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Tom Miller / Forum News Service, Published March 28 2014

Schweigert coaches first spring practice at UND

GRAND FORKS – Baylee Carr is one of the experienced players on a young University of North Dakota football team, but the Hazen, N.D., native said everyone was in the same boat Friday afternoon.

“Even for the older guys, it’s new stuff,” Carr said. “No one came in feeling like a veteran, including myself.”

New UND head coach Bubba Schweigert and his staff got their first opportunity to coach on the field as the team opened spring practice at Memorial Stadium.

“I think we made progress,” said Schweigert, who was hired in late December after UND parted ways with Chris Mussman and his staff. “It’s good to get out here and get in a routine. Now, we have to get better tomorrow.”

Carr, who will be a senior safety in the fall, said there’s good morale this spring.

“There’s a lot of positive energy and a lot less distractions,” Carr said. “There’s a main focus, and I think that’s coming from the coaching staff and being on the same page.

“We’re headed in the right direction. We just have to pick it up now.”

UND was forced to push back the start of spring practice a year ago due to the weather and snow on the field. On Friday, practice temperatures hovered around 30 degrees and snow piles remained along the edges of the track that surround the artificial turf.

“It was fine out here today,” Schweigert said. “Guys were running out here in shorts.”

UND hopes to overhaul an offense from a pass-heavy operation to a team with a larger emphasis on running the ball. Defensively, the team is still running a 3-4 alignment, but even that will be tweaked.

Schweigert said the team has been open to the changes.

“I think our guys are willing to learn,” he said. “They’ve been really receptive to our teaching ideas.”

UND opens spring ball with a couple of injury issues. Freshman offensive lineman/tight end A.J. Stockwell won’t play in spring practices due to an injury, while freshman defensive lineman Garrett Cary is no longer with the team due to injury.

Spring practices continue this morning. They are open to the public.

Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald