Tuesday Tidbits

All the best to the teachers and students heading back to school this week: 

New SDSU director of men’s basketball operations Clint Sargent said that he and his wife, the former Jill Young, had the opportunity to play another season of pro ball in Germany. He was also considering offers in Spain and England, but turned it all down in order to return to his alma mater and get started in coaching.
Sargent said that SDSU has hired Jill, too - she’ll handle a variety of duties in the athletic department.

A good chunk of players sat out a football scrimmage Saturday mostly for precautionary reasons. But there’s more concern over senior long snapper Matt Peitz - that was obvious in the fact that SDSU activated a potential replacement, true freshman Thayer Trenhaile. Previously, he’d been attending practice in street clothes in order to get a feel for things in advance of being activated on the first day of school. 
Trenhaile is highly regarded as long-snapper prospects go, ranking 13th at that spot among incoming freshman by Kohl’s Kicking. But he’s only 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, giving up two inches and 35 pounds to Peitz.

In other football news, redshirt freshman linebacker Matt Romano (6-3, 215) is moving from linebacker to defensive end. He’s the second this fall to do so, following Kevin Klocek (6-3, 215).
Meanwhile, corner-turned-safety Dallas Brown is getting some reps at linebacker in a nickel package. 

While I was on vacation last month, Brookings High senior-to-be Thomas McMacken - son of former SDSU star Billy McMacken - went public via Twitter about giving a verbal commitment to play baseball for the Jackrabbits. 
A first baseman, Thomas helped the Brookings Bandits win their first American Legion state title in 2012. 

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Tuesday Tidbits

Welcome to a very special all-South Dakota State football media day edition of Tuesday Tidbits:

Players and coaches were instructed to change their parking habits as fencing should go up soon for the indoor practice facility construction project. But the wait won’t be long - early indications are that the building will be done next August, athletic director Justin Sell said. Previous estimates were closer to next Thanksgiving.

Still plenty of personnel considerations in play as fall camp moves into Week 2. If history is any indication, more moves will be talked about than end up coming to fruition.
Nonetheless … Coach John Stiegelmeier said that redshirt freshman Mike Shoff is making a push to potentially start on a deep and experienced offensive line; redshirt freshman Kyle Paris is battling incumbent sophomore Reggie Gandy for the No. 2 spot at running back; and Jay Carlson is on the heels of Justin Syrovatka for kicking duties.
Also, true freshman CB Freeman Simmons has received positive reviews.

Tight end Cam Jones was shut down early due to a ginger shoulder after taking a lick from safety Jake Gentile in the end zone during a brief scrimmage. Later, Jones’ replacement, Mitch Vejvoda, was drilled by safety Drew Kreutzfeldt in the middle of the field.
Kreutzfeldt was paired with juco transfer Melvin Tavares as the set of No. 2 safeties Monday. DBs coach Jay Christiansen said that he’d like to have a reliable rotation of three safeties and three CBs - four would be even better.

The colored practice jerseys are back. Your color code:
Pink symbolizes some sort of delinquency and the designation lasts a week. There were five of those Monday.
Yellow means a player is not to get hit (hard, anyway). Don’t be surprised to see as many as four offensive starters in that color going forward due to their grasp on things and to prevent injury: QB Austin Sumner, RB Zach Zenner and WRs Brandon Hubert and Jason Schneider.
Silver is new this year - it’s the opposite of the pink jersey, only for defense and ideally is retained for the length of the season. So far, LB R.C. Kilgore, safety Andrew Brown and DT Chase Douglas have earned those.

There were more potential recruits at the Monday morning practice, including Roosevelt High QB Taryn Christion and kicker Chase Vinatieri – nephew of Super Bowl hero and former SDSU kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Also, long snapper Thayer Trenhaile and receiver Case Wiarda - a couple of the school-start players - were on hand to observe.

In the quintessential camp moment, juco transfer WR Larves Jones made a nice catch against tight coverage on a ball thrown up the sideline Monday. As the players cheered, position coach Josh Davis approached and said, “Why didn’t you run a fade?”
And that is why it’s hard - and probably unwise - to read too much into what happens at fall practice.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

What are the odds?


Now that Nate Wolters has signed with the Milwaukee Bucks, South Dakota State boasts former players that are active in the NBA (Wolters), MLB (Twins pitcher Caleb Thielbar) and NFL (Panthers WR Dale Moss, Cowboys TE Colin Cochart, Colts K Adam Vinatieri). That’s a first in school history. It also figures to be fairly rare nationally.

My first instinct was to see how many other colleges are in the same boast right now, having reps in each of the major American pro sports league that they sponsor. (The Jacks don’t have varsity hockey, only club.) But if such a list exists, the Google machines is unaware of it.

So let’s slice this another way.

In 2012, the NCAA put out a list on the pro probabilities in several sports, including those relevant to this post.  

