Camp has been chugging along nicely as the Hawks are now 19 days away from their home opener vs. Drake.
The team has been able to avoid any major injuries thus far in camp, which is obviously huge.
However, one major loss at a position of need has shaken things up. As Tom Miller reported yesterday, starting DE Carl Engwall is no longer with the team. Engwall, a senior, was with the team early in camp so this is somewhat confusing. It’s most likely an academic/school issue as the team would have stated otherwise already if it was disciplinary in nature, etc.
The loss of Engwall leaves an already-thin defensive line that much worse off. He was undoubtedly counted on to take 20-30 reps per game.
Mason Bennett andJaelen Johnson will now be the starters at defensive end with sophomore Quintin Seguin and newly converted TE Graham Devore backing them up. Devore quickly became that much more important as he needs to now log more game reps at DE. Getting him up to speed before August 31st will be a priority.
The problem is those last three guys have next to zero experience, which means this group also just got younger. True freshman Chandon Pierre, Isaac Moore, and Elijah Beach will continue to get a hard look at playing at least their freshman four games. Moore brings the most “twitch” to the position but is undersized at only around 215 pounds. We could see UND playing all three selectively throughout the season so as to attempt to preserve their redshirts.
Just a year ago we were thinking the defensive line was a position of strength. However, the loss of Zeke Ott and Nick Honerlaw due to injury, along with the Engwall news changed that in a hurry.
The annual UND Football Fan Fest is set for August 22nd at 7pm at Memorial Stadium. The event will allow fans to meet the players and get autographs while also chowing down on free pizza. The event is free to the public.
Random thoughts from fall camp:
- Hearing great things about true freshman RB Luke Skokna. He is almost fully healed from his knee injury last fall and is one of the more cerebral players on the roster already. Very quick learner. Skokna has a bright future.
- Senior transfer WR Alex Wilde reminds us a bit of Luke Stanley during the 2016 season. Steady, solid route runner, big frame. Even with all the big, veteran WR’s on the roster we still see Wilde helping the Hawks this fall.
- Look for safety Jeremie Dominique to be the starting nickel back. He is a more physical type of safety and playing down in the box, over the slot, will suit him perfectly.