UND football fall camp Day 2: Offensive linemen building bodies of work after injuries

·3 min read

Aug. 4—GRAND FORKS — The UND football team's spring ball featured quite a few offensive linemen in street clothes recovering from injuries.

With Thursday marking Day 2 of fall camp at Memorial Stadium, most of the lineup is back to health and that could alter the preseason depth chart.

That's because a number of UND offensive linemen haven't practiced in a long time.

Grand Forks Red River product Peyton Lotysz was one of those players back at practice after missing almost the entire 2021 season — both fall and spring. Prior to an injury at fall camp last year, Lotysz was slated as the starting center. He's now listed as the No. 2 behind freshman Danny Carroll, as the coaching staff waits to see a larger body of work from Lotysz, the son of former UND All-American Greg Lotysz.

The larger body of work is a common theme among the position group. Sam Hagen, for example, is a promising young tackle from Park River, N.D., who suffered an injury last fall at practice and didn't play during spring ball. He's now listed as the backup behind right tackle Jack Kuntz, a sophomore from Devils Lake.

Two transfers in the group — Northern State's Jake Oliphant and North Dakota State's Seth Anderson — are also looking to prove during fall camp. Oliphant sat out spring ball with an injury while Anderson practiced for the first time in Grand Forks during the spring. Neither player has cracked the starting rotation to start fall camp but both will be needed in 2022.

One transfer who was injured in the spring, Butler Community College's Brayden Bryant, has impressed enough in his limited time to be listed as the starter at left guard. Bryant has impressed coaches with his attitude, work ethic and leadership.

"We've got to create some depth there and find six, seven, eight guys there," UND offensive coordinator Danny Freund said. "That's the goal of fall camp. A lot of times, the success of the offense relies on those guys."

The scene: UND practiced from 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., during a sunny 70-degree morning at Memorial Stadium.

Play of the day: Grand Forks native Paine Parks, a true freshman inside linebacker, made an interception over the middle on a ball from Perham product Colton Hackel.

Looking good: C.J. Siegel, UND's lone proven commodity at cornerback, intercepted Quincy Vaughn when he perfectly positioned his body along the sideline to box out intended receiver Marcus Preston.

* The best thrown pass of the day went to Quincy Vaughn when he used a pump fake to open up a deep out route for wide receiver Bo Belquist, who caught the touch pass about 20 yards down the field.

* Mesabi Range transfer Red Wilson stood out for the second day in a row, catching passes underneath and using a sudden burst to make moves.

* Simon Romfo, a quarterback from Langdon-Edmore-Munich, connected with Canadian wide receiver Nate Demontagnac on a sideline pass that Demontagnac had to secure as he went to the ground.

* Garett Maag was active as he plays through his fifth fall camp at UND, looking to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2021. Maag was effective on underneath crossing routes.

* Without pads, UND didn't work much on the running game Thursday but Isaiah Smith and Luke Skokna handled most of the workload.

* Safety Malachi Buckner, a transfer from Gardner-Webb, closed quickly on a ball to wide receiver Tyler Burian. Buckner pulled up in the non-contact drill but the play had the makings of an explosive hit.

* Rookie tight end Trace Thaden of Omaha is all of his listed 6-foot-7 and 245 pounds. Thaden isn't going to be asked to do much in 2022, but he's an intriguing body type to track in the years ahead.