Well, it has been almost a full 72 hours since the clock hit all zeros on our regular season. This season has been merely a continuation of what started in 2013 with the hiring of Colby Carthel and staff, and for the first time in 20 years, we are heading back to the NCAA Division II playoffs with a conference championship in tow. I have 5 thoughts I would like to share regarding the season and even the last game we played.
- The loss Saturday stung more than the one last year. You may ask why so, mainly because I despise the fact the Lone Star Conference put us in this position two straight years and we got punished for it. It is very hard to beat an opponent twice on the road, and the fact that we got the 7th seed while MSU gets a first round bye is a total sham, and anyone with a shred of sense knows it. However, we are still in the playoffs, and we need to prove to that we are better that what have been getting ranked at the past two seasons. Stay tuned for a write up on how I would run the NCAA postseason in Division II.
- We are set to be a power in this conference and in the region for the long haul. The recruits, the booster funding, the crowds, everything we need for a long term success we have again. I may disagree with a coaching decision or two during the game, but I have this staff’s back because I know what kind of Man Colby Carthel is and what stands for and represents. He is doing everything right and I hope that he stays around here for a long time, because if he does, I believe we will be National Champions again.
- I have to say a word about Harrison Stewart. He is the QB, Captain, and leader of the offense. Two years ago, I saw a JUCO transfer from California with a great arm and great potential, and this year a I see a guy who has matured into great leader for a team. He has exceeded expectations and let’s face it, he probably had the notion that he would get to throw the ball more than he has so far this season, but Richard Cooper and Theo Wofford have shown themselves to be a super potent force running the Football and we have ran the ball a lot more than we thought we would. Harrison has played under a lot of scrutiny and handled it well with maturity. I have also enjoyed getting to know his family. Much like last year with Deric Davis and his family, getting to know these players families and helping to give their Sons the recognition they deserve is a part of what I do what I do, and I take great joy in it.
- The Defense has looked dominant at times during this season and when it comes down to bare knuckle physicality, they have been. I have enjoyed watching Cole Pitts knock the tar out of many a ball carrier and the incredible plays made by our secondary. The unit as a whole has won games by getting stops, and they put us in the position to win the game Saturday, but the ball just did not bounce our way, but when you have a great defense with an offense that clicks, that is the recipe for a team that can make a deep run.
- So yes, we drew the short straw for the playoffs. We drew the number one team in the country, but do I think we can beat the Ferris State Bulldogs? No. I KNOW we can beat the Ferris State Bulldogs because the gauntlet that we ran this year showed us we can play with anyone. We have to play in the cold, but we can perform and win on the road, and I believe with all my heart and my mind, we can knock Ferris State off, in fact I believe we can beat anyone in Division II. It is a question of will we, and that all depends upon learning lessons from the shortcomings of the past. This group committed 3 egregious errors that led to MSU being gifted 21 points. It is quite simple, if we do not make those mistakes, we win. So the focus this week should be on eliminating mistakes and being focused but not too tight. They will not have long to practice due to where they are headed, but there is a lot that can be done to bring the team together and have them know they can beat anyone in the country, and they most certainly can. Again, this question is will they eliminate the mistakes and get a chance to come back to Commerce and play a playoff game? I believe they can, but sometimes, one can only hope.