Sioux Falls, S.D. - The USF football program extended its streak of winning seasons to 25 with a 7-4 record last fall, and is back on the field for spring practice and already thinking playoffs.
The USF football team missed the playoffs last season, but showcased one of the best running backs in the country. Gabriel Watson rushed for nearly two-thousand yards and 26 touchdowns, and was a finalist for DII MVP.
"He's a great football player and he has worked hard to improve himself and find some details of his game that he can improve upon. We're being smart with his touches and his reps this spring, but we'd be crazy not to go through him with the talent that he is," USF head coach Jon Anderson said.
Watson wasn't the only Cougar to gain experience, as quarterback Caden Walters steps onto the field this spring confident in his game and teammates.
"Our team chemistry is just tremendous. I've never experienced something like this coming from a JUCO, it's kind of you me, me, me type of thing but here it's all about we and we think of our self as one collective offense," USF senior Caden Walters said.
"I think just the comfort level that he has right now with our coaching staff and his teammates, and probably most of all with the scheme is paying dividends for him. He's very comfortable, very confident in how he operates within our offense and we're seeing some great things out of him this spring," Anderson said.
USF plans to pick up the pace on offense this fall, keeping the defense on its toes.
"I play against them every day and I get to see how good they get and good they've gotten and they just keep improving. They keep adding new stuff to the offense, they keep it fresh for us. Last year we kind of got used to what we were doing but now they keep adding new stuff and we're just keeping everybody on they're toes," USF senior Tucker Stout said.
The Cougars missed the postseason for the first time in three seasons last fall, and a return trip to the playoffs starts this spring, followed by game one.
"We want to win, we want to get better. First step first is win game one, beat Concordia and that's where we got to start and after that we win game two, game three and just keep going. We want to win it all but we've got to start off winning game one against Concordia," Stout says.
Sioux Falls will conclude spring practice with its annual Spring Game, which is set for Saturday, April 27th at 3:00 at Bob Young Field.