QBs guide UND's offensive upswing
GRAND FORKS -- Quarterback Brent Goska wasn't wearing the red jersey during University of North Dakota's scrimmage Saturday at Memorial Stadium. But that was OK with the Sioux backup. As a running quarterback, Goska knows he'll take some hits whe...
GRAND FORKS -- Quarterback Brent Goska wasn't wearing the red jersey during University of North Dakota's scrimmage Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
But that was OK with the Sioux backup. As a running quarterback, Goska knows he'll take some hits when UND opens its season Sept. 2 at Idaho. He might as well get used to the contact.
The other backup quarterbacks -- Marcus Hendrickson and Seth Nichols -- didn't wear red jerseys, either. The three quarterbacks weren't off limits to the Sioux defense. Only starter Jake Landry wore the protective red jersey.
UND's offense, with a noticeable performance from Goska, made some improvement during the scrimmage -- progress Sioux coaches wanted to see entering the final week of the spring football season.
"We took a step forward offensively," UND coach Chris Mussman said of his team's second spring scrimmage. "Are we where we need to be? No. But I liked what I saw out of the offense more than last week.
"We were making plays. We got some first downs early on with our number ones."
And the second group, led by Goska, not only picked up first downs but touchdowns as well.
Goska was involved in the three Sioux scoring drives, one starting that the 50-yard line.
The drive featured the running of Josh Murray and a couple of Goska passes to Jarrel Davis and Drew Daggett.
The Sioux will open the season with two contrasting quarterbacks. Landry -- the starter -- has the rocket arm while Goska is a running quarterback.
"It's been an up-and-down spring for the offense," Goska said. "Last week, we came out flat. But this was a big week for us."
Goska's mission during spring ball is to improve his throwing.
"I came into spring wanting to get better throwing on the run," said Goska, who completed 12 of 21 passes last season for 113 yards and two touchdowns. "If I can get that down, I think I can contribute."
The No. 2 offense ran a number of plays because it kept moving the ball, aided, in part, by a couple of Goska throws.
"The more reps we get, the more we get on tape and the more we have to prove to the coaches," Goska said.
The one negative in the hour-long scrimmage, Mussman said, was a few missed assignments on the offensive line.
"We have to do a better job of pass protection, particularly the No. 1 offense," Mussman said. "That was the most disappointing thing offensively."
But the No. 1 offense went up against the No. 1 defense -- the strength of the program heading into the 2010 season.
"Our defense is very good," Goska said. "I think it's the best in the conference. They're all good athletes and they all have speed."
UND's spring season wraps up next Saturday with the annual Green-White game at the Alerus Center.
Then the countdown to the 2010 season opener at Idaho begins.
"We're starting to refine some of the things we've put in," Goska said. "It's not perfect. We've had only 11 days of spring ball. But we've got 33 more practices before Idaho."
Nelson is the Sports Editor of the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.