The Coyote football team hosted an open team scrimmage Friday night inside the DakotaDome. The scrimmage ended in a 14-14 tie. There were limited fans and students allowed at the event.
Some of the big things Coyote fans were looking at include the quarterback competition and who will fill in the holes left by last year’s graduates.
The quarterback battle
After four years of strong quarterback play by Chris Streveler and Austin Simmons, the Coyotes now have a competition between six guys.
Redshirt-freshman Hayden Ekern was the lone Coyote to eclipse 100 yards passing on the day with 156 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Tsagalis is the lone senior of the group, and he passed for 76 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an interception. Jakob Parks totaled 63 yards and Devon Moore played one drive, totaling 59 yards and a passing touchdown.
The competition is stiff, but there was a lot to like from the Coyote quarterback room Friday night. Moore on his lone drive completed all four of his passes and looked very comfortable with the offense. Ekern had the most pass attempts and was accurate throwing the ball deep down the field.
“All of them had some good (moments),” USD head coach Bob Nielson said. “There’s some things we have to get better at. Would have liked to have all six guys here but we’re dealing with all the things that we’ve got going on right now.”
The talent at receiver
Regardless of who is throwing the ball, the Coyotes have a strong group of receivers to bring in passes.
Kody Case hauled in two passes, including a 55-yard touchdown, but was injured on his second reception of the night. Carter Bell brought in three catches for 63 yards and Wesley Eliodor brought in two for 68 and a touchdown. Tight End Zach Witte also caught a touchdown pass.
Thirteen different players caught passes on the day, but none of them caught more than three.
“In that group we feel that we have four or five top end guys that are all capable of of being high level players and part of what we have to do is continue to find ways to get those guys involved,” Nielson said.
Strong Front Seven
The Coyote defensive line and linebacker groups totaled four sacks and didn’t allow a ball carrier over 40 yards.
Travis Theis totaled 37 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. to lead the running backs. Shomari Lawrence totaled six carries for 34 yards. The Coyote running back group didn’t have Senior Kai Henry, who was sidelined with an injury.
The Coyotes season kicks off Feb.19 against Western Illinois.