Hawks Fly to the Playoffs-What Now?

After UND’s Big Sky Championship, and a 9-2 record, what do they need to do to advance in the FCS playoffs? Here are some of my quick thoughts.

 

  1. Start Strong
    1. Many times this season UND has had to come back to finish out key victories. Often times UND has played a 30 or 45 minute game and stil come out on top. The Hawks have been better as of late but will nto be able to get away with any slow starts in the playoffs.
  2. Feed Thunder and Lightning
    1. Make sure that Brady Olivera and John Santiago get at least 15 touches each. Both  running backs have proven to be effective for UND this season and both bring different strengths to the game. Santiago will make you miss while Brady will run you over.
  3. Keep the Defense on the Sidelines
    1. If the UND offense can control the ball for at least 35 minutes I believe it has a chance to go far. The UND defense has been at its best when it has had a chance to rest and rotate players in and out. If Richmond has the ball for more than 35 minutes the path will become tougher.

Three Thoughts: Men’s Hockey

 

Three thoughts going into this weekend.

  • Defense: Last weekend UND had a hard time handling rebounds. This is normally where there are no breakdowns in communication and I feel like the team could not get it together. C. Johnson had a hard time as well. He looked stiff and unfocused. Hopefully, with the loss of the UMD series, the pressure is off and they can get back to playing UND hockey.

 

  • Special Teams: Friday night (10/28), UMD had five penalties. UND had one ppg, with how good the conference is this season they have to be able to take advantage of the power play. I this also comes down to communication breakdown. They have to stop taking stupid penalties as well.

 

  • Puck handling: Many times UND had the puck and it was picked off. They had bad passes and lost the puck at the blue line a lot. This is also a breakdown in communication. UND has to get back to playing their game.

 

Following a tough loss at Duluth, last weekend the UND Fighting Hawks will be taking on the University of Minnesota, Gophers. Overall, most things could be fixed by working on communication. Maybe it was just first series on the road and the team will be able to settle back into the grove of things.

UND Football- Three Thoughts

Another week , another key win for the Fighting Hawks in their quest to make the playoffs for the first time since joining the Big Sky Conference in 2012. Here are some thoughts about the tough win against Weber State and what needs to happen to win against Northern Colorado.

  1. If there was a defensive coordinator of the year award, Eric Schmidt deserves it. The Hawk defense consistently generates turnovers and high percentage scoring chances for the offense. Last week with four takeaways is another prime example of this. Schmidt and his staff have developed standouts at every level of the defense from Tank Harris on the defensive line to Cole Reyes in the secondary. Do not forget about Taj Rich as well. This UND defense will be the reason UND makes or does not make the playoffs.
  2. Kickoff coverage needs to improve and the placekicking needs to get better. Weber had multiple long returns on short kicks. If UND wants to keep doing sky kicks it should not tip its hand like the good folks at Sioux Football Insider noted they were doing during last week’s game. line up in an even formation and sky the ball. Do not stack one side because as noted, Weber routinely had extra blockers compared to UND’s actual coverage on the kickoff side.
  3. No matter who plays quarterback look for a west coast style of quick runs and short passes against Northern Colorado. If UND can run the ball and pass with some efficiency at a 60/40 clip then they will improve from the Weber State game. It will allow them to feature all three running backs and not allow UNC to stack the box then good things can happen. If UND can play strong defense and improve slightly on offense with a measure of unpredictability, then good things can happen this Saturday in Greeley.