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: 22 Days
2013 Media Day Booklet (contains roster, depth chart, bios, 2012 stats)
Full pads always bring a little more intensity to a practice session and that was evident on Wednesday at Memorial Stadium as those were donned for the first time by the North Dakota football team.
Head coach Chris Mussman and his staff implemented a new system that drew mixed reviews, but the sixth-year head coach feels like that it will be better received as the team practices "thud tempo" more often.
"It's the first time we have done 'thud tempo', where we allow the defense to wrap up the ball carrier," Mussman said. "We have certain rules to it and it was difficult at times, so that was a little sloppy.
"And, that leads to tempers flaring sometimes, so we had a few fracases break out. But, those are lessons we have to learn because we can't do that and succeed as a football team."
One area Mussman was pleased with after watching his squad in full pads for the first time was the defensive side of the ball.
"I have been very pleased with us defensively and I'm not saying I have been displeased with us offensively, but the defense has made great strides," he added. "They are playing with a lot of energy. I am starting to see players like (safety) Javen Butler start to figure it out. These are things that are important for us. That's the key right now. If we can get our guys playing fast, playing in the right spot and playing with high energy, we have a chance to get back to how we are used to playing defense."
- Quarterbacks coach Danny Freund took his five signal callers to the opposite end of the field to work on their deep ball throwing, while the rest of the team went through placekicking drills during a special teams period. The goal was for the quarterbacks to fire the football into a trash can about 40 yards away on both drop backs and roll outs. Redshirt freshman Ryan Bartels hit the can the most with classmate Joe Mollberg not far behind. Senior wide receiver Greg Hardin wanted to try out his arm, so he took a couple of throws. The Nebraska native was the only one to land a throw in the trash can after he misfired badly on his first three attempts. His make did draw a lot of whoops and hollers by those watching. No need to fret, he will remain at wide receiver.
- The defense came up with two interceptions during team drills at the end of practice with safety Chavon Mackey picking off a deflected pass and cornerback Chris Brown hauling in a deep attempt from Joe Mollberg to Kenny Golladay.
What's on tap for Thursday
After conducting one practice each of the last five days, the North Dakota football team will have its first two-a-day of fall camp.
Student-Athlete Spotlight: No. 57 Brian Otto
Growing up in West Allis, Wis., just on the outskirts of Milwaukee, Brian Otto learned quickly about a blue-collar approach to football where hard work pays off. It also helped that Otto was the son of a coach. His father, Scott, is currently the head coach at Greenfield High School, but was Otto's head coach at Nathan Hale in West Allis.
That hard work may not have paid off right away, but the all the time, energy and patience Otto has put into this program during his four-plus years is beginning to show up on the field. He started six games last season when classmate Garrison Goodman was in and out of the lineup with an injury and Otto made the most of that opportunity.
"I got some good experience last year and that was huge for me," Otto said. "It carried over into the spring and got my confidence going. Now, it's my senior year and you want to leave your mark when you're a senior."
Otto's best game came in the thrilling 40-34 victory over Montana when he posted a career-high eight tackles and recovered a fumble against the Grizzlies. He finished the season with 30 total tackles.
Otto is currently running with the first-team defense in fall camp at one of the two inside linebacker spots and whether he holds onto the starting spot or not, he'll be counted on to be a key contributor on that side of the ball.
His journey has been long, but he learned early on from his teammates from previous years what it means to be a part of this program. "The older guys that came before me have taught me everything that UND stands for," he said. "They teach you values and instill in you how to work hard and I want to pass that on to the younger guys."
And, it should come as little surprise that Otto sees a future with coaching in it. He got a taste of that this summer working with youth baseball teams here in Grand Forks.
"That was a lot of fun," Otto said. "Even though we were coaching baseball, we were promoting football at the same time," he said.
Inevitably, coachin is in Otto's plan. He'll finish up his degree in physical education this spring and hopefully his old man has a spot for him on his staff next fall. "Hopefully, I can coach with him and start my career that way," Otto said.
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.