The ETSU football team has not had the success it had hoped for coming into this season.
While some are still hopeful that ETSU might mold its team into a competent force this season, three losses by 40-point margins have left others doubtful.
On Tuesday, head coach Carl Torbush and players Drake Powell and Austin Gatewood met with media at a press conference in the Mountain States Health Alliance Athletics Center to discuss their upcoming game against Mercer.
“Mercer was like us three years ago,” Torbush said.
“They restarted football, and now they are in the Southern Conference. It gives us a chance to see the caliber of teams we will face week in and week out in conference play next season.”
Torbush went on to discuss his relationship with Bobby Lamb, head coach of the Mercer football team.
“Coach Lamb is a good friend of mine,” Torbush said. “He did a great job when he was at Furman and has done a nice job starting up the program at Mercer.”
“They are very wellbalanced on offense, and that’s what Coach Lamb’s programs strive for,” Torbush added. “They also limit their turnovers and control the clock. Mercer has done a really good job with their turnover margin, as they haven’t thrown an interception in their first five games.”
Successful teams don’t typically appear out of thin air; they require work and maintenance.
Many believe ETSU hasn’t had the time to truly develop as a team and earn a victory on the field.
One specific problem, Powell explained, is the team’s inability to tie all four quarters together.
“We have to focus on executing each play and not looking back at what we did wrong or right,” Powell said.
“We also need to live in the present and not in the past or future. It’s easier said than done, but if we can work on this, we will put together four quarters of competitive football.”
Powell added that Saturday’s game against Mercer, as well as next Saturday’s game against Montana State, will be an excellent challenge for the ETSU football program.
If the Bucs play well, they could finally pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and earn their first win.
Practice makes perfect, and the Bucs have been doing just that over the past few days.
They took some time off to recover from their last game.
Gatewood said the team has had two very strong practice sessions, and with any luck, that work will transfer onto the field this Saturday against Mercer.
“Mercer runs the ball really well,” Gatewood said. “They have hardnosed running backs and run between tackles, but can run outside.”
“They can also hit you with deep ball on play action,” Gatewood added. “We have been preparing well at practice, but we also have to take care of ourselves and play good football for four quarters.”
Saturday’s game will begin at 4 p.m. at Mercer in Macon, Georgia.