BY JEREMY HOECK
Joe Glenn has waited a long time to finally be able to start talking about Austin Simmons.
And the football coach at the University of South Dakota will admit as much.
Simmons, a 6-foot-1 quarterback from Council Bluffs, Iowa, had committed to USD last summer and then went out and put together a monster senior season.
A Gatorade Player of the Year nominee, Simmons passed for 2,066 yards, ran for 1,194 yards and combined for 46 touchdowns.
“I’m crazy about him,” Glenn said Wednesday night. “Every time I talk to him, I like him even more.”
Simmons, who completed 62 percent of his passes last season, had one game in which he combined for 610 yards.
“He’s got a focus you can’t teach or coach,” Glenn said. “He’s got the eye of the tiger.”
Simmons talked with me on Wednesday about signing with USD.
How anxious are you to be a Coyote?
“It’s definitely nice to know for sure where I’m going to be for the next four or five years. I planned on being a Coyote for a while, but you never know for sure what could happen. It’s nice to have it officially documented.”
What put you over the top in choosing USD?
“I’ve been committed since the summer, so I’ve been in contact with coach (Wes) Beschorner, so that helped a lot. I liked a lot of the other coaches I talked to at other places, but something about USD seemed pretty legit.”
What’s your impression of the program?
“It wasn’t the type of the year they’d like to have, but I think it’s on the rise. I’m just happy to be part of that. My impresison is that we’ll keep building and keep getting better, and maybe by the time I’m a junior or senior, we’ll be doing some special things.”
How about your impression of the conference (Missouri Valley) you’re coming into?
“That’s pretty tough, obviously, with North Dakota State and Illinois State playing for a national title, and Northern Iowa beating North Dakota State.”
How do you think you progressed as a senior?
“Getting older helped a lot, and just maturing and learning more and more. The big part was getting bigger physically and stronger. And a little faster.”
Is the dual threat thing something you’ve tried to work on?
“I’ve always liked to be able to run and pass, so I tried to develop both as much as I could and still be able to throw the ball. The best quarterbacks are the ones that can do both.”