A Look At The Coyotes

What used to be the battle for Sitting Bull will take place this Saturday at 2pm down in Vermillion.  The Sioux and Coyotes are both sitting at 2-2 on the year.  The game will be televised on Midcontinent’s network.

USD Offense

The Coyotes come into the game averaging 28 pts/game and 360 total yds/game.  They are led by #2 QB Dante Warren, who is in his first year of starting duty after taking over for 4-year starter Noah Sheppard.  Warren is a dual-threat QB who is most dangerous when he gets out of the pocket or runs QB draws.  He has a good, accurate arm completing 62% of his passes on the year.  That is expected because their passing game revolves around 3-step and bubble screens.  They are not a vertical passing team, a la Idaho.

USD wants to get the ball out quick by throwing slants, outs, screens, etc.  They will also rollout their QB to help with protections and use his athletic ability with bootleg passes with an option to throw or run.  The top receivers this year are #19 Tom Flanagan and #17 Will Powell.  They lead the team with 19 and 18 catches, respectively.  Powell appears to be the deep threat, averaging nearly 20 yds/catch.

The Sioux defense is going to need to stop the run led by Warren and #20 RB Chris Ganious.  If they can be effective in stopping the run then that will lead to the Coyotes having to turn to their passing game, which is not what they want to do.  We can see the Sioux playing straight up at the line of scrimmage, meaning nothing exotic as far as blitzes goes, and trying to contain Warren and make him stay in the pocket and throw.  USD has another good, solid offensive line and will try to wear you down as the game goes on.  The nice thing for UND is that we have a pretty good, experienced defensive line that will match up well with them.  The defensive line and linebackers absolutely have to hold contain on boots and rollouts where Warren could potentially get outside to use his speed and playmaking ability – this is key.  You pull up the boot – you blow up the play.

The defensive backs are going to need to come up and press the receivers at the line of scrimmage in this game.  If a team wants to throw short then you need to come up and force them to turn those slants into fades, etc.  If our DB’s continue to improve and show they are going to challenge receivers the Sioux will have a good day defensively.

USD Defense

The USD defense, led by 1st year Defensive Coordinator Chuck Morrell, is a hybrid defense that shows multiple different looks.  Morrell came from Sioux Falls where he predominantly ran the 3-4 successfully during his tenure there, winning multiple national championships.  USD now gives both 4-3 looks and 3-4 looks.  Nothing really consistent in terms of alignments.  The defense is led by junior safety transfer Shane Potter, who comes courtesy of University of Minnesota Gophers.  With only one senior starter and two total seniors on the 2-deep, this is a pretty young group.

Overall this is a USD defense that the UND offense should be able to move the ball on.  They are giving up an average of 453 yards and 32 points per game.  In their 38-16 loss last week, they were outscored 31-3 in the 2nd half and wore down against an effective NDSU power running game.

UND needs to continue to have a balanced attack with the run and the pass this week.  We feel that they need to be the aggressor and stretch the field early with the passing game to open up the running game.  There is no reason that the UND running game shouldn’t accumulate 200 yards or more this week.  Sprinkle in an effective intermediate passing game and the formula for success will be sustained drives and controlling the clock to keep the USD offense and Dante Warren off the field.  This will obviously help take the sellout-crowd out of the game.


Year in and year out the Sioux seem to play their best football vs. the Coyotes.  Since the transition started 2 years ago the game has taken on more of a meaning being they are UND’s Great West rival.  The way the Sioux have looked the past few weeks has given the Sioux faithful a renewed confidence.  They blew out two teams that they should have blown out like the old days.  History has shown us that the Sioux match up best with running or dual-threat QB’s.  The drop back, prototype passing QB’s are the ones that give UND the biggest problems.  We are not seeing that this week.

If UND can survive the 1st quarter onslaught that comes with the combination of Homecoming and Dakota Days in Vermillion, along with the trick plays that Coach Meierkort seems to like to employ against UND specifically, they should be in good shape coming into the 4th quarter.  We think that whoever wins the turnover battle, wins the game.  As always, we feel this will be a one score game and will come down to the end.

UND  34

USD  30