Newly appointed defensive coordinator Brett Holinka will be making his first big hire very soon. The defensive line coach opening ends tomorrow and we believe the position will be filled early next week.
Developing defensive lineman is crucial to a collegiate defense as their are many techniques and movements involved, especially at UND with their movement-based 3-4 scheme. Very few, if any, defensive lineman come in ready to play so development is huge. The new coach will need to be a teacher of the game, so to speak, and be able to draw off experience.
Another major emphasis on this hire is the ability to recruit. We touched on it before but the loss of Eric Schmidt not only hurts on the field, it hurts off as well. He was their best recruiter and a true road warrior during the spring/winter recruiting months.
Hiring a coach with a passion for recruiting, along with an ability to use acquired experience to develop his players will be paramount in this hire.
We had mentioned Austin Flyger as a potential candidate. The former UND grad assistant was recently hired by Wayne State (NE) recently so it would be interesting to see if he would leave that job for a position with the Hawks. Flyger is a former standout defensive lineman at Augustana so he has played the position. He also holds FCS experience having coached at Southern Illinois under Dale Lennon.
Austin Dickinson has done some nice things during his two seasons at Mankato State. The Mavericks made it to the national championship game this year behind a stout, physical defense that shut down most opposing offenses. Dickinson coached at UND for three years from 2015-17. He played defensive line in college, as well. Dickinson was an assistant at UND in 2017.
We have not come up with many other names to date. These two will definitely be finalists.
Former UND RB John Santiago has made the opening day 52-man roster for the Seattle Dragons of the XFL. Santiago is slotted as a wide receiver and will wear #10. The Dragons open the season on February 8th when they take on the Washington Defenders. CB Deion Harris had been in camp with the Defenders but did not make the opening day roster.
We have been told that the UND players and staff may be potentially moving out of Memorial Stadium in the near future. We haven’t heard where the destination would be but would think it would be somewhere temporary as they are currently fundraising for the HPC 2, which will house the football team and athletic department staff.
Memorial Stadium is on it’s final leg and honestly cannot be used any longer. Safety issues tend to make things change in a hurry. Loose bricks can be seen on the face of the building itself, which is obviously an issue as there is a parking lot below. Not to mention all the structural and mechanical issues a 93 year old building will have.
The old boy has served UND quite well over the years but it’s past time to move on.