2017 South Dakota Preview: Offense
What a difference a year makes in Vermillion.
Heading into the 2016 college football season, the University of South Dakota was transitioning to a new head coach and a ton of changes, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Executing Bob Nielson's up-tempo approach was quarterback Chris Streveler, who was also new to the USD family, transferring from the University of Minnesota.
In the early going last season, things fell into place quickly, as the Coyotes began the year 4-3. But down the stretch, success proved elusive, as USD lost four straight to end the year 4-7.
Now heading into year two, Streveler is looking to build on some of the high points from 2016, as he increases the number of weapons at his disposal.
Streveler, now a senior, thrived in the new system, throwing for 1,947 yards and 22 touchdowns, while running for 823 yards and nine scores. He was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2016.
Backing him up is sophomore Austin Simmons, who played in seven games last season, throwing for three scores.
The Coyotes have a big hole to fill at running back, where Trevor Bouma has moved on after being USD's most dependable back the past few seasons.
That clears the way for junior Mike Fredrick to step into the featured back role. Last season, Fredrick appeared in all 11 games, averaging more than four yards a carry and scoring twice.
Junior Paul Anderson will try to make the transition from kick returner to running back this season, while redshirt freshmen Ben Klett, Ethan Falaniko and Brandon Thull will all compete for carries.
There are no depth problems at receiver.
South Dakota returns seven of their top nine pass catchers from last season, including sophomore Trystn Ducker, seniors Alonge Brooks, Brandt Van Roekel, Aaron Ramsey and Riley Donovan, and junior Shamar Jackson, who all averaged more than ten yards per catch in 2016.
Up front, a big loss, as senior Ed Kennedy, a returning starter, will miss the season with an injury. Two other starters are back - senior Stetson Dagel and and junior Nick Jensen. Junior college transfer Cody Jennings looks to fill one of the open spots.
I talked with quarterback Chris Streveler about his confidence level heading into year two and what he expects from the Coyote offense in 2017: