QU Football Preview: Preparations intensify as first game approaches

By Shane Hulsey

Energy.

Kinetic, molecular, chemical, whatever kind of energy it was, it was on full display at Quincy University’s football practice this week.

Things were moving. Things were fast. Music was blaring.

Coaches were running from drill to drill. Players were sprinting, trying to beat them.

In live drills, the offense was moving at breakneck speed. Quarterbacks barked out signals for the next play as soon as the whistle blew on the previous one.

This tempo is preparation in and of itself.

“We go so fast in a lot of rights that it’s conditioning for both sides of the ball,” head coach Gary Bass said. “I don’t believe in conditioning, per say. You should practice at the pace you’re going to play at.”

If the defense can handle the pace of the Quincy offense, they can handle the pace of any offense.

“For us to see and get lined up against an offense that can go as fast as we can is good for our defense,” Bass said. “The hardest thing is getting lined up and being assignment-sound play in and play out. When you’re going against an offense that’s as fast as we are, it gives us a little bonus because on Saturday, it’s not going to be nearly as fast as what they’re seeing in practice.”

The most responsible for that tempo is the offensive line, which senior Justin Rosendahl anchors at the center position.

“As we say here, our offensive line sets the pace for our offense,” Rosendahl said. “And because we’re the biggest unit on the field at all points in time, we set the pace of the game, which for us is, obviously, fast.”

You can set the pace all you want, but in the end, you have to put points on the board.

“We have to take advantage of situations when we get them,” Bass said. “And we have to make sure that when we get opportunities in the red zone, we punch the ball in. Field goals are great, and scoring points any time is a plus, but we have to score touchdowns whenever we have an opportunity to score touchdowns.”

The Hawks practiced on the grass fields outside Flinn Memorial Stadium, home of the Quincy Senior High School Blue Devils, on Monday. These fields are more comparable to the field on which they will play Saturday. The Hawks head to Wilberforce, Ohio, to take on Central State at McPherson Memorial Stadium, which features a natural grass surface, unlike the Hawks’ home stadium, which is artificial turf.

So this choice of practice location was strategic.

“We wanted to get used to the surface we’ll be playing on this week,” wide receiver Marlin Washington said. “We just wanted to make it as realistic as possible to Saturday.”

With just one game a week, the ratio of practice to game days during the season can be five or even six to one, and that’s during the season. That doesn’t count all the preseason practices and workouts.

Bass said having a game to look forward to at the end of the week provided a little extra jolt to the team.

“Football’s kind of a beast of its own in that we practice so much to play so little,” he said. “So for us to finally be at a game week I think was a little extra motivation for our guys.”

If the Hawks take care of three things, Bass said they will be in great shape to take care of business and start the season 1-0, which the program has not done since 2016.

“The three biggest things we’ve talked about the last couple weeks are number one, prepare; number two, be consistent; and number three, handle adversity,” he said. “If we do those three things, we’ll be in great position to win a ballgame on Saturday.”

Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday. Fans can stream the game on the Marauder Sports Streaming Network.

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