When practices begin again later this week for the UND football team in preparation for the unique 2020-21 spring season, continuity should be a benefit for the Fighting Hawks.
UND released a spring roster this week and, unlike many rosters around the country, the Fighting Hawks saw no attrition between the team's fall camp roster to the spring.
The Hawks had just two additions to the roster. UND added Minnesota State-Moorhead graduate transfer wide receiver Jake Richter, as well as junior kicker Sean Fenelon, a product of the University of Jamestown and West Fargo-Sheyenne.
UND is scheduled to start practice Friday at the High Performance Center.
"I was really proud of our guys and how they've handled adversity, all the way back to the spring," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "We've put together a really good academic semester. We've learned a lot about our guys to persevere. I'm really excited they get to be together. You're young one time in your life. College football should be such a great, fun experience."
Some FCS teams around the country, such as Montana and Montana State, have announced recently they'll opt out from this spring's FCS season.
The Missouri Valley Football Conference, meanwhile, has stated its full intention to play its league slate -- despite league member Indiana State opting out for the spring.
The move by Indiana State is expected to alter the MVFC schedule, although a new schedule hasn't been released yet.
One of the motives schools have cited in opting out for spring is a health consideration for the turnaround time between a 2021 spring and 2021 fall season.
"I understand the concern, and we have the same concern," Schweigert said. "I've always been in this belief -- whether we have a season in the fall or now back-to-back, we have responsibility as coaches to take care of the team as best we can physically.
"Are we going to have to practice differently? I truly believe that we're going to have to practice differently when we have more competitions in a shorter period of time."
Schweigert said he's leaned on the advice of friends in the Canadian Football League and how they handle a unique schedule. He said teams often shorten practices later in the year as games take a toll physically and his program will likely need to do that earlier than normal this spring.
"We're going to have to lean on our players, especially our veterans," Schweigert said. "We've got to trust them. How are you feeling? What do you think? Those are conversations that become even more important than ever. For the first time in my career, we're thinking about how you're thinking more longterm than ever before."