SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — USF Football is coming off another winning season, but the Cougars narrowly missed out on a playoff spot last fall, and that’s provided them with some lessons as they conclude spring practice this week.

USF won the NSIC South Division title last fall, but that wasn’t enough to get the Cougars into the Division 2 playoffs.

“You know 8-3 got us in a couple years ago, 8-3 got us out last year. So the margin of error is pretty slim there, so that’s the lesson we’re trying to impart on these guys is that everything matters. Every rep, every alignment, every step,” Head Coach Jon Anderson said.

USF returns a loaded running back room with all conference running backs Thuro Reisdorfer and Landon Freeman in the fold. Adam Mullen is back under center, as our 4 of their 5 starting offensive lineman, but the Cougars did lose their top two receivers.

“There’s so much talent in the receiving room. It’s just a lot of those guys haven’t had the opportunities to shine as of yet, because like you said, we had some really explosive receivers in the past that we’re trying to replace and will replace,” Cody Jantzen said.

The defense will have the replace three first team all-conference honorees in Joe Wehrkamp, Dorian Fredrick and Harvey Enalls.

“A lot of people would consider Harvey Enalls the heart of our defense last year, just as leadership and the way he impacted everyone on the field. So there’s definitely a lot of guys trying to step up in that role. Me, myself, I’m trying to put myself into more of a leadership role than past seasons,” Jantzen said.

“Guys need to step up and we’ve been successful doing that year in and year out and that provides opportunities for guys this year so. This roster is chalked full of guys ready to make a name for themselves,” Anderson said.

So far it’s been a productive spring.

“This program is definitely prided on defense for sure. They come day in and day out and work. Just like it says on that door over there, iron sharpens iron, same as always, iron’s on the other side sharpening the iron on our side,” Thuro Reisdorfer said.

“The guys that are going to play are here. How much are they going to learn, how are they going to position themselves and we’re going to continue to compete,” Anderson said.

USF will conclude its spring practices with its annual Spring Game Saturday at 2:00.