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Wayne Nelson / Forum Communications Co., Published April 20 2012

UND offensive, defensive line play draws attention

GRAND FORKS – Before today’s annual University of North Dakota Green-White spring game, there will be a lot of beef on display outside the Alerus Center. The North Dakota Tailgate Sioux-Per Party will include plenty of beef – ribs and burgers – for fans to enjoy.

Later, there will be plenty of beef on display inside as the Sioux will play the Divide and Conquer spring game.

The inside beef refers to the Sioux offensive and defensive lines – two areas that will draw the watchful eye of UND coaches as the program conducts its last session of the spring season.

Particularly, the Sioux offensive line may draw the most scrutiny, as it has been an area of concern during the spring.

The absence of injured starters Emmett Lynch and Joe Kleason has left the line short on depth but also has provided an opportunity for younger linemen to make their marks as UND prepares for its first season in the Big Sky Conference.

“It starts with the guys up front, on both sides of the ball,” UND coach Chris Mussman said. “As we split up the offensive and defensive lines, there will be times when we’ll be extremely young on both sides, so that could create some exciting plays.”

But UND’s offensive line play during the last week has progressed.

“Monday was our best practice of spring ball,” Mussman said. “You could tell we made a step forward, particularly in pass protection.”

Offensive lineman Brandon Anderson, a 6-foot-6, 293-pound redshirt freshman from Sartell, Minn., has made big strides during spring ball, Mussman said.

The defensive line will be anchored by senior Ross Brenneman, one of the program’s top players. And the Sioux defense has had the upper hand during most of the spring practices.

Nelson is the sports editor for the Grand Forks Herald