RAPID CITY. - - The South Dakota School of Mines
football program is coming off a 6-4 season and the Hardrockers led all of NCAA
Div. II football in red zone offense.
The team recorded 43 red zone attempts and successfully
converted 42 scores for a 97.7 percent red zone offense. The offense tallied 18
red zone rushing touchdowns, 18 red zone passing touchdowns and six red zone field
The team’s offensive success is credited to the hard work
and dedication of the offensive coaching staff and players. The Hardrocker
football team’s head coach and special teams coordinator is Stacy Collins. His
right hand man and the team’s offensive coordinator is Zack Tinker, who is also
responsible for coaching the quarterbacks and running backs.
Tinker’s offensive coaching staff consists of Gary Hyman,
Ken Ackerman and Eric Raisbeck. Hyman is responsible for the wide receivers,
Ackerman coaches the offensive line and Raisbeck coaches the tight ends.
A substantial component of Collins’ philosophy is practicing
situational football. Tinker and defensive coordinator Jarod Dodson have bought
into Collins’ system and made it a point of emphasis in their practice planning
“Achieving the recognition being ranked first in all of
Division II football is a point of pride for everyone involved,” said Coach
Tinker. “Ultimately, the players are the reason why we were successful. Play
calling doesn’t matter if we don’t have the right players on the field with the
ability to execute.”
The offensive coaching staff remained the same from the
first year together in 2012 making this the second year together.
“Our red zone offense was an issue a year ago. So, we put
together a plan to attack the issue at hand and placed emphasis to improve our
red zone scores,” Tinker said.
The coaching staff put a tremendous amount of time and
energy preparing for practice and into coaching the players. The goal was to
develop players in practice to take less pressure off coaching and play calling
during the game. As a result, the players were prepared, confident and composed
to perform under the pressure of the game.
“We got away from fancy play calling. We spent a lot of time
over the summer coming up with a simple system for the team to understand. By
doing so, I was able to remove myself from the situation a little more and left
the play calling in the hands of the quarterbacks. The players were so locked in
on what they were doing, it became natural,” Coach Tinker added.
The team’s main offensive players were quarterbacks Evan
Sanders and Ben Broeker; wide receivers Tim Crenshaw and Derek Graves; and the
offensive line providing the quarterbacks, tight ends, running backs and wide
receivers the opportunity to score.
The Hardrockers’ placekicker, Devon Jones, was very good.
His proficiency from within 20 yards took a lot of pressure off the play calls
and team inside the red zone. The team became more relaxed as their confidence
in Jones increased with every field goal he made.
The ‘Rockers’ are diligent at work to enhance the schools
program and build upon the 2013 season’s success.