Each day of fall camp, the staff at UNDSports.com will put together a daily report and feature a student-athlete in its #BrickByBrick countdown. Stay tuned to the official website, Instagram (UNDFootball) and Twitter (@UNDFootball) for all the up-to-date information leading up to the season opener vs. Valparaiso on Aug. 29.
COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: 25 Days
2013 Media Day Booklet (contains roster, depth chart, bios, 2012 stats)
Head coach Chris Mussman always looks forward to Media Day, which is usually held on the first Monday of fall camp. The added exposure is great for the program and gives the chance for several players to project their feelings on the upcoming season on various platforms.
But, for Mussman's sake, he likes this day mostly because it is the last distraction for his squad in terms of outside elements interferring with getting better on the football field. The team can now turn its entire attention to what happens on the gridiron.
The team did get a spirited 20-session practice in before the two-hour "Media Day" event at the Alerus Center. It was the longest practice among the first three as the squad donned shoulder pads for the first time.
Quarterbacks coach Danny Freund let his unit know that despite the energy being high on the defensive side of the ball in the opening two practices, putting on pads always adds a little intrigue as well as intensity from that side of the ball.
"I told our guys to go out there and try to win the day and leave the field feeling like you got better," Freund said. "I felt like we did that."
Freund also said his young stable of quarterbacks are progressing well, especiallly Joe Mollberg and Ryan Bartels, who were run through the gauntlet of media personel at the luncheon following the practice.
"Both Ryan and Joe are playing well right now. They're making the right reads, getting the ball out quick and the most important thing is they are portraying confidence," Freund added. "They are not acting like freshmen on the field and our offensive line and wide receivers are starting to see that."
- Twelve different players represented the football team at the annual "Media Day" event at the home of UND football. Those dozen players (Ryan Bartels, Daryl Brown, Baylee Carr, Cordero Finley, Kenny Golladay, Garrison Goodman, Greg Hardin, Jake Miller, Joe Mollberg, Joe Kleason, Ben Peters, Blair Townsend were joined by head coach Chris Mussman and his coaching staff.
- Radio play-by-play announcer Jack Michaels was on hand to administer the emcee duties and did so flawlessly once again.
- Mussman provided a brief run down of both sides of the ball and the special teams unit, while also touching on the challenging schedule that awaits his team in 2013.
- Captains Garrison Goodman and Blair Townsend were also brought up to the podium to answer a couple of questions from Michaels.
- Media members from WDAZ, Valley News Live, Fox Fargo, Clear Channel Radio, Midco Sports Network and the Grand Forks Herald were all in attendance to cover the event.
- Following media day, the football players and coaching staff had their head shots taken for the upcoming season. Check out www.instagram.com/undfootball to see who had the "Best Grin of the Day"
- Mussman's entire speech from the program is available here on UNDSports.com.
What's on tap for Tuesday
With all the administration and media responsibilities out of the way, Tuesday is the first strictly all football day the team will have. It starts with practice No. 4, includes lifting and film study and will conclude with special teams and position meetings.
Student-Athlete Spotlight: No. 5 R.J. McGill
Senior R.J. McGill is proud of the grin he exudes each time his head shot is taken. The photographer asked him today if he wanted to take a "normal" picture after his big grin was snapped a few times and the Phoenix, Ariz., native simply said, "No thanks, that was normal."
McGill's grin is infectious and it is also a little wider here lately as he nears his return to the football field. That return is necessary because his junior season was cut short due to a knee injury suffered in the Cal Poly game on Sept. 29.
"Honestly, the year has just been busy with rehabbing. Ever since I was little, I have heard of athletes coming back from this injury, but now that I am actually having to do it, it is definitely a challenging experience and makes you cherish every moment," he said.
McGill, who has been on the practice fields for the first three sessions, is limited to what he can do, but those limitations are slowly dissipating with each passing day.
"I am still in the rehab stage, but I'm getting better and better each day and hopefully, I'll be back better than I was before," he added.
His next step is to start working himself into the 7-on-7 drills (skelly sessions) and gradually make his way into the full team drills in preparation for the season opener vs. Valparaison. The injury has let McGill reflect a little on his three years in the program and provided a little extra motivation for his final campaign.
"It's been a great first three years in the program," McGill said. "The injury was a setback, but I can't complain. I came in wanting to play as a true freshman. That was a goal I set for myself and, luckily, I was able to do that. I worked hard for it.
"Now, that it's my last year, I want to work even harder to get back and get us to the playoffs."
Part of that incentive is to play at 100 percent with what is arguably one of the best wide receiver corps in the Big Sky Conference. McGill was on pace for career highs last season when he went out in game No. 5 against the Mustangs. To that point, he had caught 22 passes for 275 yards and caught a key touchdown in the win over Portland State.
UND put together one of its best passing seasons in school history in 2012 and McGill wants to help duplicate that feat again this season.
"We have fun every day," McGill said of his relationship with the fellow wide receivers. "We push each other and help each other every day. It's a great experience to see that we each have our own set of skills and we can compete against each other, but also learn from each other and see what each of us can do."
And, if flashing a big grin makes you a better wide receiver, McGill is already ahead of the curve in that department.
Fall Camp Schedule
|Date||Times (Practice #)|
|Sat., Aug. 3||9:15 a.m. (1)|
|Sun, Aug. 4||9:15 a.m. (2)|
|Mon., Aug. 5||9:15 a.m. (3)|
|Tues., Aug. 6||9:15 a.m. (4)|
|Wed., Aug. 7||9:15 a.m. (5)|
|Thur., Aug. 8||9:15 a.m. (6)|
|3:15 p.m. (7)|
|Fri., Aug. 9||9:15 a.m. (8)|
|Sat., Aug. 10||9:15 a.m. (9)|
|3:15 p.m. (10)|
|Mon., Aug. 12||9:15 a.m. (11)|
|Tues., Aug. 13||9:15 a.m. (12)|
|3:15 p.m. (13)|
|Wed., Aug. 14||9:15 a.m. (14)|
|Thurs. Aug. 15||9:15 a.m. (15)|
|3:15 p.m. (16)|
|Fri., Aug. 16||9:15 a.m. (17)|
|Sat., Aug. 17||9:15 a.m. (18)|
|3:15 p.m. (19)|
|Mon., Aug. 19||9:15 a.m. (20)|
|Tues., Aug. 20||9:15 a.m. (21)|
|3:15 p.m. (22)|
|Wed., Aug. 21||9:15 a.m. (23)|
|Thur., Aug. 22||9:15 a.m. (24)*|
|Fri., Aug. 23||9:15 a.m. (25)*|
|Sun., Aug. 25||3:15 p.m. (26)*|
|Mon., Aug. 26||2:30 p.m. (27)*|
|Tues., Aug. 27||3:25 p.m. (28)*|
|Wed., Aug. 28||4 p.m. (29)*|
* All practices will be at Memorial Stadium except Aug. 24-28* (Alerus Center)
Starting at $75 per seat, season tickets for UND’s 2013 football season are now available. The seven-game home schedule is the best of the DI era and features matchups with four preseason top 10 teams: South Dakota State, Montana, Montana State, and Eastern Washington. Fans can save over 50 percent off single-game ticket prices by reserving your season tickets today. Place your orders by visiting UNDsports.com or calling 701-777-4582.