For the past three weeks, the University of South Dakota football team has been back at practice. The goal this offseason has been simple: improvement.
Year one of the Joe Glenn project didn’t go quite as planned. Even with a one-win season, Glenn decided it isn’t time to dwell on the past.
“Last year is last year,” Glenn said. “Our record isn’t really indicative of the football team we have. We lost three games by three points. It’s tough, but we are looking to get better every single day.”
Spring practice gives the coaches the chance to see what their players have been up to all offseason, said Glenn. Luckily for Coyote fans, he said each player was working their tail off all offseason.
“The guys have been working hard. They are getting up early to lift and work on their conditioning,” Glenn said. “There isn’t much more I can ask for as a coach.”
Besides the players’ different physiques, a noticeable difference is a change in some players’ numbers, most notably junior quarterback Josh Vander Maten. Vander Maten ditched old number 16 for the more traditional QB number, 7.
Vander Maten went on to say he likes what the team has been doing this spring, as they have to adjust to the graduation of key players such as wide receiver Will Powell and running back Marcus Sims.
“We are on the right track right now, doing some good things,” Vander Maten said. “We are implementing some new things and are gelling as a team nicely right now.”
The team will head in to next season still looking for its first win in the Missouri Valley Conference. Glenn said he can already see improvement from the players on his team.
“I’m absolutely seeing progression with every practice we’ve been having,” Glenn said. “Players are getting bigger, but they are also getting smarter. Another year under this system, I think things are picking up.”
The Coyotes will show the public the improvements they are making during the annual Red-White scrimmage Saturday, April 20.