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Junior Ben Henson is looking to help fill the void left a defensive front that featured three senior starters in 2012.
UND Football #BrickByBrick: Day 21
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Updated: Monday 08/21/2013 20:52:06 (ET)
by UNDsports.com
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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: 9 Days

2013 Media Day Booklet 
(contains roster, depth chart, bios, 2012 stats)

Daily Report
Head coach Chris Mussman and his football team worked out at Memorial Stadium for the final time during fall camp on Thursday morning. The full-pad practice did not feature a live session, but the final 10 minutes were played at a "thud" place and Mussman let his team know this would be their last chance to impress the coaching staff before final two-deeps were set for the Valparaiso game on Thursday, Aug. 29. 

Notes 
- Thursday's practice was originally scheduled for 9:15 a.m., but will now be held at 2:30 p.m. at the Alerus Center. The session will be the first on the new turf at the "Home of UND football".
- The third installment of "Opening Drive" will be released on Thursday night. Previews of the different offensive positions will be featured in the weekly series.
- There was nearly three-quarters of the old Ralph Engelstad Arena standing when they left the practice field on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. By the end of Thursday morning's practice, only a quarter of the structure was left to tear down. Here's a before-and-after pic on Instagram.  

What's on tap for Thursday
With fall camp drawing to a close, the North Dakota football team will work out on its home field for the first time on Thursday, taking part in a "mock game" at the Alerus Center. The team has two practices remaining in fall camp before turning all attention toward Valparaiso on Sunday. 

Student-Athlete Spotlight: No. 69 Ben Henson
A starting role is new to Ben Henson – at least at the college level. He’s been in the program three seasons now, played behind fellow nose guard Devin Benjamin for the last two seasons and learned the ropes from a veteran defensive front in 2012.

Every player wants to start, but if you can stay focused and do your best in accepting your role on the team, positives will surely follow. That’s the case for Henson, who is now primed to take over as the starter at nose guard in UND’s 3-4 defensive scheme.

He credits the work ethic of Benjamin and fellow graduates from last season – Ross Brenneman and Jay Nelson – for molding him into the player he is entering his junior season.

“I learned that it takes a lot of work, a lot of behind the scenes stuff,” he said about what he learned from that trio. “You just don’t show up and be good or show up and be excellent. It takes a lot of hard work. Everything that I do to this day and am applying out on the field, you have to attribute to Devin, Jay and Ross. Those guys mean the world to me and I’m just trying to emulate what they did.”

He got a taste of starting last season when Benjamin went down with an injury. In that contest against Northern Arizona, Henson racked up a career-high nine tackles, including five solo stops. It was experiences like the one against NAU that has Henson poised for a big junior campaign.

Henson says he has learned a lot this fall camp since he has been the one in the leadership role. “The biggest thing is I know more of what I’m doing and what is expected of me. I can use what I have learned over basically the last three years to teach the younger guys,” he said. “So, I don’t have to worry about myself so much, but help them, critique them on little things. It really is the little things that make a difference.”

Henson has tried to apply that this fall and is trying to do more leading by example than vocally.

“I think the leadership comes from doing your job, doing what you are supposed to do and leading by example. There are times when words need to be said, but for the most part, they see how it’s done and how it should be done and everyone on the D-line tries to emulate that,”’ Henson added.

“I think that is the biggest thing I have tried to do this fall. You don’t need someone chirping at you all the time. You need to see someone doing what they are supposed to do. You don’t need a pat on the back, you just do it because that is expected of you.“

For Henson, that was Benjamin to a “T”. “He just did his job and never expected a pat on the back. I have really modeled my game after him. All the credit needs to go to him because he took the time and taught me everything I know,” Henson said. “That is what I’m trying to do with the younger guys.”

Henson will  have his first chance this season to make Benjamin proud on Thursday against Valparaiso.



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 2:30 p.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)

Season Tickets
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.

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