It's year three of the Joe Glenn coaching era at South Dakota, and the Coyote program continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

One win in season number one.

Four wins last season.

With that evolution has come a new confidence in Vermillion.  I asked Coach Glenn about it during Media Day:

One of the key reasons for the increased optimism at USD?  An offense that seems to have a lot of the pieces in place from day one this season.

Kevin Earl starts the season as the full-time starting quarterback, after taking over in game five last year.  The offensive line has a trio of veteran players returning.  The running backs, led by last season's leading rusher Trevor Bouma, are healthy for the first time in a long time.  And, the receiving corps has some new speedy additions to go along with last season's freshman phenom, Riley Donovan:

On defense, the Coyotes are without All-American Tyler Starr, who's now playing in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons.  But USD boasts very strong front seven, keyed by linebackers Keyen Lage and Auston Johnson, who combined for 136 tackles last season.  The biggest question mark on the defense is an inexperienced secondary:

The positives for the Coyotes on both sides of the ball appear to be lost to the pre-season prognosticators,  who have only tabbed USD as high as eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference.

That has not gone unnoticed by Coach Glenn and his players:

The Coyotes open the 2014 season on the road at pre-season #4 Oregon, August 30th.