The freshly ranked No. 8 UND football team put the pads on Monday morning for practice No. 5 of fall camp. It was another perfect weather day at Memorial Stadium.
It’s the time of fall camp where guys start getting banged up and you see who’s missing valuable reps and who is fighting through it.
One guy really taking advantage of all his reps is true freshman wide receiver Izzy Adeoti. He’s really impressed with his speed, body control and hands. Coming off 2016, UND was in need of a burner to keep everyone honest. In that role, Adeoti has shown me the most so far, so we’ll see where he goes from here.
Two plays stood out Monday. One, the Pride of Grand Forks Red River — Chad Bartosh — made a leaping grab on a post route for a big gain. The walk-on wideout had a good day all-around. The second play was cornerback Hayden Blubaugh, who has been mentioned here a few times already. Blubaugh made a diving interception in team drills in which he just barely kept the ball off the turf for the pick.
After practice, I chatted with defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt and linebacker Donnell Rodgers about how the team is coming along replacing four starting linebackers from 2016.
Rodgers could have a really big year just based on how UND’s defensive scheme works. Dylan Bakker (98 tackles) and Connor O’Brien (67) did the heavy lifting a year ago and Rodgers has the skill set to match that kind of production.
The biggest question at inside linebacker is who fills out the depth behind Rodgers and Jake Disterhaupt. They’re looking at Oscar Nevermann, Jake Geier, Jake Rastas and Dijon Murray.
Geier has the high-end potential but is still adjusting to moving closer to the ball. (He’s a former safety and high school wide receiver). Rastas, meanwhile, is intriguing. The walk-on appears to have filled out nicely from his rookie season.