The 2019 UND spring football session officially concludes this Friday with the “Spring Wrap-Up” practice/scrimmage.
It’s been a fairly uneventful spring session for the Hawks. No major injuries (a huge positive), quiet battles going on that will undoubtedly go on into late-August, etc.
With that being said it doesn’t mean there aren’t things to look for on Friday. The only issue for us bloggers & fans is that there won’t be any web streaming so you better be there in person to catch the action.
The staff will be hosting around 50-60 juniors for their final Junior Day of the 2020 recruiting season. They will have hosted over 200 juniors in the past 3 months after this weekend.
The Wrap-Up starts at 6pm inside the beautiful, cozy confines of the High Performance Center.
- The new-look Danny Freund-led spread offense will be on display to the public for the first time. From everything we have seen and heard it is much simpler, more spread out, and much more like you are used to seeing from other teams around the country.
- Look for lots of screens, whether that be traditional RB screens for perimeter screens out of a trips set.
- 11 personnel should be their base formation (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR).
- QB Nate Ketteringham seems to have a stranglehold on the starting job and we doubt this scrimmage will change that. He seems much more comfortable in this system being it is nearly identical to what he ran his true freshman year at Sac State.
- Will be fun to watch Noah Grover and Andrew Zimmerman sling it around in the battle for the #2 QB spot. A good day by either could give them the leg up and the #2 spot on depth chart heading into the summer. Right now I would think Zimmerman has a leg up based on being a senior and more experienced but it’s real close.
- Look for former QB Brock Boltmann to get multiple reps at wide receiver and even running back. Yes, running back. Boltmann has been fairly impressive in his limited time working with the WR’s. At 210 pounds he would bring more size to that already imposing group.
- We don’t see the senior’s playing much on Friday which means the young WR’s should get to showcase their skills extensively. Guys like Mikey Griebel, Kyle Hietpas (moved over from CB), Tyler Burian, Jack Pifer, Noah Sickler and Easton Erbes are going to get a shot at moving up the and into the Top 7 on the WR depth chart, which means they more than likely make the travel squad.
- This offense suits RB Cam McKinney perfectly. McKinney is a RB by trade and moving him back there and giving his ultra-quick running style multiple lanes to choose from just might be perfect for the re-invented UND ground game.
- We are also excited to see Austin Gordon back at running back for the 2019 season. The move back to his original position should be a good one for Gordon.
- The O-line is going to be thin for this game, which to us means freshman Kyle Hergel will get more reps, which is real good. We have heard great things about Hergel this spring and would not be surprised to see him finish the spring #1 on the depth chart at right guard or right tackle.
- Defensively, the secondary is always a four-position battle for spots every spring. Depth has been an issue there for awhile and this spring is no different.
- We will be keeping our eye on transfer CB Jeremie Dominique. The transfer from Hawaii has looked the part but will need to some time before he pushes for a starting spot (held solidly by Hayden Blubaugh and Evan Holm). Dominique could be a nice looking nickel back for DC Eric Schmidt.
- The safety battle opposite starter Jordan Canady will go on for a while longer. With starter Lenny Nelson sitting out it was down to Hayden Galvin and Ty Shannon but we haven’t seen/heard much about separation by either. Galvin, Shannon and freshman Kadon Kauppinen are three to watch on Friday.
- The nose guard position is one that has caused some heartburn for Hawks fans since the graduation of Tank Harris and Steve Greer last fall. Is there reason for worry? Probably. However, we see the combination of Jalen Morrison/Carl Engwall/Griffin Lickfeldt being adequate. None of the three are as good as Tank but there is potential there. With that being said, we will be watching this group closely.
- OLB Ray Haas is back and we are excited to see him back in action. The 6’5″ condor is an imposing figure out there and should help the Hawks defense out significantly vs. the opposing run game.
- Here’s to hoping they perform the goal line & RB vs LB drills they did in the past. They were always a huge highlight for fans as it was sure to provide a few big pad-popping hits.