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Sophomore Ryan Bartels fires a pass to Tyrhe Ivery during spring drills.
#DayByDay - Spring Football Practice Report No. 6
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Updated: Sunday 04/08/2014 09:31:29 (ET)
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Grand Forks, N.D. - Wide receivers coach Danny Freund was one of two carry overs from the previous staff and the former UND quarterback has been impressed with what he has seen so far in terms of the players responding well to the new regime.

"I think the buy-in has been really, really good," Freund said. "I think the change has been good. Guys have been on edge and it's good to see them be a little uncomfortable. They realize spots are open and guys can really go out and earn those spots this spring.

"I think the attitude has been good. Guys are learning how to work and push themselves and really giving great effort."

Freund is working with a new position group this spring after working with the running backs and quarterbacks over the past three seasons. And, like with the other positions, he wants his wide receivers to just get better with each practice. That has been the over-riding emphasis throughout the first spring under head coach Bubba Schweigert.

"The big thing this spring, like Coach Schweigert has said, is to get better every day," Freund said. "Every day we come out here, we need to improve on something and get better from the previous day. The guys are bringing a lot of energy and coming to work every day. There is a lot of 'want to' even on the off days. They are in watching a lot of film, studying the playbook and watching techniques to see how to improve."

Schematically, there has been a lot of new things installed over the first six practices, but Freund said you will start to see that be scaled back some in the coming sessions. 

"You will see some jumps being made on offense with guys being able to execute better and play without thinkin so much," he said. "I think we are getting better as a wide receivers group. The thing we want to do is be a really tough group, do all the little things right, so all that will pay off in the long run."

Freund currently has seven players in his position group and it is a mixture of young and old, including senior R.J. McGill, who returns after missing the last year-and-a-half due to injury. His return has provided leadership for the group, but the Phoenix native knows that being the elder statesmen in the group does not guarantee anything.

He had 22 catches for 275 yards and a touchdown through five games of his junior season before going down with a season-ending injury against Cal Poly. He missed all of last season rehabbing the injury and has looked strong this spring. The top returning receiver from last season on the squad is jurnio Romon Bridges - he had nine catches for 56 yards. spoke with Freund, senior Tyrhe Ivery, who returns to wide receiver after spending the tail-end of his sophomore season and all of his junior season in the defensive backfield and junior Casey Young about how spring practices are going so far.

Here is a look at tje wide receivers participating in spring drills:

1    Tyrhe Ivery (Sr., 6-0, 160)
5    R.J. McGill (Sr., 5-9, 175)
9    Aeron Carr (RFr., 5-10, 175)
16  Romon Bridges (Jr., 5-89, 155)
18  Pat Brown (Jr., 5-11, 170)
82  Zack Selland (RFr., 6-4, 190)
87  Casey Young (Jr., 6-1, 205)

- There was a slight rain shower that fell for about half the practice, but that did not deter the team from getting any of its work done.
- The team went live for the first time during spring drills for six plays early in the practice. The offense made a pair of first downs on 3rd-and-short situations. Senior Adam Shaugabay broke a couple of tackles and churned out a nearly 20-yard carry for one of those first down. Redshirt freshman Kurt Palandech found fullback Dwayne Pecosky for a four-yard gain to net the other first down.
- Quarterbacks were not live and they were touched up twice by the defense during the brief live period.
- Junior Will Ratelle made one of the more impressive plays of the practice when he went to block a punt by Mitch Meindel during punt-blocking drills and caught the ball clean off the punter's leg.
- The team will be back on the field Wednesday afternoon with temperatures expected to be in the 60's for that session.

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