With a trip across two time zones to play at Brigham Young University on Friday, the University of Toledo football team is doing everything it can to prepare physically for the altitude and mentally for the time change.
“You have to reset your schedule,” UT coach Jason Candle said. “We have to try to get acclimated to the time change a little bit, very similar to what we did at Arkansas State. We just have to handle the trip.”
The Rockets played in the first week at Arkansas State in the central time zone and will try to draw on that experience to help them.
“We have a mature group and guys that have been there before and have done this, so I don’t expect any setbacks in handling that part of it,” Candle said.
Senior tight end Michael Roberts said he drinks as much water as he can each day to stay hydrated, which is emphasized by the Toledo strength and conditioning staff.
“Coach Brad [Bichey] emphasizes hydration and recovery and training like a beast,” Roberts said. “I’d say I drink about a gallon-and-a-half each day. They kind of keep a high emphasis on hydration. You see water fountains and Powerade machines all around, so they’ve done a great job.”
Another subtle change for Toledo will be the grass field at BYU’s LaVell Edwards Stadium, which sits at 4,649 feet above sea level. The Rockets play on turf at the Glass Bowl.
“Climate-wise, we can’t really do anything to simulate that,” Roberts said. “But we have been on the grass a couple of times to change it up from our turf to their grass. Coach Candle has done a great job with getting us ready and getting our bodies back. So we’re doing nothing too much out of the ordinary. We are just trying to stay true to what we know and what we do.”
Candle also stressed hydration as a key, but he said he is confident that his players will be able to handle the altitude.
“We have to do a great job of hydrating and taking care of our bodies and getting ready to go in the physical aspects of things,” Candle said. “I feel we have a well-conditioned team, and I wouldn’t anticipate that being an issue or being an excuse for this team.”
With an open date last weekend, UT will have essentially two weeks to prepare for the game on Friday in Provo, Utah.
“Last week was to kind of mend and heal us a little bit and try to get some of our guys back to full strength,” Candle said. “And then certainly to try to make sure the guys were shored up academically and get some good game prep on what BYU looks like on video tape and add what we saw [Saturday] from the West Virginia game into that and try to narrow that plan down this week as we get ready to go.”
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Toledo’s defense will have its hands full in trying to not only stay hydrated but at stopping BYU quarterback Taysom Hill. ASSOCIATED PRESS