The University of South Dakota is fully entrenched as a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
After a tough 34-31 loss last Saturday against Illinois State, the Coyotes now have a taste of in-conference competition.
The Coyotes have a less than comforting 1-3 record on the season and some weaknesses have been exposed.
Offensively, the Coyotes DNA has been running the ball, and other then the Northwestern game they have done this very effectively.
Coach Joe Glenn has preached smarts and toughness from his offensive line and this has helped pave the way for senior running back Marcus Sims and sophomore quarterback Josh Vander Maten.
This part of their offense already looks reliable and could be the staple for all Glenn led offenses to come.
The defense has been in flux all season and has looked flat-footed at times. The team’s transition to defensive coordinator Jason Petrino’s defense has been a work in progress and looks to be gaining more consistency.
Junior Tyler Starr continues to cause ruckus in other team’s backfields with two sacks on the young season. Senior captain and middle linebacker Tim Marlette has done his part for the defense with team high 39 tackles.
The Coyotes have struggled on stopping the run has been well documented, as they average over 200 yards allowed per game on the ground. The defensive line is still looking for people that can push the line and take up double teams allowing the linebackers to roam around the field.
Their lack of size up front has also been exposed and Glenn has hinted at their inexperience for being a key factor.
The football team will be showcasing what they have been working on this week as they take on Western Illinois for Dakota Days. Western Illinois is 2-2 on the season and coming off a bye week.
They also rely heavily on their run game so it will be interesting to see if the Coyotes can patch up their most glaring weakness.
Dakota Days should be a fun time for the team, coaches, fans and alumni, and allow everyone to step back and notice Coach Glenn and Co. are setting the foundation this year for many years of future success.