UNDsports.com: Official Web Site of University of North Dakota Athletics
Courtesy: UNDsports.com
The North Dakota football team went through its first live action of the fall on Saturday morning at Memorial Stadium.
Fall Camp Notebook: Vol. 10
Courtesy: UNDsports.com
Release: 08/12/2017

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The North Dakota football coaching staff and hundreds of interested spectators got their first "live" look at the 2017 edition of the Fighting Hawks Saturday morning at Memorial Stadium.

After the veterans went through about 16 red zone plays in a "pin-the-hip" tempo, those experienced players gave way to a younger batch of players for a scrimmage that saw just over 50 live plays run.

"I thought we were good early. We needed to sustain that throughout the scrimmage," UND head coach Bubba Schweigert said. "With our younger guys, we can evaluate them now. We gave them a lot of reps. That was the goal to see what those guys could do when we go live.

"For the most part, we took care of the football and eliminated the discipline penalties. Those are the things you need to do consistently to be a good football team."

Quarterbacks Keaton Studsrud and Brad Heidlebaugh split the red zone work, picking up a trio of first downs on 3-and-6 scenarios. Studsrud accounted for the only touchdown pass of the brief session as classmate De'mun Mercer made a juggling catch in the back of the end zone.

Heidlebaugh led five goal-line plays with the offense finding paydirt on three of those. Fullback Tyler Coyne scored the first one on a 2-yard run that averted disaster after the QB-center exchange ended up on the ground. Sophomore James Johannesson also found his way into the end zone on a 2-yard run and Heidlebaugh connected with senior Stetson Carr on a 3-yard scoring pass to cap that session.

"We want to test our guys. There are a number of guys that have played a lot of football for us, so these scrimmages are not for them. We did a little non-live situations to keep those guys sharp, but when we go live, it's for guys who have not played a lot of football (for us) and to evaluate and see how they respond when we do go live," Schweigert said.

Heidlebaugh handled the first 15 plays of the live session. In all he led five drives and picked up first downs on three of those. Johannesson picked up one of those with the longest run from scrimmage, when he got loose for a 31-yard gain. Heidlebaugh then connected with Red River product Chad Bartosh on the longest pass play after the junior walk-on broke free for a 63-yard gain. The Rugby, N.D., native finished the day going 4-for-12 through the air for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Sophomore Andrew Zimmerman engineered the next 15 plays that covered two drives. After a quick 3-and-out, Zimmerman led a 12-play, 55-yard drive that would have resulted in a field goal try. He was 6-for-8 on that drive for 39 yards.

True freshman Brock Boltmann got in 10 plays at quarterback and completed his only pass for a 12-yard gain to classmate Izzy Adeoti. Boltmann also showed off his elusiveness, scrambling for 14 yards on a pair of carries.

The only turnover of the scrimmage came on the final play of that sequence when Boltmann and JUCO-transfer Teddy Sherva got crossed up on a handoff and Bryden Swenson pounced on the loose ball. 

"I think we made some big plays on offense. You always want to see those explosive plays," Schweigert said. "Defensively, I thought we tackled pretty well. We did pretty well in short yardage. We need to do better on the goalline, but there were some positives on both sides of the ball."

Johannesson led the running backs with nine carries and 49 yards to go with the goal-line touchdown. Adeoti was the top receiver, hauling in five catches for 49 yards. Carr added three grabs for 21 yards and the goal-line touchdown catch.

Inside linebacker Dijon Murray and safety Jaxson Turner shared the team-lead with four total tackles a piece. Junior Austin Cieslak had a pair of sacks, while freshmen Jordan Canady and Ty Shannon both came up with three solo stops.

After a day off on Sunday, the Fighting Hawks will return to the practice field Monday morning and Schweigert has some things he'd like to see from his football team starting next week. "We really need to clean things up both sides of the ball. We want to see execution that is much crisper. We want to see good communication on defense and we want to take care of the little things that make a difference in games: taking care of the ball, QB-center exchange and defensively being assignment sharp," he added. "Those are really important (as we keep progressing) and that needs to get cleaned up because we are not far away from being in game prep (for Utah)."

One Thought from today's scrimmage...
Offensive coordinator Paul Rudolph

"It was fairly clean. There were some positives and negatives whenever you have these scrimmages. For the most part, we kept the ball of the ground. I would have liked to have seen us execute a few things a little better, but it was not a bad first live look at the offense."

Defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt
"It was nice to go live. That's something we've been working towards for a while now. Our guys needed it. You get to point leading up to this where you wonder if that would have been a first down, would we have made the tackle, so it's just good to get out here and get some live plays. It was nice to see who could get some guys down to the ground, win some one-on-one matchups and it was also nice to have everyone that walked on the field, walk off of it. It was a productive day and we'll build off it."

-- UND --



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