Day by Day: UND Football tuning up as Fall season approaches
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The UND Fighting Hawks competing in their only live scrimmage of their fall camp, bringing the competitive energy as they approach their season opener.
“I think everyone was excited.” said fifth-year senior Jaxson Turner”, We haven’t had that long of a break since our season. But for some guys that was probably their first live action in a while. I think they were excited to prove themselves.”
After taking FCS Football by storm in the Spring, the Hawks now look to follow up that success in the fall... this time looking to defend their Missouri Valley Football Conference Crown.
“Being able to perform the way we did showed people everywhere that we’re great competitors and we’re not afraid of anyone. We’ll come compete wherever we’re playing at.” said preseason All-American Offensive Tackle Matt Waletzko
“Everyone else can say whatever they want about us. The Target, everything like that.” Turner said, “We just worry about us and our first road game and getting a win.”
Defensively the Hawks are bringing back a lot of familiar faces. Of their 11 players, 8 will be returning starters for last year.
“It’s always good to have guys that have played together and have played in big games, and have experience. I think that will be good.” said Turner
Defensive Coordinator Brett Holinka talked about his players’ progression through camp, saying that “Right now we’re just very excited about how far we’ve come. I think our guys understand that every day is a new day and we’ve got to get better every single day.”
On the offensive side of the ball, it’s a bit of a different story. While playmakers Otis Weah and Tommy Schuster will be returning in their roles, it all starts up front. The Offensive Line will see three new faces this season and coaches say they are still shuffling guys around to find the right fit. But these young players are adjusting to the challenge as they prepare for the start of the season.
“I feel great about where our team is gelling right now and the chemistry that our team is working towards.” Waletzko said, “It’s just that day by day mindset that coach was talking about earlier. Just keep working day by day to get better and better.”
Offensive Coordinator Danny Fruend said of his young team: “There is some experience coming back but at the same time we’re a really young unit. There’s not a lot of seniors on the depth chart if you look at it. So we’re just trying to get better day by day, as our shirts say right?”
The Fighting Hawks open their season on September 4th against Idaho St.
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