Year three of the Joe Glenn Era is under way. The two-time National Coach of the Year is in the midst of rebuilding a Coyote program that won just one game in 2012. Last season, the Yotes improved to 4-8, but were still picked near the bottom in this year's preseason media poll. It's no surprise the USD will go into the year with a chip on their shoulder.
"I know there's a chip on our shoulder. We have to play that way. We have got something to prove. We have got to get this program rolling. Third year, we're ready to roll and we have to back it up. We don't liked being picked 8th. The kids don't, and neither do the coaches, but let's prove it," Glenn said.
The Yotes are returning 12 starters, including one of the top quarterbacks in the conference, Kevin Earl. The junior gunslinger finished second in the Valley in passing, and is showing poise and promise since taking over as the starter. He's seen the improvement from his freshman season and knows the Yotes are moving in the right direction.
"Over the last three years we've all grown and continue to get better. The guys and the team comradery has gotten better. Overall, we just continue to climb," Earl said.
Specifically, South Dakota plans to be more athletic this season. As the college game continues to speed up, the Yotes are not missing a beat. Offensively they want to get the ball into space and let the skill players take over.
"Just trying to get as many athletes on the field as possible at the same time. We are going to try and put our best 11 out there, whoever it is. Find ways for them to get the football and get the ball out quick, and when we get chances, put the ball down field," Wesley Beschorner said.
Coach Glenn knows his offensive will take initiative to start the season strong. He is also realistic about his defense, which losy current NFL Linebacker Tyler Starr, and will have an entirely rookie secondary to start the season.
"We are going to have to lead on offensive to start the season out, and hope defense can come along and find some guys in the secondary that can gel. Hopefully by our 5th game of the season, our first conference game, we will be ready to go," Glenn Said.
The Coyotes will kick off their third week practice on Monday, and will open the year at fourth-ranked Oregon on August 30th, at Autzen Stadium. Regardless of the opponent, Coach Glenn and his Coyotes are confident going into the season.
"I have high expectations. It all starts up front. We have got five, six or seven really good football players up front who can play at this level. You have to have that. It all starts there."