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Despite coaching movement, UND's Bubba Schweigert said he's excited about offensive direction

Feb. 7—GRAND FORKS — The UND football program will have a new-look offensive staff in 2024 after the departures of offensive coordinator Danny Freund and offensive line coach Joe Pawlak.

On Wednesday, Fighting Hawks head coach Bubba Schweigert, speaking for the first time to the media about the coaching moves, said he's excited about the direction of the offense.

"It's exciting when you see that you helped develop coaches other programs would like to hire," Schweigert said. "We have a guy who was here 13 years and five years ... decided to move on. We have the opportunity to bring new ideas and new people in to our program who can bring a real spark."

Freund left Grand Forks to join South Dakota State

, the two-time defending FCS national champions.

Pawlak left to join Montana

, the team the Jackrabbits beat in this year's FCS championship game.

After originally

hiring Grand Forks native Jake Landry

as offensive coordinator,

Landry left the job after less than a week to take the same role at North Dakota State

. After Landry's move, UND announced the

addition of Winona State offensive coordinator Isaac Fruechte

, who also spoke to the Grand Forks media Wednesday for the first time in person.

"There are so many exciting things going on in our program," Schweigert said. "With our facilities that are going to be improved and getting to bring new coaches in with new ideas who can improve our program ... change can be a real positive thing. I'm excited about it. I got to sit in on offensive meetings the last few days and see the new ideas and concepts that can help our football program. I think that's really exciting."

Fruechte has indicated previously there won't be wholesale changes

to UND's offensive scheme, and he went into further detail in his initial press conference.

"The most important thing is to figure out exactly what we did well as an offense, figure out what the kids already know and they try and implement what I do and what we want to do," Fruechte said. "It's looking back at what we've done in the past, trying to figure out exactly what they've done, and then just keep it the same because it has worked, right? My job is to look at it and figure out what's good, what's bad and what's maybe just a little bit of a different teaching method to try and help get the same that that the last coaches wanted out of the scheme or out of the player and then enhance it.

"We've done a lot of really good things here and have a lot of really good players here. So my job is to try and find a different avenue to make it a little bit better because they've got a good foundation in place."

UND also announced four new additions to the 2024 recruiting class during the opening of the NCAA's second signing period.

Those additions include three transfers from three different levels (FBS, NCAA Division II, NAIA) and one high school senior.

UND added Upper Iowa linebacker John Butsch, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound Cincinnati native who was all-GLVC First Team last season.

Butsch led Upper Iowa with 76 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.

Riley Gerhardt joins UND from Valley City State, where the 6-2 Valley City native played four seasons and was a First Team All-American last season.

Gerhardt racked up 375 tackles and broke school records in career tackles for loss (59.5) and sacks (37.5). He was a three-time all-conference pick.

Dan Martens joins UND from Louisville

. The 5-11 safety from Franklin, Wis., spent two seasons at Louisville.

Martens had seven tackles, one tackle for loss, a pass breakup and an interception in Louisville's 2023 Spring Game.

Running back Randle Parker is the lone prep recruit of the second signing class. The 5-9, 195-pound Phoenix native ran for 1,014 yards (9.1 yards per carry) as a senior.

"Last year, some of the best transfers in our league came from Division II," Schweigert said. "Football is football. If a guy can play and be dynamic at whatever level, I think he can contribute at a lot of levels.

"Riley has a high-motor, he's smart and loves football. John is the same way. He was a dominant player in that league. He's a really good mover. Dan has been working out with our team, and we think he'll bring a physical presence to our secondary."