(Brookings) The South Dakota State football team has a lot of experience back from last year's 5-6 team with 15 starters back.
On offense the Jacks have nine of their starters back, which include sophmore quarterback Austin Sumner, who was the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year last season. Sumner has suffered a setback in fall camp with a throwing hand injury, which could keep him out of the Jacks opener. Still, the team likes what they've seen of the former Brandon Valley high school star.
"He's really kept going and progressed in the mental side of things. We can do a lot more now with him, and throw more things at him." says head coach John Stiegelmeier.
But Sumner is part of an offense that should have a lot of weapons. That include wide reciever and running back Tyrel Kool and wide reciever Aaron Rollin.
"We have a guy who can throw it, guys who can catch it, and a number of guys who can run the football. We have an offensive line that can open up some holes." says senior offensive lineman Will Castle.
"It starts in the trenches, with those guys we can do a lot of things. Those guys are mean and ugly." says sophmore quarterback Austin Sumner.
Defensively the Jacks have six starters back lead by senior defensive back Winston Wright. They're hoping for a lot of improvement over last season.
"We are agressive and physical. We need to force more turnovers, which we didn't do enough of last season." says Wright.
"We need to win more which isn't easy to do in our league. The bottom line is we need to play better football than last year." says Stiegelmeier.
The Jackrabbits open the new season Saturday night at Kansas.