Spring football off to a physical start

When Bubba Schweigert took over the UND football program two seasons ago, he instituted a slogan that he wanted to get across to every single player on the Fighting Hawks.

“Day by day.”

Schweigert’s philosophy has rubbed off on his players and the results have shown.

UND finished with a 7-4 record last year, but they were left out of the FCS playoffs. In 2016, they want to make sure they aren’t the ones on the outside looking in, and that starts with the 15 spring practices.

The first day of practices started on a 30 degree day in early March. While the temperature may have been chilly outside, it was a warm 70 degrees in the brand-new High Performance Center.

“Day one is the most important day,” Schweigert said. “We have to do our job every day and take it one day at a time.”

Day three saw the first day of full pads, and for the football fans of the Fighting Hawks, this is an exciting time. With the addition of the HPC, March 7 is the earliest a UND football team has ever practiced in full pads.

Even with the pads cracking, Schweigert still saw room for improvement on the physical side of things.

“We’ve got to be a more physical football team,” Schweigert said. “We need to keep putting forth a great effort at that stuff.”

Schweigert also put a stress on staying healthy.

“Look at a player like Larry Fitzgerald and you know why he stays in the National Football League for so long,” Schweigert said. “He does everything off the field like a champion, and that’s who we need to be like as a team.”

Before spring break, UND held practice number four. This time around, the practice did not meet the approval of Schweigert.

“Overall, I thought it was kind of blah,” Schweigert said. “There were too many low spots, and we have to fix that.”

Coming off of spring break, Schweigert figured that his guys would be a little rusty, but he believed that all-in-all, practice No. 5 was a solid practice.

“It took us a while to get into the flow of things,” Schweigert said. “But overall, we took care of the ball, our QB-center exchanges were crisp as we got into our inside runs and team periods.”

Defensive coordinator Paul Rudolph wanted to see progress and consistency in these 15 spring practices, and at the halfway point, that is exactly what he is seeing.

“I think we have made progress the last three days,” Schmidt said. “Now it’s really important for us as a defense to get a lot of our young guys some reps so we can build on our depth.”

UND has yet to go “live” this spring but they are tentatively scheduled to do so during today’s morning session at HPC.

Hunter Plante is a sports writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]