USD’s new football practice field is on pace to be completed midway through November.
Head coach Bob Nielson is excited for the new field’s artificial surface.
“The field turf–or astroturf–is different than playing on natural grass,” Neilson said. “It allows you to practice outdoors in a lot more different types of weather conditions. Right now with the natural grass surface, if it’s wet or after the ground freezes, it’s pretty difficult to practice outside.”
Corey Jenkins, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Facilities and Operations, believes the field will give the team a significant competitive advantage.
“Talking to the coaching staff, it’s going to be a big asset. It gives them the opportunity to have an indoor and an outdoor artificial surface to play on, which is the majority of the fields that they will compete on each season,” Jenkins said.
While the field is being built for the football team, Jenkins says the space will also benefit other programs.
“It provides a versatile space so that other programs could get out there, even if it’s just for conditioning work,” Jenkins said.
One of the exciting features of the field is that it will contain a small separate space for the offensive and defensive linemen to practice.
Junior defensive lineman Darin Greenfield is excited for this feature.
“The way we have practice right now, we have all of our positions on one field, and the D-line always has to go somewhere else. So that little 50-yard box will be where we have our sled and we won’t have to move it anywhere,” Greenfield said.
The new field will also feature two new towers for filming practice, which Greenfield believes will be helpful.
“We can watch film, but it’s not the greatest right now. It’s a little bit further away. It’s not as high as we’d like it to be, “Greenfield said. “But those new permanent (cameras) will be higher and more focused right down on us, so we can see better, see the footwork, footsteps, stuff like that. That’s what the coaches watch for because you build your fundamentals first and the rest comes after.”
Greenfield is also excited because the new field will be safer than the current practice field.
“It’s a great practice facility right now, but there’s little potholes and stuff all over the place and having a sense of stability wherever I’m running, I don’t have to worry about twisting an ankle or something like that. That’s going to be huge,” Greenfield said.
Nielson said the practice field is needed.
“It will be a great plus for our program and something that we desperately need,” Coach Nielson said.