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: 12 Days
2013 Media Day Booklet (contains roster, depth chart, bios, 2012 stats)
The North Dakota football team took the day off from the practice fields to enjoy a little friendly competition between the offense and defense at the bowling alley. Housed Red Ray Lanes in Grand Forks, the offense narrowly defeated the defense in a match play format, 7-5.
Both sides of the ball had 12 teams of four players each competing against one another for the ultimate prize - a missed condition segment. The offense will be watching and grinning as the defenders take part in a typical post-practice run.
- The offense was led on the lanes by sophomore wide receiver Casey Young, who bowled a single-game high of 194. Young was narrowly beat out for the best two-game average, which belonged to Mike Edwards, a.k.a. "Big Snacks".
- Big Snacks bowled a 172 and backed it up with a 176 in game two for a team-high 174 average.
- The four-man offensive team of Darren DeNeui, Darren Peterson, Jake Disterhaupt and Jake Hanson turned in the best two-game total of 1,047. Hanson was the tops on the team with games of 182 and 143.
- Video exists of Big Snacks and classmate Ryan Bartels both throwing strikes on Instagram. Check those out along with a gutter ball by team spokesman Shea_Man_67 at www.instagram.com/undfootball
What's on tap for Monday
The team will be back at Memorial Stadium for a morning practice in full pads. It is also the eve of the final two-a-day in fall camp.
Student-Athlete Spotlight: No. 84 Greg Hardin
Senior Greg Hardin is humble. He has been named to numerous preseason All-America teams and watch lists and is projected to be one of the top wide receivers in the FCS again in 2013. That was not a hard projection to make after he caught 65 passes for 1,145 yards and 14 touchdowns in UND’s first season in the Big Sky Conference.
For his efforts, Hardin was named a third-team All-American by The Sports Network and the FCS Elite Wide Receiver of the Year by College Football Performance Awards. His monster season pushed him closer to the top of the record books in a number of receiving categories at UND.
And, with a duplicate season in 2013, he will break several of Weston Dressler’s career records at UND, but the accolades and the record chasing are not in the forefront of his mind. In fact, those accolades mean little to him because he has one mission and that is leading his teammates to the school’s first berth in the FCS playoffs.
“I really want to make the playoffs because that is what is important to me,” Hardin said. “I want to be a part of the first UND team that makes the FCS playoffs. Plus, I still have a lot to improve on because I only made third team (All-American) last season, so I want to be first team and do whatever I can to help the team win.”
Despite being only 5-foot-11, Hardin has worked his way into the upper echelon of receivers at the FCS level because of his elite speed. He used that speed early in his football career at the running back and quarterback positions, but once he arrived at Bellevue West High School in Nebraska, he found a home at wide receiver.
Hardin has also avoided playing on the other side of the ball. He played a little defense in middle school, but after that it was strictly offense. “I always wanted to be on offense, I just never really had an interest on the defensive side of the ball,” he said.
He watches game highlights from NFL receivers who are of similar stature and it’s players like the Miami Dolphins’ Mike Wallace and Philadelphia Eagles’ Desean Jackson that push him to be the best he can be. “I look at all the six-feet and under receivers in the NFL and watch their highlights to see what they are doing,” Hardin said. “I always pull for the little receivers, so if you are six-feet and under I go for you.
“It’s hard being under six foot and playing receiver. You have to be really fast . They always say you have to be tall, but we feel like that’s not true.”
And, Hardin is doing a nice job of proving that on his own. So, what is about receiving that Hardin likes the most. At first he deadpanned it was “blocking.”, but a stupid question deserves a tongue-in-cheek answer. The real answer was “explosive plays” and if you were at the Alerus Center last season, then you were witness to several of them.
Hardin especially likes it when those plays go for six points. “There is no better feeling than putting points on the board,” he said. Even though one of his more electric touchdowns of last season came vs. Portland State when he turned a short pass into a long touchdown play, it is when the quarterbacks air it out when his eyes light up. “I’d say catching a bomb because everyone sees it coming and it’s up to you to go catch it,” he said.
Hardin has one more season to put an even big stamp of approval on what has turned into one of the receiving careers in the history of UND football. That is something that is not lost on him. “When I came here, I wanted to be the best player I could be,” he added. “Of course, everyone comes into school wanting to own a record or whatever that might be, but just to be in this position is an honor because there have been a lot of quality receivers come through UND.”