Jacks enter third week of spring ball



The South Dakota State University football team wrapped up its second week of spring practices with a scrimmage Saturday.

“We were blessed with a great day and our players responded — the focus was great,” Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said. “We need a number of young guys to mature faster in their role. That is what spring ball is for, so now is the time to do it.”

On offense, sophomore quarterback Austin Sumner led the Jackrabbit offense on three sustained drives in the 65- play scrimmage. The reigning Missouri Valley Football Conference Freshman of the Year, Sumner ended the day 10-of-14 passing for 112 yards.

Redshirt freshman running back Reginald Gandy also turned in an impressive performance, rushing 11 times for 97 yards with a 35-yard touchdown run.

Gandy ran behind an experienced Jackrabbit line under new leadership through the hiring of John Flynn as offensive line coach

“Overall, I thought the line did some things really well,” Flynn said. Of course, we still have a lot of work do, so the rest of our focus this spring will be to get better at what we do and to master our schemes. Our guys have really bought into this system and it is definitely starting to show.”

The Jackrabbit defense was led by end Doug Peete, who finished the afternoon with two sacks. A young secondary also showed some improvement.

“The secondary made some strides on Saturday,” defensive backs coach Jay Christensen said. “For the most part, we were where we needed to be in terms of assignments. We need to be more consistent and tackle much better, which I look forward to the remainder of spring ball to focus on.”

The Jackrabbits return 40 lettermen from a season ago, including nine offensive starters and six on defense. SDSU is scheduled to practice Monday and Wednesday before taking the rest of the week off for the Easter holiday. Practice resumes April 11.

SDSU concludes spring drills with its annual Spring Game April 21 at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. Start time is set for 3 p.m.