Defensive Backbone (Dan Schmeichel)
December 20, 2010 6:02 PM
Our Taco John's Athlete of the Week just finished up an incredible career at the University of Sioux Falls. Obviously Defensive Back Dan Schmeichel was upset that the Cougars lost in the NAIA Championship Game, but that one loss can't take anything away from a brilliant career.
The USF Football team has had a lot of great players over the years. After four seasons as a solid contributor on defense, you can add Dan Schmeichel to that list.
"He's talking out there all the time," said senior linebacker Dominic Studzinski. "You know, if something happens, if something goes on out there, Dan is out there talking it up, helping out with the DBs, helping out with the linebackers, whatever we need, you know."
Most seniors find a way to take on a leadership role in their final year. That was no different with Schmeichel, a defensive back from Odessa, Minnesota. But with a new coach, he took on an even bigger role, helping Jed Stugart as well as his younger teammates.
"The word that comes to mind is credibility," said Stugart. "When he talks people listen because he plays with emotion. He's got the respect of his defense and the team."
Schmeichel wasn't always a star on the Cougar defense though.
"When you come in as a young guy, you're kind of a special teamer and you've got to work your way up through the ranks," said Schmeichel.
He did that, earning all-conference honorable mention honors his sophomore and junior seasons. This year, he was on the first team, and now he's trying to get other players to follow in his footsteps.
"I kinda had to take over that leadership role and to kinda mold these young guys into some good football players," said Schmeichel.
Saturday's game was not the ideal ending for Schmeichel or his teammates. It will take a while for the team to get over the heartbreaking loss to Carroll College. But two titles in four years is still very impressive, and it's clear that Schmeichel understands how special his time in Sioux Falls has been.
"When you get to the end of your career you really kinda take a step back and you look back at the years and at the guys and the teammates and it's like, 'Wow, we've done some pretty special things around here,'" said Schmeichel.
Dan Schmeichel has been a big part of those special things. Add his name to the long list of Cougar greats.