New running backs coach Kevin Maurice appreciates the competitive spirit, but he wants his quartet of ball carriers to focus on what they can do as a group because he knows that is what will inevitably lead to success for the offense.
"I think my group is buying into working as a unit and not the idea of just one guy running the football," Maurice said. "From the first practice til now, I have seen a change in them. I think they are more positive and they are cheering their fellow running back on.
"I think they realize they are going against the defense and not their fellow running back. I like that positivety and I think that will carry over to the offensive line, the wide receivers and the whole team in general."
Of his group of four, Maurice has seen some flashes from each one this spring. Seniors Jer Garman and Adam Shaugabay are the most experienced of the group as both had 45 carries a season ago, while junior P.J. Sparks and redshirt freshman Patrick Sharp are also doing their best at making a favorable first impression.
"I think the guys are buying into our offensive system and like our offensive concepts, which are conducive to their skill sets," he added.
2 Jer Garman (Sr., 5-9, 186)
20 P.J. Sparks (Jr., 5-8, 195)
27 Patrick Sharp (RFr., 5-10, 185)
39 Adam Shaugabay (Sr., 6-0, 200)
- Head coach Bubba Schweigert will have some officials at Friday morning's practice to assist with what is anticipated to be a controlled scrimmage featuring about 30 plays. The practice is slated to start at 9 a.m.
- Wednesday's post practice was filled with interviews for several of the players from various media outlets in the region. Both KVLY and Fox Fargo had reporters on site to interview head coach Bubba Schweigert and a collection of players. KVLY's Beth Hoole interviewed quarterbacks Ryan Bartels and Joe Mollberg and also spoke with offensive lineman Brandon Anderson. Fox Fargo's Lauren Cook spoke with wide receiver R.J. McGill and linebacker Alex Hickel, while Wayne Nelson of the Grand Forks Herald interviewed linebacker Will Ratelle and also caught up with running back P.J. Sparks and running backs coach Kevin Maurice as well.
- Sparks, Maurice and Jer Garman were all quizzed by UNDSports.com for the running backs feature and that video will be linked to this practice report.
- Incoming recruit Hudson Walton was a guest at practice as he and his father made the drive from just outside Milwaukee to take in Wednesday's afternoon session. Walton is expected to play outside linebacker at UND and he spent a majority of time watching his future position group.
- Senior safety Baylee Carr has been a magnet for interceptions during skelly and 11-on-11 work as he made another one during today's practice. This one was of the acrobatic variety as he deflected the pass, then was able to coral it from his backside as he fell to the ground.
- The practice got started with another competitive situation as offensive and defensive players split up during special teams drills to work on kickoff coverage drills. Special teams coordinator Shawn Kostich kept score as the players were challenged to keep opponents from making their way to a would-be kickoff returner. Sophomore linebacker Taj Rich provided the overall win for the defense when he stopped wide receiver Tyrhe Ivery on the final matchup. The offense had to do up-downs, while the defense celebrated the victory.
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