The odds of going from college to the pros in baseball: 11.6 percent. However, that number is based on how many players get drafted by MLB organizations - making it to the bigs is considerably harder.

Likewise, the football odds pertain to get drafted by an NFL team as a senior in college. Those are at 1.7 percent. That doesn’t specifically apply in this case because Cochart, Moss and Vinatieri were not drafted. Then again, that might decrease their odds of making it.

Hoops has the most difficult road due to small roster size. The odds of getting drafted by an NBA team when done with college: 1.2 percent. This methodology most applies to the Wolters situation as he was both an outgoing senior and a draft pick. 

As for bringing together all of that information to formulate the odds of a school – still in its first decade at the NCAA Division I level - playing a part each of those long shots? I’m not a major math, but common sense tells me the collective number has to be smaller - maybe significantly so - than any of the individual odds. Right? 

Go ahead and tuck this away in the (growing) This May Never Happen Again Folder. Oh, and put a copy in the Things Can Change Quickly Pile because it’s hard to stick in the bigs. Based solely on odds and player ages, SDSU is at least as likely to have fewer top-level pros then more at this time next year. 

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Web expansion

In April, the South Dakota State athletic department inked a three-year contract to keep NeuLion as its Web host. But there will be changes - already have been, in fact.

For starters, TheJackrabbitWay.com was created as a way to get in line with something other NCAA Division I schools like Nebraska are doing. It’s a recruiting-based site, a way to give prospective student-athletes and their parents an inside look at the teams within the department. The men’s basketball page, for example, has a video showing highlights, samples of national exposure and coach Scott Nagy talking about the things the program values. Eventually, all 21 varsity programs will have their own pages with information about facilities, conferences and support services. 

"The coaches can put their own unique spin on it," senior associate athletic director Leon Costello said.

There’s also an iPad app on the way, an extension of the previously established iPhone app. The GoJacks.com site will be redesigned later this summer. And a new adaptive streaming feature should improve future Web video broadcasts, pushing quality near high definition. Previously, SDSU used the web to launch a new site aimed at boosting donations for the forthcoming indoor practice facility. 

Don’t be surprised to see these types of broad changes or minor tweaks every couple of years; it’s part of the contract and the way things are going in technology and college sports.

SDSU is the largest university in its home state and gained relatively large amounts of national exposure in the last year due to Division I tournament berths in football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. It invests considerable time, effort and money into making sure people - recruits and fans - are aware of the product. But there’s no way to reach everybody, and there’s no way to know who might be interested. Some percentage of the people have to come to you.

That’s where the Web comes in. It’s there all the time … just in case.

"You hate to say it, but a lot of what we’re really doing is trying to sell the program," Costello said. "What this does is put out a positive image of what our programs are and what our department is. I think we try to improve on some of those services we can provide. It’s selling, but it’s also ver informative."

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Elite company

Here’s a left-field angle on the upcoming South Dakota State vs. Oregon baseball game: A matchup of two of the most successful athletic departments in NCAA Division I.


Sort of. It turns out that only 11 D-I schools qualified their three marquee men’s teams - football, basketball and baseball - for the NCAA postseason. And the Jacks and Ducks both made the list.

Oregon is no surprise given its location (Tracktown USA), ties to Nike and general cool factor. But SDSU is in its ninth year at the D-I level and based in a small town on the edge of the last state to jump into major-college sports.

The Jacks are one of two on the list from outside the power leagues and the lone I-AA reps. (Quick aside: It’s hard to find out how many I-AA schools have ever pulled this trifecta, but it’s not unprecedented - Georgia Southern did it in 1986-87). They’re also, by far, the most financially efficient. 

The reported 2011-12 athletic expenses from each of the schools as reported by USA Today

Florida: $105.1M
Oklahoma State: $96.8M
Oklahoma: $96.3M
Oregon: $89.7M
Louisville: $84.1M
UCLA: $71.7M
North Carolina State: $56.3M
Ole Miss: $51.7M
Kansas State: $51.0M
San Diego State: $39.0M
South Dakota State: $14.1M

To reiterate: The Jacks aren’t on par with these programs. But they’re faring well in a variety of visible sports and getting plenty of bang for the buck. This is a unique accomplishment whether it’s the start of a run or a one-time thing.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Too Much TV: Herbster

Now that David Herbster is - officially - sitting in the athletic director chair at the University of South Dakota, he gets to deal with all sorts of questions about college sports in general.

That’s what we do this week on Too Much TV: Ask Herbster about the conference shuffle, the prospect of Big Ten schools avoiding Football Championship Subdivision games and his view for the future in Vermillion.

Here’s the link. And another.

Also, stop back at 4 p.m. Thursday - note the time change - for the weekly live chat. 

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Live chat 9/13

The weekly live chat has found its gait again after a long summer break, and is rolling right along. Here’s a link to the replay.

