After falling short in their first game of the season against Widener University, Rowan is preparing for a bounce back effort against Springfield College this Saturday, Sept. 11.
It was the first football game for Rowan since November 2019, and as expected by head coach Jay Accorsi, his young, inexperienced squad still has areas they need to improve on.
“I think it’s a matter of playing football, not just practicing football. I thought we were really good at times and other times we just kind of seemed off a little bit. But again, I think that’s timing and practice and everything else as well,” Accorsi said. “Usually from week one to week two, that’s when you see your most improvements.”
One area of improvement Accorsi wants to see his team focus on is run defense. Widener averaged five yards per carry on 40 attempts on Saturday and Rowan can expect to be challenged in the trenches often this week against Springfield.
Springfield runs an option offense which consists almost entirely of running the ball. In their opening game this past weekend, against Western New England University, they ran the ball 58 times and only attempted six passes. The matchup provides a chance for Rowan to not only work on their run defense, but prepare for a conference opponent who runs a similar style of offense, Accorsi explained.
“The reason we scheduled Springfield, primarily, was so that we could see the option game and be prepared for obviously one of our better conference opponents in Salisbury,” Accorsi said. “I think we’re more prepared than what we’ve been before, because we had to prepare for it. Obviously, we’re not going to spend a lot of time on pass defense this week. We know what we need to stop [the running offense.]”
And as for their own offense, Rowan took a fairly run-heavy approach as well in their first game of the season. And while the team will continue to have a strong focus on the run this season, Accorsi still would like to see the pass offense find its groove.
“I thought we threw the ball okay, but I think we need to get better at it when we do. We’re not going to be a team that’s going to throw it 40 or 50 times a game. That’s just not who we are,” Accorsi said. “Usually most teams rely a little bit on the run to get themselves squared away in the pass game and that’s just what we’re going to have to do.”
The upcoming game against Springfield will be the second of three non-conference matchups to start the season with the final non-conference game being played against Salve Regina on Sept. 25. Despite these games not counting towards playoff standings, Accorsi believes the tough upcoming schedule can be valuable for his team.
“The hope in the scheduling of these games was that it would harden us for conference play. Again, we need to take each week as preparing ourselves to get better and to get ready for conference play.”
Ahead of the second game of the season, Accorsi simply wants to see his team play well and come out on top.
“We just need to play better than we did Saturday night against Widener, and I think that’s what we’re looking for. If we do that, then we put ourselves in a position to win the game.”
For comments/questions about this story, tweet @TheWhitOnline.