Laurier football focusing on healing injuries

Photo by Will Huang

Photo by Will Huang

After facing two of the tougher opponents in the Ontario University Athletics conference, the Wilfrid Laurier University football team is focused on getting healthy during their bye week.

The Hawks come off a frustrating 59-9 loss to the Western Mustangs in their home opener, only five days after a gruelling loss to the Guelph Gryphons.

According to head coach Michael Faulds, the bye week is coming at a good time for the Hawks.

“Obviously you face two of the tougher teams in our conference and we’re really banged up as a football team right now,” he said.

“[The bye] comes at a good time, we can try to get healthy this week, try to fine-tune a lot of things, we’re making a lot of mental errors, we got to clean things up and prepare for our game in a week and a half against Windsor at Homecoming.”

Quarterbacks James Fracas and Eric Morelli are both battling injuries, with the healthier quarterback getting the start at game time.

Laurier had a significant amount of injured starters in the last week against the No. 3 nationally-ranked Mustangs, forcing the Hawks to dive into their depth.

According to Faulds, the number of injuries add up playing games on a weekly basis; whereas during a bye week the list can decrease.

The Hawks faced another tough challenge besides Western and Guelph; penalties.

Every time the Hawks offence tried to move the ball against Western, they would be limited by a multitude of penalties, offsides and flags. Several times the Laurier offence made a huge play, only to be stymied by offsides and sent back 10 yards.

“On both sides of the football we’ve got to do a better job of eliminating penalties. Too many mental errors there,” Faulds said.

On top of getting a week of rest and practices, the bye week is a good week for athletes to learn the Laurier playbook.

According to fifth-year running back Dillon Campbell, the younger Hawks can spend time learning the Laurier playbook for the latter half of a tough season.

““It’s a good time for guys to get healthy, guys to get in the playbook, for young guys to get the opportunity to learn our plays and our playbook as opposed to running the scout team or the opponent’s and the playbook of our opposing team,” Campbell explained.

“It’s a good week to work the fundamentals and the basics, we’re going to have more teach time, more of our players interacting together instead of servicing the opposing team we are about to face, and then next week we’ll fully immerse ourselves into Windsor prep,” Faulds echoed.

Moreover, Faulds laid out a laundry list of things that the team has to improve on coming into the middle of the season if they want to vie for a playoff spot.

The arrival of Windsor on Sept. 26 brings week four and Homecoming, and in such a short season the Hawks are looking to improve on their all-around game as the final grind approaches.

“On offence we have to do a better job of our reads, knowing when to go to the first, second or third receiver. We’ve got to do a better job establishing our run game like we did last year. On the defensive side of the ball we can definitely make sure tackles, communicate better. So we’re looking to improve on all of those things,” Faulds said.

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