Football begins second half of season
Following two months of training camp, scrimmages, and four regular season games, the Marist football team got some much-needed rest this past week. The Red Foxes used their bye week to rest and focus on their fundamentals.
"The main thing that we wanted to do [during the bye] was get healthy," head coach Jim Parady said. "We gave a lot of the guys who have been starting some rest, and also focused on all three units [offense, defense, and special teams].
Along with giving his starters minimal reps in practice throughout the week, Parady gave his team Thursday, Friday and Saturday off from practice during the bye, but held a practice Sunday night, something that the team does not normally do.
The three days off served the starters very well, and they expressed their feelings to their head coach.
"They [the starters] all said that the rest did them a lot of good. The general feedback from them, and the rest of the team, was that they felt a lot fresher, so that is great [to hear]," Parady said.
With their bodies rested and ready to go for the second half of the season, the players are excited to return to the Tenney Stadium field this Saturday, when they square off against Pioneer League rival Butler.
Parady explained that, even with the week of rest, the team has not lost its focus and has continued to work hard to prepare for the Bulldogs, who currently stand 3-0 in the conference, and 4-2 overall.
"Our guys have been very excited to get going again after the time off," Parady said. "A lot of guys have stepped by the office to make sure they get the film [on Butler]. They are anxious, in a good way, but that is very typical of this group. We [the coaching staff and I] have talked about it all season; this group really enjoys playing the game."
The Red Foxes must continue to keep their focus and intensity if they want to defeat Butler. The Bulldogs own the top-rated offense in the PFL, averaging 450.3 yards and 29.3 yards per game. Marist has held one of the top defenses in the conference this season, allowing an average of 317.6 total yards to its opponents.
With the conference's top offense facing one of the conference's top defenses, Saturday's game has the potential to be what Parady describes as "a dogfight."
"We definitely expect it to be a dogfight," Parady said. "It [Butler's offense] starts with their run game; they are dominating the conference, averaging over 185 yards per game. But if you try to load up the box against them, they can throw the ball too. They have a great combination of run and pass."
Marist's last game, a 26-14 loss to Jacksonville on September 29, featured a lackluster performance by the offense. The Red Foxes were held to a season-low 187 total yards.
Parady explained that the offense worked a lot on its vertical game during the bye, something that they struggled with against Jacksonville. He also said that focus on technique by position players has been important for preparing for Butler.
"Just a lot of little things that you don't usually get to work on during the bye week," Parady said.
Well-rested, and focused on both offense and defense, the Red Foxes will look to begin the second half of the season with victory against Butler. Kickoff is scheduled for Noon at Tenney Stadium this Saturday.
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