Football practice has a new look at South Dakota State this spring, but the message stays the same.
“The semi-finals aren’t good enough anymore, we’re looking for the little things we can do to take us to the next step,” said Junior Linebacker Logan Backhus.
With record setting quarterback Taryn Christian graduated, the Jackrabbits are heading into their season not knowing who their starter will be.
With four guys competing for the job.
“The transition has been good. We’ve got four guys battling, Coach Lujan is doing a great job with evaluating every step they take, so we will be ready come the fall,” said SDSU Head Coach John Stiegelmeier.
“They just push me, because they’re all really good quarterbacks too. I want to beat them out, they want to beat me out. So we’re all just going to give it our best,” said Arizona State transfer quarterback Kurt Walding.
That’s not the only change. the Jackrabbits also having new coordinators, Jason Eck on offense while Jimmy Rogers and Brian Bergstrom share defensive coordinator responsibilities.
“I love our coordinator situation right now, and I hated to see those two guys that left. But my job is to figure out how to get better, and I think we’ve done that,” said Stiegelmeier.
“That was probably one of the best moves. I say that because Coach Eck he’s younger and comes in with different type of plays, better plays, and adding Coach Bill. all of our drills we do is game like situations,” said Sophomore Running Back Pierre Strong Junior.
Despite a young roster, several big name players return, including All-Americans Pierre Strong Junior and Cade Johnson.
“I want to improve on my size, speed of course, flexibility too,” said Strong Junior.
After falling in the F-C-S Semifinals last season, following their seventh consecutive postseason appearance, one game away from playing in Frisco isn’t good enough anymore for this team.
“We’re not rebuilding, we’re not doing anything like that, we’re just moving on, just keep going. Just like we did when Jake and Dallas left,” said Backhus.
“The expectations are really high for SDSU football, and they’re the highest in the locker room and our guys expect a lot out of themselves, but all of us can get better and need to get better and collectively I think that can help get us to Frisco, Texas,” said Stiegelmeier.
The Jackrabbits host their spring game next Saturday at 5:00 p.m. They begin their season on August 29th at the University of Minnesota.