Back to Earth

Mental toughness will be tested

As I sat in the press box at the Ferris State-Grand Valley game over the weekend, the scene became all too familiar to many of last year’s games.

With Ferris getting dominated in all aspects of the game, the media members started gathering around the television in the room to see the other college action that was going on.

But they are there to cover the Ferris game so they should not pay attention to the other games, right?

Well, as someone who witnessed the thing that was supposed to be a football game, keeping a wandering eye on the television seemed like a humane thing to do.

But while the Bulldogs were taken behind the woodshed in a very important conference game, I think a little perspective is needed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to pretty up a crushing loss like a drunken college student who’s telling themselves the person they’re taking home from the bar is not that bad looking. It is always as bad as it really is.

But, I think this was merely an instance where an improved team that is coming off a 1-10 season ran into the top-ranked team in the country and had their expectations brought back down to earth.

Ferris is definitely a much better team than the one it trotted out last year and I think anyone that has seen a game lately knows this to be true. We came into the game at 5-2 and it seems like the team has an improved chemistry between players and coaches and it has translated to the field.

Grand Valley is not like playing Ohio Dominican. They have been the blueprint for creating a Division II powerhouse in football and they are responsible for providing Central Michigan and Cincinnati with a head coach pipeline on a consistent basis in the past decade. Oh, and they have won a couple Division II Championships as well in the decade, no big deal.

So with the level of competition and the fact that our starting quarterback went out at the half, I think while the game was out of hand at the half, no team can completely rebuild in a year.

So with three contests left against Indianapolis, Michigan Tech and Northwood, we are about to find out just what this Bulldog team is made of. While all three teams are not pushovers, I believe we will see if this team can man up and bounce back from a terrible loss or if the team from last year will rear its ugly head and send the team in a down-spin.

As senior linebacker Matt Ryan said after the game, “We are focused on going 8-3 right now and I think we can do it.”

Well, I guess we’ll find out. n