University of Toledo head coach Jason Candle faces a short turnaround as the Rockets prepare to face Ohio Thursday. BLADE PHOTO
After a big win Saturday against Central Michigan, the University of Toledo football team has a quick turnaround for a Thursday game against Ohio at the Glass Bowl.
The Rockets are finished with Saturday games as the rest of the schedule features midweek conference games, something that will require adjustments to the normal game-week routine.
“We have to readjust the schedule,” UT coach Jason Candle said. “It’s accelerated obviously and things go much quicker. Time is of the essence and you have to take advantage of each and every hour and move forward.”
That will perhaps be most difficult this week with just four days in between the two games.
However, playing Central Michigan at noon will help make the transition a bit easier.
“I think back-to-back, having a home game on Saturday and playing it at noon was a little bit of an advantage for us,” Candle said.
“It got our guys off our feet Saturday night and then [Sunday] we were able to recover a little bit and still get out and practice. To have some time in the morning to get a jump start on OU I thought was huge, without having to start preparing for a game at midnight or 1 a.m. I thought stealing some hours on Saturday was huge.”
For the players, who have to balance their school workload with the demands of preparing for a game, using the time effectively is key.
“Getting all the school work done a couple days before the games is how I look at it,” UT junior quarterback Logan Woodside said. “I just try to be in here as much as possible, but definitely take care of the school work earlier in the week and then get ready so you can focus on the game Thursday. I definitely think you have to speed everything up. I’ve been in here watching a lot of film. You definitely miss three days so you have to take advantage of the opportunities that you have each day.”
Rest and recovery from a physical game Saturday will be a point of emphasis, but will have to be balanced with practices during the week.
“This game is an early game, so a key thing right now is just getting our bodies right,” senior defensive end John Stepec said. “Our strength coach is helping us stretch out, get in the ice baths, and make sure we hydrate to get ready for this game, because it's going to be huge.”
After the game against Ohio, Toledo has three consecutive Wednesday games, followed by its regular-season finale, a Friday game Nov. 25 at Western Michigan. In the home stretch of the season, Candle said it is important for the team to stay mentally tough for the close of the conference schedule.
“At this point in the season, sometimes if you are mentally stronger than what you are physically chances are better that you are going to be able to play,” Candle said. “It’s the grind of the season now. It’s the end of October. There are some teams that just can’t function and just can’t finish. That is the challenge of our team right now is if we can mentally stay the course and continue to practice well.
“Whatever our routine is and whenever they decide to put the games and wherever they fall, we have to do a great job of preparing and playing, because everyone is in the same boat.”
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