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UND football coaching staff juggles duties as spring ball begins

University of North Dakota head coach Bubba Schweigert addresses the football team following a spring practice session at the High Performance Center on Friday morning, March 2. Nick Nelson / Forum News Service1 / 4
University of North Dakota spring football training for the upcoming season began Friday, March 2, 2018, at the High Performance Center in Grand Forks. Nick Nelson / Forum News Service2 / 4
University of North Dakota running backs assistant coach Malcolm Agnew talks to UND football players Brady Oliveira (5), John Santiago (22), Teddy Sherva (21) and James Johannesson (33) during a post-spring practice session stretch Friday morning at the High Performance Center. Nick Nelson / Forum News Service3 / 4
University of North Dakota head football coach Bubba Schweigert addresses players following a spring practice session at the UND High Performance Center on Friday morning. Nick Nelson / Forum News Service4 / 4

GRAND FORKS—University of North Dakota football coach Bubba Schweigert has a little more freedom at practice now.

The fourth-year coach opened spring ball at the High Performance Center on Friday morning, March 2, with a little coaching staff shakeup, a move centered on his own duties.

Schweigert has decided to no longer coach a position group. He had previously coached UND's cornerbacks since he was hired back to Grand Forks from Southern Illinois in 2014.

Schweigert said the move was made so he could spend more time monitoring both the offense and the defense during practice.

"I tried to get on the offensive end, but it's hard when you coach a position," Schweigert said.

The benefit of coaching a position group, Schweigert said, was to be able to relate to the challenges and know what his assistants were going through on a daily basis.

"But I felt we had enough guys on this staff that we could better utilize our staff," Schweigert said.

Schweigert's move triggered a domino effect of changes for the defensive coaching staff.

Travis Stepps has moved from coaching safeties to cornerbacks.

Joel Schwenzfeier has moved from coaching outside linebackers to safeties.

Defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt has moved from inside linebackers to outside linebackers. Carl Reinholz takes over the inside linebackers.

These coaching tweaks also make sense considering Stepps was an NCAA Division II All-American corner at Pittsburg State, Schwenzfeier was a UND safety and Schmidt was a UND outside linebacker.

The Fighting Hawks, coming off a disappointing, injury-riddled 3-8 season, will hold practice No. 2 at 9:15 a.m. Saturday, March 3, at the HPC. Practices are open to the public.

Spring ball will include 15 practices and wrap up April 13.

"We're always looking for a lot of energy and looking for guys to have a competitive spirit," Schweigert said. "I thought we saw it out there. We have a lot of jobs out there to be earned.

"We're looking for guys who are hungry. We made it quite clear that all jobs are open. Nobody should be comfortable in our program. We want guys who always want to get better."

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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