UMD Football Team Hold First Fall Practice of 2019
The Bulldogs will open their season at home on September 5th against Minot State.
DULUTH, Minn. – The UMD football team held their first official practice for the upcoming fall season Monday at Malosky Stadium. And coming off an undefeated regular season, the Bulldogs are extra hype for 2019.
“It couldn’t have come sooner. We busted our butts all summer and I know the guys were itching to get our here. I was itching to get out here and we’re just glad it’s here. We can finally go around and play the game we love,” defensive lineman Tom Johnson said.
“This day really sets the mark for all of our upperclassmen to emerge as leaders to say “this is our team and this is our identity.” When you have 33 new guys in your football program to organize them in six hours to be able to practice. We were chaotic at times, but that’s expected in Day One,” said head coach Curt Wiese.
It’s an especially big day for junior quarterback John Larson, who is making his return to the field following an injury that cost him the last five games in 2018.
“I haven’t played some real football or participate in a whole practice in nine months or so with my injury. It felt great. I was excited mostly. A little nervous, not going to lie. It’s been a while. But just mostly excited,” Larson said.
“It’s great to see him back on the field, healthy and moving around. This is the first camp John hasn’t competed for a starting spot. He’s finally ready to take this as his football team and move forward,” said Wiese.
And on the defensive side of the ball, UMD will bring back the majority of their starters who last year ranked first in all of Division II in total yards and rushing yards allowed.
“I would say to use our experience that we had from last year and just try to replicate what we did last year. But if not, create more rips and strips and try to get the ball more with more turnovers,” Johnson said.
“I think last year we set the benchmark for what our expectation is for our defense. Those guys had a great year statistically. On the field and off the field, they were great. They were good leaders. This year, we need to attempt to match that,” said Wiese.
UMD will hold one of two intra–squad scrimmages next Thursday as they get ready to open their season September 5th at home against Minot State.