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: 23 Days
2013 Media Day Booklet (contains roster, depth chart, bios, 2012 stats)
The North Dakota football team practiced for the second straight day in shoulder pads, building momentum towards their first full-pad practice, which is slated for tomorrow. The squad also practiced in some scattered rain that fell in the area, but the brief showers did not deter the team from finishing a 20-period session.
Progress is being made each and every day and one of the position groups where that has been seen the most is the defensive line. Assistant Coach Kyle Myers took over coaching that unit in the spring and has been charged with the task of replacing all three of his front line defenders.
"We have a lot of potential (up front)," Myers said. "Guys are running around, playing agressive and moving fast. Our guys are not overthinking. They are just reacting and playing quickly. The problem is inconsistency, but you're going to see that at every position in camp across the country."
Myers has eight returners to work with and five newcomers that could be pressed into action. Among the eight returners, the top three on the depth chart all got at least one spot start last season in what was an injury-riddled campaign for the defensive front. That trio includes defensive ends Seth Stanchik and Spencer Cummings along with defensive tackle Ben Peters.
"There are signs that we have the ability to do a lot of positive things on the field. That is exciting," Myers said. "I don't remember being this confident about my position unit in any prior camps at places that I have been."
One of those newcomers, Garrett Cary, is sitting out fall camp with a knee injury, but playing time is up for grabs among the quartet of newcomers, including Marcus Cheatom, Mat Cox, Jake McElroy and Berto Espinoza.
The coach is also eager, like the players, to see what can be done in full pads. That will take place tomorrow morning at Memorial Stadium.
"Once we are in full pads, things change a little bit," Myers added. "We're getting to a spot (in camp) where guys start to get tired, so I want to see how we respond. The way we will respond to that tomorrow will answer some questions for me as to how we might be halfway through the season. I'm looking forward to it. I expect our guys to respond and be more consistent in order to do the job we need to be doing."
- MidCo Sports Network play-by-play man Dan Hammer was on hand filming a feature on senior offensive lineman Joe Kleason. Look for that in the upcoming weeks when MidCo rolls out its UND sports shows.
What's on tap for Wednesday
After four practices in shorts and helmets, the team will don full pads for the first time during fall camp on Wednesday. It will be a similar schedule with lifting and film work in the afternoon before the second installment of "team time" with radio color analyst Mike Berg.
Student-Athlete Spotlight: No. 79 Jake Hoerchner
Despite three summer jobs that kept him busy some weeks for 60-70 hours, senior Jake Hoerchner always found time to hit the weights with his teammates that were in Grand Forks. He wants to go out on top his senior season, and for the first time in his career, Hoerchner is on top of the offensive depth chart.
He currently holds down the top spot at right guard, but is being pushed by sophomore Sean Meehan for the starting nod.
"I think it all comes down to practice and doing the little things right," Hoerchner said. "It's my senior year, so I have to go out on top and do anything I can to earn those starts."
If it were to work out for Hoerchner, it's been a long time coming for Menomonee Falls, Wis., native. He has been a part of the program since 2009 when he redshirted and has appeared in 20 games during his career.
His most extensive action came last season when he was one of the top reserves along the offensive line, seeing action in all 11 games, but he also was pressed into action at tight end - a position he had never played before, but was more than willing to take on.
Hoerchner soaked in the experience and has taken a lot out of that time on the field.
"I think just the playing time, actually getting into games against the better players," Hoerchner said. "It's just that game experience, getting the pace down. It's a lot different than practice. Now, I know what it is like to line up against some of the Big Sky teams."
Hoerchner has been an offensive lineman his entire life, so it was a little startling when the coaches came to him towards the end of last season to see if he'd be willing to move to tight end.
"I came in here as an offensive tackle, but they wanted a big guy at tight end and wanted to see what I coud do," he said. "I told Coach Mussman that I'd do whatever they needed me to do and I told him the same for this year, so we'll see if I stay at offensive line or move back out to tight end. I'll be ready for either one."
For right now, Hoerchner is settling into the top spot at right guard on the offensive line and despite finding more joy out of springing a big run, then watching the quarterback complete a big pass, he'd be more than willing to try and get his paws on a pass this season if he does end up back at the tight end position.
"You can tell Coach Schleusner that I'll be ready for the ball," Hoerchner said. "That'd be a nice way to end your career with a touchdown."
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.