The gates of Nelson Stadium are locked for now and Carroll College football fans won’t have another game to attend until the calendar flips to October.
Fighting Saints head coach Mike Van Diest said his 1-3 football program needs to be more confident and aggressive on both sides of the ball, especially up front.
“I think it’s a mindset. I think guys just have to want to block the guy in front of them and know who they’re blocking. Sometimes, I know we’ve got a couple young players on defense, I’m sure it’s the same thing on offense, you’re half a second behind when you’re not quite sure what you’re doing,” said Van Diest.
Coach Van Diest said running the ball well is what gets the offense rolling.
“We did it the first half of the Tech game. We did it the Northern game. We've got to establish the run game. We've got to become a more physical offensive line as we go forward,” said Coach Van Diest.
“I think we’re always looking to improve the run game. I think that’s kind of what we hang our hat on is the run game and, especially as an offensive lineman, I’d much rather run the ball than pass the ball,” said senior offensive tackle Chris Emter.
On the defensive side, Coach said the Saints must improve on containing opposing offenses.
“Defensively, our nemesis is big plays. Sometimes they’re being contested. In the case at Southern Oregon, we didn’t contest four of the touchdowns and that was the discouraging part at the end of the day,” said Coach Van Diest.
Senior defensive end Alec Basterrechea said team leadership is holding players accountable for mistakes and keeping the energy level high in practice regardless of the team’s record.
“This bye week I’m really looking forward to the intensity we’re going to bring because I think every week we’re going to get more and more intense whether it’s a win or a loss. We’re going to try to up the intensity during practice and I think that’s a huge focus we’ve got to have,” said Alec Basterrechea.
Van Diest said Carroll’s overall team health should improve with no game this weekend. He also hopes his squad continues to have a good attitude.
“Some of the goals that we set early in the spring or in the summertime aren’t going to come to fruition. But we still get to play college football, still get to come out and practice, and I hope these guys will take advantage of that opportunity,” said Coach Van Diest.
The next time the Saints take the field inside Nelson Stadium will be October 7th against The College of Idaho for homecoming.