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Brad Elliott Schlossman, Forum Communications, Published August 27 2012

UND players give rave reviews to new turf at Alerus Center

Ross Brenneman ran onto the Alerus Center field on Sunday for practice and immediately did something he would have never considered doing a year ago.

The UND senior dove head first on the turf.

“I was pretty overjoyed,” the defensive lineman said. “So, I thought I would come out here and give it a try. And it was good.”

The UND football team practiced on the new Alerus Center turf for the first time on Sunday afternoon and it received rave reviews from the players and coaches. Athletic director Brian Faison also attended practice to check it out.

“It feels pretty good,” Brenneman said. “I noticed right away that the knees were feeling good when I walked out here. It was nice to run and cut on. I feel really quick on it. All the guys are pretty happy. It’s going to make our practice tempo a lot faster.”

The new turf also will make the skill players happy.

The previous surface usually left players with carpet burns after they were tackled on it.

UND wide receivers coach Luke Schleusner, who played at the Alerus in 2001, estimated that he got a turf burn every other week from the old surface.

“It was one of those deals where if you get tackled much, you were going to get turf burns,” Schleusner said. “The worst part about turf burns is that once you get it, it would take forever to go away. You try and cover it up and do what you can, but once you get it, it typically would rip open again and then you would be dealing with it for the whole season.”

The new surface GameDay Grass 3D. It features five layers to provide extra support.

The base is tufted construction. The second layer is multi-ply backing. The third layer is infill. The fourth layer is double nylon Root Zone, which reduces the compaction associated with other infill products. And the final layer is monofilament polyethylene, which mimics grass blades.

“Obviously, this is a beautiful facility,” Schleusner said. “Our players are going to love it. It’s going to be great for players and great for recruiting. I don’t think it will make a difference with the major injuries, but there are definitely turf burn injuries associated with the old turf.

“The new turf is an exciting thing for the program and we can’t wait to get in and play on it on Thursday.”

UND opens the season against South Dakota Mines at 7:05 p.m. Thursday.

The first practice of the week in preparation for South Dakota Mines was a good one, Brenneman said.

“I thought for our first practice of the week, it was probably one of the best since I’ve been here,” he said. “The scouts had great tempo. We had a great tempo. There was good communication on both sides. It was very crisp for a first practice heading into a game.”

And Brenneman had a good first celebratory dive on the new turf.

“If I would have done that last year,” he said, “my arms would have no skin left on them.”

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Call Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com.