GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The North Dakota football team returned to the field for the first time in nearly three months as the Fighting Hawks completed their first of 15 practice sessions at the school's High Performance Center Friday.
The reigning Big Sky Football Champions spent 90 minutes together under the watchful eye of a coaching staff that reiterated to its players the importance of remaining focused on getting better and controlling what you can control.
Coming off a successful 9-win season could lead to complacency, but the first workout of the spring showed no signs of that. Fourth-year head coach Bubba Schweigert was mostly pleased with a session that featured customary special teams drills early on before gradually moving into fundamental drills.
The intensity picked up during skelly work and carried over into the final 10 minutes of the practice where the offense and defense squared off in a two-minute situation.
"I thought for the first day we were pretty good," Schweiger said. "But, there's lots of room for improvement and we have to better tomorrow."
Reigning Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year Cole Reyes had an interception during skelly work that fired the defense up ... Tight end Alex Cloyd made a juggling catch during the two-minute drill on a 3rd-and-short situation to keep the drive alive ... The practice ended with a perfectly thrown ball from Ben Bolinske to the waiting arms of Luke Stanley ... The 6-foot-4 junior hauled in the pass from 30 yards out.
Here’s a look at the players making position changes this spring:
Senior Jake Disterhaupt is one of those making a position change, but that is old hat to the Willow River, Minn., native. Disterhaupt arrived in the fall of 2013 as a wide receiver before shifting to safety for the 2014 spring season. That fall, Disterhaupt made the move to outside linebacker where he played the last 35 games, including 11 starts (entire 2015 season). Disterhaupt is excited about the move and thinks it will be an easy transition. "There's a few different things, but the coverage drops are similar. I'll just have to read different offensive lineman and know where I fit in the run game," he said.
Midco Sports Network, the Grand Forks Herlad and WDAZ were all represented out at practice this morning and will have coverage from the spring opener on their separate platforms in the coming days ... Interview subjects included quarterback Keaton Studsrud (WDAZ), newcomer James Johannesson (WDAZ), Disterhaupt (MidcoSN, WDAZ and GF Herald) and defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt (MidcoSN, WDAZ, UNDSports.com and GF Herald).