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Trojan Football ends spring practice, looks forward to 2011 season
April 19, 2011
The Dakota State University football team ended their spring practices last Saturday with an alumni game at Trojan Field. The Trojans are looking forward to an exciting season next year. DSU will be making a transition to the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) after playing their final year in the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC).
DSU Football head coach Josh Anderson is excited about the coming 2011 season. "As a staff, we have seen a greater amount of athlete-retention over the last two years, which has given us depth in all positions," said Anderson. "Because of that fact there has been an intense amount of competition during spring practices for starting positions in the fall."
In Anderson's first spring practice, the Trojans played everyone on offense and defense except the quarterbacks. Last spring, DSU's offensive and defensive line had to practice both sides of the ball due to depth and injuries. This spring, the Trojans were two-deep in all positions and three-deep in some.
"This is my third spring as the head coach and it has been a lot of fun watching our team progress over the years," stated Anderson. "Twenty-five athletes took a red-shirt during the fall and all were eager to compete for a spot on the varsity this spring. Our spring game was the first college game for just under half of our current team. It was a great experience for everybody."
The Trojan football players went through a tougher spring season. They went through the morning workouts, lifting four times a week, attending study table two times a week along with school and work schedules that can be quite grueling for those who do not have a good work ethic.
In DSU's first week of spring practice, the Trojans started at 5:30 a.m. "I am very proud of our athletes and their tenacity to move past last season and do everything we have asked them to do in order to help us improve as a team," said Anderson. "We have a great bunch of guys here at Dakota State University and we are going to add another quality recruiting class to our current high-character team."
The DSU football student-athletes were asked to get a minimum of 20 hours of community volunteer service before their spring game. Most of them got ten hours in the first semester and 10 hours in the second semester. "It is tough to get even 10 hours during the fall semester because of our demanding in-season schedule, so most of the athletes got the majority of their hours in the spring," added Anderson.
Currently, there are 55 student-athletes on our roster and we have amassed at least a minimum 1100 hours of community service back to the Madison community. "That is something new here in our football program and we are all happy to give back to the community that supports us the most," said Anderson. "It is no wonder; even with a tough season we just had, that our attendance this season increased tremendously."
The current full-time coaching staff could be the longest continuing staff ever for DSU Football. Assistant coaches Tom Nielsen, Kenny Hayes, Josh Entringer and Anderson have coached together for three springs and are headed into their third full season when the fall starts. Along with assistant coaches Mike Caniglia, Matt Storm, Don Strand, Randall Shannon, Ryan Poss and Joe Whealy, the DSU football program has a very loyal and committed staff and is the No. 1 reason our athlete-retention has increased from year-to-year.
"I do not see any changes in our coaching staff anytime soon," said Anderson. "I ask a lot of them and they do an outstanding job of coaching and recruiting each year. I could not ask for a better group of guys to build Trojan Football into the program we all want to be!"
There have been great strides to include our DSU Football alumni in the past couple years. The Trojans hold their reunion weekend and the alumni game each spring. The DSU Football program was lucky to have a lot of quality athletes of the past come back to play in the annual spring game.
"David Anderson and Jona Schmidt from the DSU Foundation have done a great job of helping us each year make this even bigger and better," added Josh Anderson. "A lot of things are going to be happening within the next couple months and we need as many alumni to participate as we can. I'm very excited to see what our alumni can do to help our program get to a competitive level and beyond."
The recent annual spring game was outstanding, according to Anderson. One of these years, the Trojans are hoping to have a spring-like weather for the spring game, but this year it was very cold and windy. Regardless, the Trojans had an outstanding and very brave crowd that came to watch the DSU Football team play.
During the Trojans' three weeks of spring practices, they competed in a couple different scrimmages with their offense and defense. "It was a great day for our coaching staff to get our athletes in a game-like situation with referees, a game clock, actually keeping score and fighting for first downs. It was as good an atmosphere as we could provide," added Anderson. "I feel we got everything out of the spring game we needed, and that was to evaluate our players. Typically, we don't rotate quarterbacks or the offensive line during a regular game, but we do in the spring game so that everybody gets a chance to play and get evaluated."
"The spring game is fun for everybody who participated," said Anderson. "I know we lost on the scoreboard to the alumni but that is not the point of the game when it's all said and done. Last year, we beat them and ended up 0-10 last fall. This year we had more depth and more guys to rotate into the game. That was the biggest emphasis of all, getting all our guys some quality reps. We will continue to play the alumni as long as they continue to show interest and I don't see that letting up anytime soon."
Dakota State will begin their 2011 season on the road on Saturday, Aug. 27. The Trojans face Midland University, No. 17 in the 2011 NAIA Football Coaches' Spring Top 25 poll released on Monday, April 18. DSU plays their first home game on Sept. 3 with in-state rival Dakota Wesleyan. The Trojans will face two additional ranked teams -- No. 14 Northwestern (Iowa) in the Trojans' homecoming game on Sept. 24 and No. 21 South Dakota School of MInes on the road on Oct. 29.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director