UND goes through first live situations
GRAND FORKS -- In the past, the University of North Dakota football team has loaded up its full-contact situations of fall camp into a couple of lengthy scrimmages.
This year, head coach Chris Mussman is spreading those live sessions into little segments across a number of practices in hopes of entering the Aug. 29 opener against Valparaiso at full health.
The first of those segments came Saturday morning as the defense was allowed full go on the offense at Memorial Stadium.
"The good news is that the pads were popping and there was excitement on both sidelines," Mussman said. "It was good to have that excitement back.
"At first glance, without watching the film, I'd say the defense had the upper hand."
The live session was situational as the offense worked on third-and-short opportunities.
Linebacker Dayo Idowu made the top defensive play of the day by returning a fumble into the red zone. True freshman nose guard Marcus Cheatom also recorded a tackle for a loss.
The offense, however, wasn't shutout. Redshirt freshman Joe Mollberg, who is battling for the No. 1 quarterback job, hit sophomore Kenny Golladay on a post pattern for what would have been a touchdown.
Junior running back Adam Shaugabay delivered the hit of practice when he lowered his shoulder on a long run on cornerback Rumeal Harris.
As fall camp continues Monday, UND will continue situational work, including red-zone chances and third-and-long scenarios.
- UND doesn't have many position battles for No. 1 starting jobs, but long snapper is the exception. Last year's long snapper, Taylor Grant, left the program. Linebacker Brandon Larson and wide receiver Casey Young have taken reps during the fall camp. Both had their problems Saturday morning. Defensive tackle Mike Edwards, who is working his way back from a foot injury, is also an option at long snapper.
- Position journeyman Dewayne Pecosky, who has played the offensive and defensive lines, appears to have found a home as the No. 1 fullback. "Pecosky is nasty," Mussman said. "He's always mixing it up. He dropped a bunch of weight. He knows this is how he can help the team. I really like him at that spot."
- It remains too early to decide the fate of UND's true freshmen class. Mussman said the debate is whether the top true freshmen need to have their redshirt pulled due to the depth at those positions. "It's an impressive group," he said. Running back Patrick Sharp and wide receiver Aeron Carr have impressed the most on offense, while safeties Cam Kuksa and Cole Reyes are the leading candidates defensively. "But those kids are on overload right now," Mussman said. "We keep adding stuff to the workload as we move forward."
-UND remains relatively healthy. Linebacker Cordero Finley has been limited to the workout bike with a minor injury the past few days, while wide receiver R.J. McGill has yet to participate in drills from a lingering leg injury suffered last season.