If you liked that, you’ll love the Saturday game chat. That’s where I give you up-to-the-snap coverage of South Dakota State football games. This week, the Jacks open the home portion of the schedule against UC Davis. I’ll be up and running by 1:30 p.m.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Tuesday Tidbits

School started in Sioux Falls on Monday. Just thought you should know that:

SDSU has finalized several hires in the past two weeks. Among them:
Ed Posaski is the new associate AD for budget and finance. He comes from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and has also worked at Radford, William & Mary, Western Carolina and Morehead State.
Jason Holtz is the new facilities manager. He had been in the same position at Fresno State since earning his master’s degree from Gonzaga.
Meanwhile, Laurie Johnston - wife of women’s basketball coach Aaron Johnston – has stepped down as associate AD for academics in order to spend more time at home. (The couple is expecting a second child.) She’ll be replaced on a one-year interim basis by two people: Ashley Joachim and Jennie Sell. Joachim had been working elsewhere at the school, while Sell – the wife of AD Justin Sell – held a similar position at Northern Iowa.

As I wrote in the Sunday edition, the SDSU staff is thrilled to have Seth Daughters back and healthy. But he’s not the only promising player at tight end. Redshirt freshman Cam Jones (6-5, 245) has the potential - potential - to be as good or better than Daughters, Chris Wagner or Colin Cochart, according to position coach Shannon Moore. A former high school quarterback, Jones will be used in multiple capacities this year and benefited greatly from the extra reps that became available when Daughters got hurt.

A couple additional notes about the Summit League inking a deal to put 20 basketball games on Fox College Sports:
Conference media relations director David Brauer said it’s a one-year contract, but FCS holds an option for a second year and has an exclusive negotiating window.
The specific games were mutually agreed upon by the conference, Midco and FCS. The league wanted to ensure that every team be featured at least once.
This package combined with the new weekly show on Midco Sports Net is the largest TV package the league has ever had. And it was important enough for the Summit to purchase camera equipment and accessories for all nine member schools, as they’ll provide some of the content.
The weekly show debuts this week at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Midco Sports Net and at 5:30 p.m. Thursday on FCS. It’ll also be available on the league web site after those airings.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference has decided to move its weekly coaches teleconference to Tuesday mornings after long holding them on Wednesday mornings. I bring that up because it’ll mean a slight change to my blogging pattern beginning next week. Didn’t want you to be alarmed.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Tuesday Tidbits

Last one for July. Yuck:

Tickets for the first SDSU vs. USD football game since 2003 – along with all Jacks home games – go on sale to the general public Wednesday. SDSU ticket manager Christi Williams said that about 1,000 reserved tickets are available along with an unlimited number of standing-room only tickets.

SDSU point guard Nate Wolters leaves Thursday for his second elite camp experience of the summer: the adidas Nations Global tournament in Los Angeles. Along with roughly 30 other current college standouts, the senior will serve as a counselor to prep stars from around the world.
Previously, the 6-foot-4 Wolters attended the Kevin Durant Skills Academy.

A team from Norway attended a women’s soccer camp put on by SDSU last week. The club came to the States to play in the USA Cup and were being hosted by a Dakota Alliance, according to Jacks assistant Brock Thompson. They added the camp to their itinerary as a way to soak in some of the college soccer scene.

Dell Rapids senior linebacker Cole Langer said that he has scholarship offers from SDSU and USD. Those are his only NCAA Division I offers so far, although he did attend individual camps at Nebraska and Minnesota.
Langer is the son of former SDSU baseball player Tracy Langer and the grandson of former SDSU baseball and football player Jim Langer, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He said that he grew up rooting for the Jacks, but that family ties won’t impact his decision.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

Tuesday Tidbits

Is it really almost August? Yikes. I’m OK with that as long as the weather remains summery:

South Dakota State men’s basketball coach Scott Nagy has had more access to his players than usual this summer thanks to a new NCAA Division I rule. What has he seen so far?
"Our older kids have all made big jumps. Taevaunn (Prince) has just made a huge jump and looks like one of our main guys. I feel like Nate (Wolters) has gotten better, Brayden (Carlson) and Chad (White). And Marcus (Heemstra), too. That makes it really tough on the young guys. … This might be our most veteran team I’ve ever had, quite frankly, in terms of the minutes these kids have played and how long they’ve been here."

And how is the men’s basketball schedule coming along?
"We thought we were done and a team backed out. And we were hoping to pick up Kansas and they picked up somebody else. We’re waiting on another high-major team."

Men’s hoops III: The Dakota Schoolers, a Sioux Falls-based program that housed a bunch of current Jacks, will be hosting an NCAA-certified event at Tea Area High School on Saturday and Sunday. At least two players who have been offered by SDSU, Lane Severyn of Pierre and Skyler Flaaten of Clark/Willow Lake, are expected to play in the tournament.

First-year Jacks coach Chris Bono said that 12-16 wrestlers have been attending voluntary workouts this summer. Bono also noted that he’s done looking for late additions and has moved on to recruiting for 2013.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.

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