Coyotes Draw Top Five Ducks in 2014 Opener
It doesn't get much tougher than the week one test for the South Dakota Coyotes to start the 2014 season.
USD will play at Oregon Saturday night. The Ducks are a solid top-five pre-season pick in the national polls, after an 11-win season last year.
The Coyotes notched four victories in 2013, a far cry from the one win they posted just two years ago.
This year, with a host of players back in key positions on both sides of the ball, South Dakota is hoping to surprise the pundits who tabbed them for an eighth place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference.
As fall camp transitions into game week, head coach Joe Glenn told me he likes what he's seen from his team so far:
The biggest change offensively for USD comes at the quarterback spot, where junior Kevin Earl is the starter from day one this season.
Earl didn't take over as the starter until week five last season, but still managed to throw for nearly 2,000 yards:
On special teams, Miles Bergner is back after an up-and-down freshman season punting and kicking the ball.
One of the biggest areas of concern for the special teams in 2013 was the lack of consistency from the long snappers, something Coach Glenn says has been a point of emphasis in fall camp:
This week's opener comes on the home field of the top five Oregon Ducks.
The Pac 12 team features pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota, who threw for 3,665 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, all while being picked off just four times.
Needless to say, this isn't like any other team the Coyotes have prepared for:
As Coach Glenn enters his third season at his alma mater, he knows this year's team will be his best group yet in Vermillion. What that translates into as far as wins and losses is still anybody's guess:
Kickoff in Eugene, Oregon is 9:30pm CDT Saturday.