TheShiver.com takes you behind enemy lines to get the inside scoop from the man leading the South Dakota State Jackrabbits into Memorial Stadium this Saturday: Head Coach John Steigelmeier.
What have you been able to see from this Kansas team?
“Well we don’t see anything because all you get is some press releases. There’s no film on them obviously. You can look at some Florida film for Coach Weis, and his offense there but that’s whole different level and different type of player. Coach Campo, their defensive coordinator from the Cowboys so I don’t know if we are at a disadvantage, it might be an advantage not to put in a bunch of stuff that they might not run anyway. We are practicing basics, we’re practicing fundamental rules, and we’re going to have to coach our tails off come the end of the first quarter when we really see what they’re run both offensively and defensively—and special teams really.
On QB Austin Sumner?
“Well Austin Sumner is questionable for the game. I hate to be a downer with all these questions but he had an injury in fall camp and right now he is more out than in. He’s doing everything he can, the doctors and trainers are doing everything, but it’s very doubtful that he’s going to play. If Austin Sumner was available at full speed and healthy he’s a guy that surely can make a difference in the game and he will have that affect on a bunch of the games this year.”
“His back up Eric Kline is a pup. He’s a red-shirt freshman from Minn. who’s a true competitor but has zero experience at this level other than the spring game. I believe in him and I’m looking forward to his debut but I wish it would be at the end of a game that was in hand so he could get reps that way. So we’ll see what happens”
How can you attack the Kansas defense?
“We’ll we don’t know much about them but we project what we call an ‘under defense’. And project because of their ability versus our ability maybe more of a man-to-man defense than we have seen in the Missourin Valley. We always felt that we needed to run the ball. Not to beat your head against the wall but being able to run the ball to win any football game. We proved that last year, we threw the ball all over the place and put up a bunch of yards but we were 5-6. We’re gonna run the football. Whatever defense they are in, we’ve face every defense during fall camp cause our defense played a lot of stuff. So we will have practice against them, we just need to settle into plays. To answer your question, to run the football against their man-to-man defense we need to move our receivers because they’re going to be better athletes than we are.”
On paper this is a tough matchup, does that factor in whether to be conservative with QB Austin Sumner injury?
“It does. We talked this morning with our staff, you risk a longer loss of him if you play him too early. It’s going to be the doctors and trainers that have the best view on that, to see if he can play. If there’s not a huge risk I know the difference he can make when he’s healthy. If not, it’s not like this game gets us into the playoffs”.