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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published April 15 2014

UND holds outdoor football practice on less-than-ideal day

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota football team plays its home games indoors. The controlled climate at the Alerus Center certainly would have been nice Monday when UND held spring practice No. 9 at Memorial Stadium.

But few were complaining too loudly about the stiff north wind that produced a wind chill of 14 degrees on the Memorial Stadium turf.

“With the cold, we’re asked to deal with it,” said UND receiver Casey Young. “It was cold but it wasn’t terrible. It’s the first day I wore sleeves. Guys got used to it. It comes with North Dakota toughness and that’s what coach talks about.”

UND coach Bubba Schweigert said practice went well, despite the 26-degree temperature and the wind. It wasn’t a big deal, he said, since UND will play six of its games outdoors in 2014 – three of them in late October and November.

“There are going to be some days yet this spring and a lot of days in the fall when we’re going to have to grind through it,” said Schweigert. “It wasn’t a great day but it wasn’t bad out there, either. You have to see what you can get as far as focus and guys fighting through it.”

Young, a junior receiver from Aurora, Colo., came up with one of the two touchdowns during red zone drills.

His touchdown reception came off a deflection. Senior R.J. McGill also came up with a touchdown for the offense, while senior safety Baylee Carr picked off a pass.

Young said UND’s new offensive philosophy is starting to make sense.

“We’re finally starting to get the system going,” he said. “Guys are having a lot fewer mental errors. We’re starting to do things the right way.”

Schweigert said UND will run some live plays during Friday morning’s session. How many plays from scrimmage will be run, however, have yet to be determined.

“We have to go live at some point,” he said.

The two UND team sessions on Monday both ended with one live play.

The offense won the first situation as running back Jer Garman picked up about seven yards on a third-and-2 play.

The defense closed the practice on a sack by redshirt freshman linebacker Kyle Norberg. He tagged up on Ryan Bartels before the sophomore could get a pass off.

“It was a little up and down,” said Schweigert of the practice. “Once again, we saw some guys make plays. Offensively, I thought quarterbacks bought some time and we hadn’t seen that this spring. And we caught some balls downfield, which was good to see.

“But we had some alignment problems and we had a couple of busted assignments. This time of the spring, we’d like to be better than that.”

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor for the Grand Forks Herald and can be reached at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com