‘I really like our football team’: South Dakota football coach Bob Nielson will rely on team depth this season | Football

University of South Dakota football program fires majority of last year’s players The FCS playoff team and coach Bob Nielson said Tuesday the Coyotes are mostly healthy and ready to go as fall camp begins this week.

Nielson was one of six Missouri Valley Football Conference coaches to speak at the conference’s virtual media day.

“I really like our football team,” Nielson said. “We have more depth than we’ve ever had since I’ve been here at the University of South Dakota. We’ve talked since the end of the season last year through the spring and summer that we have to be ready to play our best football straight away.

Carson Camp finally had a moment to step back and understand what happened in a crazy 2021 season.

The Coyotes made their second FCS playoff appearance under the Nielson era last season. The Coyotes return to starting quarterback Carson Camp, who is a sophomore in eligibility but in his third season as a starter.

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“You consider him an experienced player now, and he has a very good understanding of our attack,” Nielson said. “He sees things he didn’t see a year ago, being able to make decisions better. We need a quarterback to be a decision-maker, and the more experience he has, I think the more it’s easy to make those decisions and make them quickly.

Camp suffered a shoulder injury last season, Camp didn’t miss a game but was injury-limited the last four games of the season, including the first-round playoff loss to Southern Illinois at home.

On the defensive side, the Coyotes lost Jack Cochrane and Elijah Reed, among others, but returned Miles Harden as top corner, who is also fully healthy after injury.

“Defensively (we have) a lot more depth in the secondary than we’ve had in the last two years,” Nielson said. “We’ve lost a few key people defensively, but I think we’re in a good position to replace those guys and continue to make the kind of progress we showed last year defensively.”

USD opens the season at Kansas State, and the part of Nielson’s squad he says has grown the most is the offensive line, including preseason All-American Alex Jensen at left tackle. The offensive line returns four starters from last year.

“I think our offensive line continues to improve,” Nielson said. “I really like this group heading into the season with four returning starters, a group that I think has improved over the past year.”

The Jackrabbits have offensive depth

Ahead of its season opener at Kinnick Stadium against Iowa in a month, South Dakota State’s football program has a strong core returning to the offensive end, but needs to put its new coaches to the same length of play. wave as the players.

Two coordinators left Brookings for head coaching positions and took another staff coach with them. One of the goals of Spring Ball was to get the coaches on the same page first.


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“That was our main goal at Spring Ball was to prepare our coaches, not our players,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said. “Obviously, you had to do both, so during the spring ball, we put our coordinators and staff in the press box, and simulated game situations.”

The semifinalist Jackrabbits lost starting running back Pierre Strong Jr. (drafted by the New England Patriots in April), but fired the majority of the team’s skill position players through the field.

As last year’s starting quarterback Chris Oladokun graduated, the Jacks return Mark Gronowski, the starting quarterback of the 2021 spring season when the Jacks made an appearance in the championship game national. Gronowski injured his knee during this championship.

The question on the offensive end comes from the offensive line, where there is some turnover from last year. Depth elsewhere gives the Jacks reason to be confident heading into Kinnick on Sept. 3.

“We need to have three offensive linemen who haven’t played a lot of football to get up to speed really quickly,” Stiegelmeier said. “We’re playing Iowa out of the chute and it’s a tough job. So we can talk about skill, but if your quarterback doesn’t have time or the running back doesn’t have blocked people.

Coaches open up on NIL developments

The NCAA allowing athletes to enjoy their name, image and likeness (NIL) has impacted the college football landscape as much as the conference realignment, and coaches at Tuesday’s virtual press conference opened up on the impacts so far.

Every coach interviewed on NIL admitted to the benefits some athletes derive from agreements signed with local businesses.

“When the NIL rule originally came out, the NDSU was completely okay with our players making money with their name, image and likeness,” the head coach said. NDSU, Matt Entz. “And we’ve had a number of players in our program who have benefited from that. And it was merit-based. We’ve had players who have been able to create additional revenue through the following they have on social media or by advertising in town for a local industry.

Most coaches shared a similar sentiment about the NIL their players received. SDSU and USD players have also seen NIL offers which have earned them some cash.

Nielson also said players being able to offer private lessons through NIL is a benefit, but higher levels of college football are abusing the system.

“There are good things about it. The idea that your guys could never give a private lesson and not get paid before this rule was passed was not a good thing,” Nielson said. “At the same time, some of the things that are happening right now, especially at the Power Five level, are not good for college football.

“I think they’ll have to be sorted out at some point to ensure that our game continues to be the kind of game we all love,” Nielson continued.

Entz also said his group lost three recruits due to NDSU not being as up-to-date on NIL as other schools. Entz and the NDSU athletic department plan to have more talks about NIL to try to keep pace, but he said the problem he sees is incentive-based deals.

“What it’s become unfortunately, across the country, and I think a lot of my coaching peers would see it, is it’s become incentive-based, and I don’t know if it was at the originally what the plan was behind,” Entz said.

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