SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Augustana football team went 9-2 last year and claimed the NSIC Regular Season Title, however a first round exit in the playoffs has left the Vikings hungry for 2022.
“Last year, I think we had a little bit higher expectations than where we got to and I think that definitely drives and adds to the competition out here and the motivation,” Augustana junior wide receiver Logan Uttecht said.
Augustana graduated 26 seniors last year, including three year starting quarterback, Kyle Saddler. That means the Vikings are in search of a new signal caller.
“It’s been a great competition. You know, there’s three guys, Connor Neill, Thomas Scholten and Casey Bauman right now that have all taken snaps. Each of them brings a little different things to the table,” Augustana head coach Jerry Olszewski said.
“I’m comfortable with all three of them. They’re all three playing really well through the first nine days of camp. Regardless of who steps in, we’ve got a lot of guys who have played a lot of snaps on the offense. Regardless of who’s at the wheel, we’re going to be just fine,” Uttecht said.
The Vikings return eight starters on offense and plenty of experience.
“Our quarterback doesn’t have to go win the game for us per say. I think our offensive line returns and that’s a huge piece of it. Our running backs return and that’s a good group. We’ve just got to keep them healthy. All of them have experience,” Olszewski said.
Augie also returns eight starters from last year’s defense, which was second best in the NSIC.
“As a full group of defense, we’re better than we were last year. We took some kinks in the fall that we weren’t successful at and we changed them in the spring. We really, really honed in our defense and our craft,” Augustana senior defensive back Eli Weber said.
“We just have so many younger guys on the team. They’re both hungry to be a contributor on the field, but also, we’re seeing a lot of younger guys that are also taking that next step and growing up and kind of pulling along the guys below them,” Augustana senior linebacker T.J. Liggett said.