We got our first behind-the-scenes look at spring practice, courtesy of UND.com’s FIDM team. And while it’s just a snippet of the usual spring goings on, fundamentals with a sprinkle of scrimmage footage here and there, that’s all you can ask for in March.
As we’ve done in the past, here’s a rather excessive look at the video — breaking down what you’re seeing, and then doing our best to leap to some serious conclusions.
0:10 — That’s senior wide receiver Daniel Smith (#87) breaking down the troops, leading you to believe that the veteran has taken a leadership role during the offseason. Smith’s numbers catching the ball aren’t all that impressive, but he’s a great blocker on the edge, something Kelly has talked openly about.
0:19 — Not sure who cleared the new music, but I’m liking it. And if you’re a video dork, think looks like a new HD camera as well. (7D maybe?)
0:21 — Blink and you might have missed it, but this could be our first look at the starting offensive line. From right tackle over, you can spot Christian Lombard (#74), Conor Hanratty (#65), Matt Hegarty (#77), Chris Watt (#66) and Zack Martin (#70).
0:25 — I think Louis Nix (#1) might win the award for the biggest man to ever wear the number one on his jersey.
0:28 — That’s Carlo Calabrese (#44) pushing a blocking sled. Riveting.
0:29 — And Troy Niklas (#85) works on some in-line blocking techniques. Fifteen years ago, you’d throw Niklas at left tackle and he’d be a first round draft pick. At almost 6-foot-7, and 260-pounds, he’s already benching 29 reps of 225 and doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him. Scary athlete.
0:34 — Great throw (and pretty camera work). If we’re jumping to conclusions based off of three second clips, Everett Golson sure looks comfortable as the alpha dog.
0:40 — That’s Tony Springmann (#69), the Big Ginger, working on pass rush moves in a one-on-one situation with Chris Watt. Springmann is down about 15 pounds, so we might need to modify that nickname.
0:42 — That’s Chase Hounshell (#50) working against Lombard. A shoulder injury kept Hounshell off the field for most of the season, a blessing in disguise for the now junior, who has impressed Kelly and the staff with his offseason work.
0:48 — Not sure what we see here other than great cinematography. Maybe they got Caleb Deschanel to shoot this?
0:52 — After a quick throw from Golson, watch freshman quarterback Malik Zaire (#8) take a nice mental rep, right by the head coach’s side. Smart.
1:02 — Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco gets the defense fired up. You can see some of the added weight Ben Councell (#30) put on in the offseason.
1:08 — Tony Alford coaches up running back Cam McDaniel (#33).
1:12 — A quick look at receivers coach Mike Denbrock, with CJ Prosise (#20) standing by. It’ll be an interesting spring for Prosise, who clearly has the Irish intrigued as an athlete and a football player. Prosise was dropped down to outside linebacker last fall when numbers looked bleak after Danny Spond’s injury and now is moonlighting as a wideout. That’s impressive versatility.
1:13 — Bobby D on the prowl…
1:16 — Mike Elston coaching up the defensive line. You can almost see how small Tyler Stockton (#92) is relative to Nix and others.
1:17 — Chuck Martin, likely coaching — and telling a joke — to quarterbacks Everett Golson and Tommy Rees.
1:20 — That’s Niklas catching a short out route in front of Matthias Farley (#41).
1:24 — Chris Brown (#2) gets an inside release on Josh Atkinson (#24) and beats him on a quick post.
1:30 — Justin Utupo (#53) and Sheldon Day (#91) work a pass rush drill.
1:33 — Springmann and Jarron Jones (#94) take on blocking dummies. When Jones makes Springmann (6-5.5, 284) look rather small, you start getting an idea how big these defensive linemen are.
1:38 — Freshman tight end Mike Heuerman (#9) fights off Matthias Farley for a nice catch, courtesy of Andrew Hendrix‘s pass. The youngster looks good.
1:45 — Austin Collinsworth (#28) makes a nice play breaking up a pass to George Atkinson (#4). Positive: Atkinson is going vertical in the pass game. Negative: Pass wasn’t caught. Positive: Nice coverage by Collinsworth on an elite speedster. Negative: Eh.
1:48 — Oh boy, that’s a nice look at Amir Carlisle (#3) catching the ball in the open field and turning on the jets. If this is what not-quite 100 percent looks like, look out for this fall. Here’s hoping that in year four of the offense we see a little bit more of the flexibility in the offense that’ll get Carlisle his touches.
1:55 — It’s hard to tell who made the throw, but someone overthrew DaVaris Daniels on a deep corner route and Farley makes a nice play on the ball. Not a throw you want to get used to making, but certainly an interception that’d be great to see next year.
2:07 — Cornerback KeiVarae Russell (#6) makes a nice play breaking up a pass to walk-on receiver Arturo Martinez (#86).
2:13 — Coach Kelly breaks down the team at the end of our practice video.