USD football team to open spring practice on April 1

USD football team to open spring practice on April 1
The South Dakota Football Team, which finished 9-4 and won its first playoff game in 20 years in 2006, will begin spring practice at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 1. South Dakota will have 13 practices leading up to the spring game that will be held on Friday, April 27 at 7 p.m. in the DakotaDome. The spring practices will be held at the practice fields, located east of the DakotaDome.

The Coyotes will spend the first two days of practice in helmets and jerseys only, working primarily on alignment and individual techniques. In both practices, the offense and defense come together at the end of the two-hour session for a 15-minute pass skeleton drill.

South Dakota head football coach Ed Meierkort looks forward to spring ball, although he must replace a 17-member senior class. He returns 45 letter winners and 16 starters (nine on offense, six on offense and one on special teams) from the 2006 squad.

"Our focus this spring will be to find a feature running back and to fill some spots in our defensive front," said Meierkort. "Mostly, we need to continue to build depth at various positions," said Meierkort, who has led USD to a 27-8 mark in three seasons at the school. He is 12-6 in league play. "Finding a replacement (for Harlon Hill candidate) Stefan Logan will be a challenge. He was simply one of the best ever in the NCC and at this school. We will be looking at several different candidates for running back. We have a lot of starters and backups back from our playoff team last fall. We should be physical and fast. We are looking forward to getting started again," he said.

During the past three seasons, USD has also won an NCC title (2005) and received numerous honors. The Coyotes had two finalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy (Wesley Beschorner, 2005; Stefan Logan, 2006); and three finalists for the Gene Upshaw Lineman of the Year Award (Brian Alderson, 2004, 2005; Christian Morton, 2006).

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