The rain and wind did not make for a real productive morning for USD football team during a scrimmage at the USF complex on Saturday, but you were able to pick up on a few things.
Josh Vander Maten will have a No. 7 on his jersey this year, rather than a 14. That’s one thing I picked up on, being the astute football mind that I am. Several other players, most of whom were redshirted last year, have new numbers as well. Not sure if it’s an attempt to sell more programs next season or not.
Several Coyote players look bigger than they did last fall. Keyen Lage, for instance, looked a little undersized last year on the field as a true freshman linebacker. Now he looks like a linebacker. In addition, running backs Trevor Bouma and Jordan Roberts, who came in at around 200 pounds last season as freshmen, are both genuinely large running backs now. They’re in the 215 range and both, I’m expecting, will be getting the ball next fall.
Other stuff I saw…
Chris Wiseman, like Bouma and Roberts, was one of the redshirted players last fall who coaches expect will contribute this coming season. He looked disruptive coming in from the edge. He had a sack while I was watching and another time hustled Vander Maten out of bounds for no gain on a play where he showed good speed.
Offensively, there wasn’t a ton going on. Passing in the wind and rain proved to be difficult, though Vander Maten showed some spark at times both running and passing and backup Kevin Earl showed that he’s a better runner than you might expect.
When I walked up to Joe Glenn after practiced he joked that leaving the Dome for an outdoor practice in Sioux Falls may not have been the smartest thing he’d ever done, but there were quite a few people – given the conditions – who made the trip out there to watch what was going on.
“Our defense looked way ahead of the offense today,” Glenn said. “The ball was really wet early on – it was hard to hold it, pass it, snap it and kick it. But the defense did play really well and made plays – knocked balls down at the line of scrimmage and didn’t give up big plays. I thought they played with a lot of spirit. The offense started a little slow but Vander Maten had a few plays there once we got going and made some good reads on some of the new things we’re implementing.”