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UND offensive coordinator Isaac Fruechte says QB job is open competition

Mar. 15—GRAND FORKS — As the UND football program ended a spring ball practice on Thursday at the Pollard Center, Isaac Fruechte's voice was almost gone.

The new offensive coordinator has had plenty to communicate as he places his stamp on the Fighting Hawks' offense.

"Coach Fruechte has brought a great energy to practice every day," UND quarterback Trey Feeney said. "There's an intensity and a focus to get better and excel at everything, whether that's an individual drill, 7-on-7 or team.

"He's going to coach you hard, which gets the best of us. He demands an excellence and that'll help us down the road."

With record-setting quarterback Tommy Schuster leaving after the 2023 season to join Michigan State, the Fighting Hawks have a wide-open competition at quarterback for the first time in years.

Fruechte doesn't plan to name a starter any time soon.

"It has been very simple," Fruechte said. "The best player will play. They're all going to get as close to equal reps as they can. It's all about evaluation for me. I'm trying to keep it as even as we can with similar reps and see how they perform.

"Based off that, we'll have an idea going into fall camp, but I don't think we'll make any decisions until fall camp is going on. The message to them is to come out and compete and give yourself the best option at the end of the day."

UND has four quarterbacks taking snaps in spring ball: Feeney, Jerry Kaminski, Simon Romfo and Cole Hentges.

Kaminski is a young, heralded recruit out of Wisconsin, Romfo carved a role in 2023 as a running quarterback and Hentges is a first-year transfer from the University of Mary.

Feeney has the most game experience, having been able to get his feet wet in the 2023 season.

The 6-foot-3 left-hander from Moorhead played in seven games in 2023. Feeney, who threw for 36 touchdowns to one interception as a senior in high school, will be a junior in 2024.

"It's kind of a different feeling, even in workouts, when we got back from Christmas break, you look around and think, holy, time flies," Feeney said. "I'm trying to enjoy the little things. Starting practice is so exciting to be out here with the guys and just growing with them."

Feeney said he spent the offseason working on his athleticism and leadership skills.

"Physically, kind of just staying athletic and being able to run," Feeney said. "I know coach Fruechte wants to bring that in the offense. Then on the mental side, I'm reading a bunch of books and listening to podcasts, trying to find different ways to lead. Our culture is what will take us to a conference championship, which will lead us to a national championship and that's the goal."

Feeney admits spring ball has been unique without Schuster in the quarterback group.

"I remember back to when I was recruited and coming to games and Tommy was playing, then the first three falls I was here and he's the guy," Feeney said. "I'm excited for the new faces and a good, fresh start."

UND's passing game has noticably been a rollercoaster during spring ball. Fruechte said some of that is natural.

"When you add more install, it becomes a little bit of a slow blink ... they have a harder time taking it all in," Fruechte said. "It takes time, but it's all about information-gathering right now. I'm trying to see how much they can handle and then shrink it in the fall and streamline it. I want to give them all an equal chance to compete. They've done a good job retaining the information, but how do you execute when the lights are on and the full pads are on? They're learning."