The Bobcats are in the midst of a new game week after recovering mentally and physically from their first loss of the season to Texas Tech.
“We are a lot more rejuvenated,” said Isaiah Battle, junior wide receiver. “We got our legs back under us. At the same time, we got to learn a lot about our opponent. We came into this week ready to work, feeling fresh. We’re hoping to get this win, because we need it.”
Players admitted the loss was disappointing, but it did not take long to erase the game from their memory. However, Battle is using the loss as further motivation during preparation for SFA.
“(We’re) definitely (preparing for SFA) the same if not more (than Houston/Tech),” Battle said. “We know what we don’t want to happen. We have definitely learned from our mistakes from the Tech game.”
The Bobcats used the bye week as a way to get their minds back to normal. In addition, they used the time to rest and nurse injuries after two physical games. The coaching staff members have not reported any major injuries for the Bobcats. According to a Sept. 13 University Star article, starting running back Marcus Curry, who missed the Tech game, will be back against the Lumberjacks.
“Bye weeks are valuable,” Coach Dennis Franchione said. “Last year we played 12 straight. And mentally, physically and emotionally, that’s a challenge. I like the fact that we get another open date later (in the season). It does give time for players to work on academics and time for them to rest a little bit.”
The bye week also allows the Bobcats to take a look at the first two games of the season. Franchione and the coaching staff spent the time squaring away any issues concerning all team units during their film time.
“We spent (the bye week) working on us,” Franchione said. “We tried to find the things to get better at, moved some personnel around, looked at some things offensively and defensively. The focus was on units getting better, positions getting better and players getting better. We identified entities to improve and tried to work on that.”
The Bobcats are hoping to get back to running an efficient, smart and balanced offense against SFA. Both quarterbacks, senior Shaun Rutherford and junior Tyler Arndt, were listed as No. 1s on the official depth chart released this week.
Rutherford got slightly more snaps than Arndt during practice, but the rotation at running back has returned to where it was with the addition of Curry. The practice involved running plays, including the option read, which was effective against Houston.
The Bobcats’ defense faces a very similar animal this week: a pass-heavy, hurry-up offense that likes to use no huddle. The Bobcats go into the game week preparations for SFA using their experience against Houston and Texas Tech, with fresh legs and strategy.
“The couple of days we got off were to rest our minds and bodies,” senior safety Jason McLean said. “It was good to get everybody healthy again and to get ready for SFA. I think it was a good opportunity to get better in practice, and we are practicing hard.”
SFA (1-2) posted big numbers offensively in two of its games this season. The Lumberjacks scored 49 points in a win against Southwestern Oklahoma. SFA scored 35 points in another road loss to Montana State after getting shut out by SMU in Dallas.
Follow Jordan Brewer on Twitter: @jbrewer32