Column: Beavers can’t dwell on losses
I’d be a terrible football player.
I’d be a terrible football player.
Never mind the fact that I can’t run, I have a poor arm and I’m afraid of conflict.
I couldn’t handle it mentally.
I’m the type of person that obsesses over mistakes. If there’s a typo in the paper, I beat myself up.
But that’s the thing about my industry: Even if I make a mistake, the slate (mostly) is wiped clean each day. There’s a new edition of the paper and I don’t have to dwell on one bad article for too long.
Football players don’t get that quick fix. One bad game on a Saturday and they have to wait a whole week to make things right. And this, of course, is only after a brutal week of practice.
The Bemidji State football team finds itself in just such a scenario.
The Beavers are 1-2 following back-to-back losses to Minnesota State Mankato and Wayne State. Losses in which mental mistakes – namely turnovers – sank their chances to win.
Luckily, the Beavers seem to know that dwelling on those errors won’t do them much good.
“We’ve still got quite a few games,” senior wide receiver Justin Lee said following BSU’s 20-17 loss to Wayne State. “We can’t worry about records at this point. We just need to worry about beating Sioux Falls (Saturday), about playing a great football game against a good football team.”
Sioux Falls is undefeated at 3-0 and has looked good getting there. The Cougars got their marquee win in week one, going to St. Cloud and upsetting nationally ranked St. Cloud State.
The Beavers, meanwhile, have struggled in the first three games.
BSU beat Upper Iowa but needed a comeback to do so.
Against MSU Mankato, three fumbles in the first 12 minutes of the game put the Mavs ahead 17-0 and it was all but over.
And in last week’s game the Beavers dominated almost every statistical category but turned the ball over five times, including twice in the final quarter.
Bemidji State’s turnover margin, as it stands now, is minus-9 – tied for worst in the NSIC.
Those turnovers are the big reason why the Beavers are 1-2 instead of 2-1.
And unless someone finally invents a time machine in the near future, BSU’s record will not change.
What can be changed is how the Beavers handle adversity in the coming weeks. Holding on to the ball this weekend will be key, but responding if a mistake is made might be even more important.
That, according to BSU quarterback Lance Rongstad, is something they didn’t do against MSU or Wayne State.
“It’s just one or two things that kept us out of the end zone on each possession,” Rongstad said. “That’s the stuff we’ve got to clean up, and I’ve got to stop turning the ball over.”
BSU head coach Jeff Tesch said the Beavers have to buck up to fix all those things on the practice field.
“They’ve gotta be men,” he said. “Sometimes things don’t go the way you want, but you accept it, come back to practice and try and prove it. That’s all you can do right now.”
That’s the delicate balance the Beavers have to find: Fix what didn’t work last week but don’t think to hard about it.
It’s what all football teams have to do. But it’s incredibly important for BSU in the coming weeks.
In addition to playing at Sioux Falls, the Beavers are also playing games on the road against University of Mary, Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State. Those teams are a combined 11-1 so far this season.
The Beavers, however, seem to have the right mindset as they approach the meat of their schedule: Keep calm and take it “one game at a time.” It’s the only way to stay sane.
“The record’s going to be in the back of your head,” senior linebacker Cory Crosby said. “But we’ve just got to push behind us as best we can, because we’ve still got eight more games to go.
“The season’s not even close to being over yet. We’ve still got a lot to do.”
JACK HITTINGER is a sports reporter for the Pioneer, primarily covering Bemidji State sports. Read his BSU blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter @JackHitts.