WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published August 05, 2013, 05:35 PM

UND Football Team Holds Media Day

The University of North Dakota football team held its media day at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks on Monday. Coaches and players were available to talk to the media as the team prepares for its season opener August 29th when UND hosts Valparaiso.

By: Dan Corey, WDAZ

On Monday, the University of North Dakota football team met with members of the media at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks as part of UND's annual media day. UND is coming off a 2012 season that saw the team finish 5-6 overall, 3-5 in Big Sky play.

The squad is entering their second year in the conference and host seven home games in 2013.

Head coach Chris Mussman will not only see a new quarterback this fall, but two new assistant coordinators as well. Former UND wide receiver Luke Schleusner will take over the offense and the defense will be under Josh Kotelnicki, also the assistant head coach.

Detroit Lakes, MN. native Joe Mollberg and Ryan Bartels of Illinois are battling for the quarterback spot. Both freshman stayed and worked out in Grand Forks over the summer hoping to lead the green and white to the FCS playoffs.

Luke Schleusner, UND offensive coordinator, "That's the goal. It's the start of the year and everybody has a clean slate and our goal is to be the Big Sky champions and get into the national playoffs."

Joe Kleason, UND senior offensive lineman, "Look to NDSU, they made the playoffs and anything can happen. It takes a group of guys that really want to do it and we need to commit our time and we need to work hard everyday, can't take any days off, and we should be good."

If UND is to make the playoffs, they will need their defense to improve from 2012 where they gave up 480 yards a game.

Josh Kotelnicki, UND defensive coordinator, "It's a bunch of little things on a daily basis that will allow us to be more successful this year. Our kids understand they're job a little better, we're coaching at a little higher level, we're demanding more during practice. We have a better plan to force more turnovers and a better plan to do a better job tackling."

Baylee Carr, UND junior defensive back, "We have some guys that have experience that were here last year to let these younger guys know what they have to prepare for and what it means to be a Big Sky defense."

Cordero Finley, UND senior linebacker, "What I think we're going to prove the most is our missed assignments, with the teaching. What we worked on the most this off season is the teaching."

Despite starting a quarterback who has never taken a college snap, UND is hoping to have one of the best offenses in the conference under Schleusner.

Chris Mussman, UND head coach, "Last year, we promoted him to pass game coordinator and I was really impressed with the way he organized stuff and the attention to detail he has."

One thing Schleusner is changing with the offense is tempo.

Blair Townsend, UND senior wide receiver, "It's get the play in, get it run, and get it run right. Everyone is buying into the system we have going on and I think it's going to work out for us."

Ryan Bartels, UND freshman quarterback, "In my head, I want to put 40-plus(points) every game and I think that's what we have to do to win a game in the Big Sky. There's just to many good athletes in it. Our defense has a chip on their shoulder and if they come up make a play, get us a turnover, and the last one to score wins."

UND opens up the season August 29th when they host Valparaiso.