to work on getting out of the top of my routes and blocking, so we can improve in our run game."
Being your second year in camp, what's your message to the first year "Jets"? "Just come out here and listen to the older guys, don't talk a lot and observe what they do. Try to learn from everybody else because all these guys know what they are doing. So, I think just watching them is the biggest key to coming out here and having success."
Coming off of last year, what's been the mood in the lockerroom been like as fall camp ramps up? "Last year, we just got a taste of what the playoffs were like. Now, we know what it takes to get there. We have to focus on Utah first, go game-by-game, but we want to make a run in the playoffs. We have that feeling and we know we can get there, so it's a big motivation for us to keep working hard and try to get to that point."
After allowing the offense to mostly get the upperhand during two-minute drills during Thurday's camp opener, the defense was the unit making a majority of plays on Friday ... Freshman Hayden Blubaugh registered a pair of pass break-ups during the practicing-closing session, while Andre Steiger corralled a deflected pass for an interception that stalled a drive ... Offensively, senior wide receiver Josh Seibel provided the biggest highlight, when his acrobatic catch on a deep ball moved the chains and gave the offense possession deep in the defenses' territory ... Cornerbacks Torrey Hunt and Tyus Carter came up with interceptions during skelly work ... Hunt's was of the highlight-reel variety as he tipped a pass in the air, then made a diving catch to secure the turnover.
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