After a handful of NAIA titles the past decade (2006, 2008, 2009), the University of Sioux Falls spent this past off season preparing for their first full season as a Division II program.
To see the results of their hard work, and to gauge their progress through the off-season, the coaching staff put together a spring combine measuring gains in speed and strength.
The clip below shows their guys getting after it at the combine as well as their new indoor training facility complete with about 30 yards of field turf, and everything else they need to be competitive at the D-II level.
Ivan Maisel of ESPN sat down with the four new Pac-12 coaches recently to get their thoughts on everything from the recent playoff talk to the rise of 7 on 7 leagues, to the "win within 3 years" mentality of college athletics.
Maisel asked the panel of coaches if they planned on changing their coaching styles to adjust to the win now mentality of football programs across the country and Leach answered by comparing the win now attitude with harvesting a crop, such as corn.
"It's very difficult to gauge somebody based on one year. It's difficult to base someone on two years, I think the cycle needs to be a little longer than that."
"It would be a little bit like your a farmer, and there's a lot of this going on in the NFL right now, you know, there's a lot of farmers in the NFL right now and they throw these seeds in the ground and the corn gets to be about a foot tall and they say 'Well I don't like this corn' and so they yank it out of the ground. So all they're doing really is planting seeds. They're not really harvesting corn, they're planting the seeds."
"I think that anyone that operates with that mentality...I don't think they're going to harvest a whole lot of corn. You can go right down the line of the NFL Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame and there's a whole lot of people in there that if they were yanked out in the first three years they wouldn't be there." Leach explained.
When asked about the recent playoff talks, each coach weighed and when it came around to Jim Mora, he responded by answering, "I don't really have an opinion on it yet...seriously, I'm just worried about practice tomorrow."
The Linfield College football program hit the 9 win mark for the third consecutive season in 2011, and is looking to build on that by making spring practices as physical, yet safe, as possible, even though D-III doesn't allow pads in the spring.
The program has finished in the top 10 every season since 2009, including last season's trip into the second round of the playoffs where they eventually lost a close one to Wesley 28-35 (who eventually lost in the semi's to Mount Union 20-8)
As you can see below, the restrictions haven't stopped the Wildcats from putting in some quality work this spring up in Oregon.
That's the mission statement for Dickinson (D-III - PA) College's football program this year.
After finishing 4-6 in 2011, the coaching staff put a renewed focus on competition throughout this off-season for the Red Devils. Now they compete in everything from lifting, to sprints, to practice to drills, and even the color jersey that they wear for practice.
In his first season at Ball State, Pete Lembo saw a wide range of offensive strategies throughout the course of their schedule. They got a heavy dose of cut blocks with the triple option from Army, the spread no huddle of Oklahoma, the spread run dominated attack of Temple, and topped it off with a heavy dose of conference MACtion during the season.
“At Ball State, winning was all over the map, and also, the scheduling was all over the map. No matter what you are trying to achieve in life, you have to have a plan. You have to keep the well-being of your student-athletes in mind and continue to try and think about the goals that you have for your program, and in regards to those goals, your schedule has to be set up to help you get there.”
Lembo's plan for the 2014 schedule is to line up what he calls the "1-2-1" scheduling philosophy. That philosophy includes an FCS program, two programs comparable to Ball State, and a BCS program, to see where they measure up when all is said and done.
“You want to be able to say when you look at the schedule, absolute worst-case scenario we could be 1-3, but really 2-2 is more realistic, from a fan-base standpoint, you can't schedule yourself to 0-4 and be out of the running for a bowl game by the end of September.”