Jacks all-in for 2011


Jacks begin new season of redemption

The SDSU football team has a chip on their shoulder entering the 2011 season. It might be because of the struggles in the memories of last year’s squad that finished 5-6 after high preseason rankings, All-Americans and expectations.

“Whether you played the game well or not, it all comes down to that record … Every time I hear that record, it makes me sick to my stomach and I feel like it’s going to be a chip on our shoulder this year,” linebacker Dirk Kool said.

Last year, SDSU’s 67 penalties ranked in the bottom tier of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. But the timing of those penalties – think an interception returned by Derek Domino called back for a penalty against Nebraska, for instance — hurt the Jacks in close games. It led to questions about the players’ level of commitment towards the team.

Commitment doesn’t seem to be an issue now, as both the coaches and players have led the team in instilling focus and developing the team’s slogan for the season: “We’re All In. Are You?” as a way to hold fellow teammates accountable.

“The coaches have done a great job of getting us to build mental toughness. Last season, we took bad penalties at bad times and the biggest thing is changing our approach as a team mentally,” defensive end Jake Steffen said.

“What happened last year marked these guys and they don’t want to be part of looking beyond this game or this play,” SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said. “Our guys will take the field tremendously prepared and will play as closely to their potential as any team we’ve ever had.”

News and Notes from Fall Media Day

The Jackrabbit football team believes in a look good, play good approach with new, sleeker-looking uniforms.

“I love them. New season, new unis and we want to play well in them, too,” wide receiver Aaron Rollin said.

The most noticeable difference in the uniforms is the mesh-looking front has been replaced by solid polyester. The word “STATE” is written above the numbers on the front and the SD logo is located in the nameplate spot on the back of the uniforms. The look continues the Jacks’  no-name tradition on the uniforms.

The home blue uniform has yellow numbers outlined in white, while the away white uniforms have blue numbers, outlined with yellow. With regards to pants, yellow and blue figure to remain as SDSU’s main choices heading into the new season.

“Their joy is my joy,” said coach John Stiegelmeier. “I didn’t care much about them and left it up to the players and if they are happy, I’m happy.

However, there was one negative to the uniforms on Media Day as the team posed for pictures.

“I think they look a little goofy right now without shoulder pads,” linebacker Dirk Kool said.

Editor’s Note: The uniforms can be seen at The Collegian’s Facebook page:  http://t.co/CG7q3ls

Growth of golf

Golf coach Jared Baszler knows that his men’s program is about to turn a corner. His belief has been strengthened by his players’ summer performances.

David Smith has qualified for the U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship later this month at Erin Hills Golf Club in Erin, Wis. It is the second time that Smith has qualified for the U.S. Amateur and his fourth USGA event. He played in the 2009 U.S. Amateur, one of 312 to make the opening field but failed to reach the final 64-player match play field. Smith also qualified for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship this year but was ousted in the third round.

Women’s golfer Katie Purcell also qualified U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and finished tied for 142nd, but the play provides promise for this upcoming season.

“We’ve got everyone coming back on the men’s side and we have the talent and the experience amongst our guys and our top three players are coming back for the women,” Baszler said. “We hope to do well and we start on the first day of school and four days later we leave for our first tournament. The mixture is there we just have to get it done.”

Aggabao settles in

New SDSU softball coach Kim Aggabao hasn’t been on the job long and is admittedly getting accustomed to her South Dakota, not San Diego setting.

“It’s was obviously a big transition but it’s gone very smoothly. I’m hitting the ground running and I’m looking forward to getting back to the students and my team and getting started with fall ball,” Aggabao said.

Aggabao was an assistant at the University of San Diego for the last seven years, where she headed up recruiting efforts and served as the team’s hitting and infield coach. She has been impressed by the quality of people in the short time she’s been here.

“I know it’s a great university and it has the support of the community and it’s just something that I’m really excited to be a part of.”