It wasn’t the best start to the MAC season and one that Ball State was definitely not expecting, losing 23-20 to Central Michigan. Nonetheless, evaluations have been made and corrections have been set in motion to gear the team up for this weekend against Ohio.
No doubt the kicking game had some influence on the last weekend’s score, since Ball State scored four tries and converted none, while CMU scored three tries, a conversion, and two penalties to win, but Ball State Head Coach Eddie Abel said the team needs to work on more than just goalkicking.
“Last weekend, I noticed a lot of disciplinary issues and failure to adjust to the ref’s calls, something we can’t control,” Abel said. “We have got to learn to stay positive and not point fingers and be negative when things go wrong.”
Abel has a very young team to work with, and he has to manage the emotion level when things go right and when things go wrong. He is trying to create and maintain a positive environment, and is working to teach players their roles in each position – something that can keep them focused when the game gets intense.
“It’s too easy to point fingers and not take blame for something that goes wrong during a match,” Abel said. “We’ve been breaking down what each player has to do at his position and only worry about that job, not try to do too much.”
Coach Abel has been telling his players in practice that in order to win in this conference, and any game for that matter, you must be dedicated for the entire game.
“We have to play a full 80 minutes, which we didn't do last weekend, and come out ready to play a complete game,” he said. “I think we can win if we play our game and remained focused.”
Their next task is Ohio, a massive team that lost to Northern Illinois in the opener, and is going to be hungry to get one in the win column. Abel has a good scouting report on them and feels confident if his team executes, they can get a win this weekend.
“Ohio is a team with pretty good size and have always been able to use their size to their advantage,” Abel said. “We’ve been stressing body position at the break downs, protecting the ball in the rucks and tackling amongst our forwards. And in the backline, it’s been about our decision making, which we struggled with last weekend. We’ve been doing a lot of situational drills to prepare.”