Aug. 31—Minnesota State linebacker Jacob Daulton loved playing in Jim Glogowski's defense, but on Thursday, Daulton will be leading the Mavericks' defense as the former Minnesota State defensive coordinator makes his debut as the head coach at Sioux Falls.
"He was a great coach, and I loved playing for him," Daulton said. "But the reality is that he's not here anymore. Life is bigger than football, but I'm focused on the game. Maybe after the game, we can catch up, but it's all business before the game."
The Mavericks open the season with a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football game at Sioux Falls on Thursday. It will be Glogowski's first game as a head coach at Sioux Falls after spending seven seasons as the MSU defensive coordinator.
"It's going to be a little odd, and I haven't see some of these kids on the field since the last game we played (in the playoffs)," Glogowski said. "I got this job so quickly that I never really got to talk to the guys and say goodbye. It's still going to be weird, and I'm glad we're getting this out of the way in Week 1."
Glogowski is the sixth former assistant to Mavericks coach Todd Hoffner to become a head coach or coordinator in the Northern Sun. Mike Schmidt (head coach at Northern State), Collin Prosser (offensive coordinator at Wayne State), Spencer Capitani (defensive coordinator at Sioux Falls) all were assistants on Hoffner's staff at Minnesota State, while Curt Wiese (head coach at Minnesota Duluth) and Mark Sipple (defensive coordinator at Augustana) worked for Hoffner at Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Hoffner has become used to facing off against former assistants, but he said this game is especially tricky. While Glogowski is familiar with the Mavericks' defensive personnel, Brian Boesen, the receivers coach at Sioux Falls, was on the Minnesota State offensive staff.
"There's getting to be a big coaching tree, and there's nothing these guys want to do more that beat their former boss," Hoffner said.
Hoffner said that he's tried to make changes to the way his team communicate, given the level of knowledge the Sioux Falls' staff has about the Mavericks. Hoffner added that Sioux Falls has so many new players that it's hard to predict what the Cougars will try, offensively and defensively.
"They know our personnel, they know our schemes," Hoffner said. "That's tough to overcome, and we know very little about their personnel. But we know they still have quality players, and we'll have to execute."
The Mavericks won a share of the Northern Sun championship last season, stringing six straight victories before a loss in the region semifinals at Colorado School of Mines, which advanced to the national championship game.
Daulton is one of the few defensive starters back for the Mavericks, but he said the spring and fall practice periods went well, with leaders emerging and younger players stepping up to the challenge.
"You can carry momentum from the spring, and we came out of spring with a lot of confidence," Daulton said. "It think last year showed us what we're capable of."
The Mavericks were ranked in the top nine in both national preseason polls, which doesn't guarantee any victories but shows there are high expectations for this team. Daulton said the outside noise hasn't mattered when the team is in meetings or practice.
"Our goal is always to win a national championship," Daulton said. "But we were focused on the next meeting or the next practice or the next game. We're very athletic, and if we can be efficient, our potential is limitless."
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.