Head Coach Bubba Schweigert wasted no time in naming his new offensive coordinator. On Sunday night it was announced that UND has promoted current wide receiver coach Danny Freund to offensive coordinator after interviewing and presenting his plan for the UND offense over the weekend. Freund will replace Paul Rudolph, whose contract wasn’t renewed.
Before we dig into the hire let’s take a look at Freund’s playing and coaching history:
2014-2018 North Dakota wide receivers coach
2013 North Dakota quarterbacks coach
2011-2012 North Dakota running backs coach
2010 Carthage College quarterbacks coach
2009 Kenosha St. Joseph High School quarterbacks coach
2004-2008 Quarterback at University of North Dakota (5,789 yards and 42 TD’s – 68.9%)
Freund was a cerebral, quick release, mobile quarterback in his time at UND. He was very similar to current UND QB Brock Boltmann and incoming recruit Cedric Case in his ability to scramble and make the quick-flick throw. Freund was also a two-time captain during this time with UND, showing his leadership ability and respect he earned from his teammates.
Freund will serve as the quarterbacks coach.
One word that would describe Danny Freund appropriately is ‘energy’. He is a high-motor, positive, up-tempo type of a guy and we expect nothing less from his offense. If you asked us how to describe what offense you’re going to see next year we would say the following, based on talks we have had with Freund recently:
- “Power Spread”. Very similar to the offenses we see every week in the Big Sky (NAU-EWU-ISU). Probably a ton of looks out of the shotgun that will look to stretch defenses sideline to sideline while still having a power/counter/inside zone run game.
- Tempo. Not sure they will go no-huddle but they will move at a faster pace than the previous UND offense did. No-huddle will undoubtedly happen from time to time.
- The screen game will be a pillar of his weekly game planning, both at RB and WR.
- Offense simplified, starting with basic terminology for personnel, formations and play calls. Simple is not bad when it comes to football. In Rudolph’s complex offense there were checks for everything and it took time to get it all communicated on nearly every play. This will not be the case anymore. The theory is the players will play faster due to not overthinking and worrying about getting the call correct. You may also see the QB and the offense check to the sideline from time to time.
- Matchups exploited. Look for the QB to have the opportunity to throw a back-shoulder when he sees it, throw a bubble when not covered up, and basically take what is given to them to get easy yards. The play call is not the end-all/be-all.
- Position Changes. Look for Freund to move guys around to see if they are better suited at unique spots. One idea we have always thought might work is Travis Toivonen at a flex-TE spot. He goes 6’3″-220 right now. Get him to 225-230 and he can seal the end in the running game but always get matched up vs. a linebacker or safety in the passing game. WR Garett Maag is another guy who could make that same move if needed. A little idea we had thought of: have C.J. Siegel play some WR in spring practice, while also working at CB. A package of plays for him at 15-20 snaps per game would be ideal to start. Last year, we said repeatedly we liked him best on offense as a playmaker. Siegel has the natural quick twitch & hips that would translate well to a slot receiver position and UND a legit big play threat. This is something UND currently is short on. The offense and defense both wanted Siegel prior to arriving on campus. This should be revisited.
- Fullback gone? From everything we have gathered UND may not be using a fullback much anymore. I think there is a place for one on the team but it won’t be utilized nearly as much. One move that needs to be made is transitioning Graham Devore to tight end in this scenario, which is his original position from high school. He has the size and speed to be a factor immediately.
It will be interesting to see who Freund goes out and hires as his offensive line and wide receivers coaches. We will discuss the potential candidates later this week.