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South Dakota School of Mines wide receiver Anthony Ullrich runs after catching the ball Sunday during practice at O'Harra Stadium.

South Dakota School of Mines football was supposed to have its Spring Showcase Friday, but a strong Winter storm made it so the Hardrockers would have to change around their schedules.

Coach Zach Tinker said after practice Sunday that a little adversity can make a football team better, and he's hoping Mines can finish the Spring strong.

"Our message the other day was to focus on things you can control, what you can control is your attitude, your effort, your enthusiasm and your energy, your juice level," he said. "You can't control if it rains or snows on the day, or if a guy on the other team is injured or the ref is giving you a hard time.

"That was our message the other day and I like having change to the schedule because to me, that’s how life works. Things change."

Tinker said he was happy with how his team responded in its first practice since not being able to play its Spring Showcase.

Where there was some potential for the team not to bring energy, he said he was happy with how hard both sides of the ball played Sunday.

"It’s just like a game, if something isn't going the way it’s supposed to go you better change and adjust it or you aren’t going to be successful," he said. "I thought it was good for us, we were worried about it and I thought they responded well today."

One of the biggest challenges in the offseason will be finding a replacement for quarterback Jake Sullivan, who is currently playing professionally in Germany and owns 17 school records.

On Sunday, however, it was the receivers who had the good day in battles with defensive backs during 7-on-7 drills.

It isn't clear who will step up to be the number one wide receiver after Isaiah Manley, who was an All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference first teamer last season, but Tinker said he's been happy with how his offense has been coming along with Spring wrapping up.

"When we started spring, we weren’t playing great defensively at the very start, we weren’t quite comfortable yet and then we went through a stretch where we were playing some pretty good defense," he said. "It was good for our offense because it was a recognition of what a RMAC defense looks like. Now it’s pretty dang competitive out here.

"Most of the good things we saw today weren’t necessarily about the other guys being bad it was just a good play by the guys on offense or defense."

Sunday in addition to 7-on-7 drills the team did individual skill position work and scrimmaged for the final 30 minutes of practice.

The team will practice again Tuesday morning in what Tinker called 'a controlled environment' where the team won't be full contact.

Wednesday the team will have it's Spring Showcase at 6:30 a.m. Tinker said the scrimmage will be full contact and will have a running clock in the first half, a halftime and a running clock in the second half.

Tinker said he's happy that there is enough depth to be able to make two teams for a full scrimmage.

"It’s pretty fun, the players are competitive with it and the coaches are really competitive with it and we haven’t really been able to scrimmage like that in the spring because we haven’t had the numbers," he said. "We’re at least two deep and even more in some spots so we can split the team pretty dang near in half and play. The kids love it, it feels like a real game and it’s not the offense versus the defense it’s a different dynamic."

It'll also be a good way to develop some of the assistant coaches, who will be calling plays during the scrimmage.

"I think that’s good for team building and coach development because now you have four coaches calling plays instead of the two coordinators," he said. "I think it’s good for their development as assistant coaches because they’re learning as they’re going that when you’re calling them it’s a little different than when you’re giving suggestions.

"I think that makes us a better program, if you have guys that aren’t in the feature role when it comes to play calling but they have the experience, I think it makes them stronger when that opportunity does arise for them and helping the team out still."

The football season begins Saturday Sept. 7 when Mines hosts Colorado Mesa.

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Contact Geoff Preston at geoffrey.preston@rapidcityjournal.com

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.