SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Augustana went 9-3 in 2019, qualifying for the Division 2 playoffs for the first time since 2015. The Vikings weren’t given the chance to play last year, but return plenty from that playoff team and will look to make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time under Head Coach Jerry Olszewski.
Practicing with a game on the horizon has been a welcomed sight for Augustana football.
“Through this whole process there’s been an attitude of gratitude amongst our players and some patience, and also some hunger,” Head Coach Jerry Olszewski said.
What the Vikings return on offense brings plenty of excitement, with the NSIC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Kyle Saddler, returning at Quarterback.
“Efficiency and consistency. You know there’s not a defense Kyle hasn’t seen. There’s not many looks he hasn’t gone through already. Now it’s just being the consistent player he’s capable of being,” Olszewski said.
Having starting experience at every position along the offensive line helps too.
“It all starts up front. Those guys are great, they work their tails off. I can’t appreciate them more. That’s a credit to Coach Bear too,” Quarterback Kyle Saddler said.
The Vikings return playmakers across all three levels from a defense that held opponents to less than 15 points per game in 2019, and it’s depth in the trenches could make it even more dominant.
“To have two to three, to four quality interior guys is good, we believe we have five or six right now that can get into the rotation led by Logan Swanson, who’s an All-American, and going to be a great player for us and everything else. But we got great depth behind Logan and around Logan as well as the defensive end. We believe we can go five deep, maybe even six deep at that position as well,” Olszewski said.
The Vikings will open their season at home next Saturday, and while it’ll be a return to normal, it’ll surely feel different than years past.
“It’s going to be super exciting for not only for us, but for the fans, and I’ve already heard the parents talking about how they just want football back already. It’s going to be really exciting to have everybody out here at K-O for a great opportunity,” Saddler said.
Augustana hosts Minot State for its season opener on September 4th. Kickoff for that game is set for 1:00.