BGSU head coach Mike Jinks calls out to his players during the second quarter of Saturday's loss to Akron. BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
BOWLING GREEN — Bowling Green State University football coach Mike Jinks said he has a simple message for his 0-5 team.
“Stay the course,” he said Monday. “We’ve got a lot of football left to play. …
“We’re not going to be more talented than any team we play. But the flip side is that there’s parity in this conference. There’s no team in this conference that is that much more talented than we are. It’s even.”
Jinks added his message includes ignoring the “outside noise” surrounding the team’s first 0-5 start since 1988.
“We have to stand back to back and shoulder to shoulder and fight through this thing together,” Jinks said. “It’s college football and people are passionate about it, and that’s what we want.
“We know the work we put in, and we know that no one wants to win more than these players and coaches. We’ll stay together, and we’ll continue to fight.
“It’s not time to panic — it’s time to bond together, to stay confident, and continue to play the game the right way.”
Jinks said the Bowling Green players remain positive and confident as they prepare for a contest at Miami’s Yager Stadium at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The program will look to avoid its first six-loss start to a season since 1935.
“Our coaches have done a great job of staying consistent in their approach,” he said. “Our players continue to give great effort.
“That’s something that, as a head coach, I look for. Who’s not running to the ball? When we score a touchdown, who is not celebrating with teammates?
“When we don’t see that, we have to hold the kids accountable.”
Miami coach Chuck Martin said he sees a difference in the Falcons in their second season under Jinks.
“I think they’ve shown good progress from Year 1 to Year 2,” Martin said. “I know the record may not show it, but they definitely are a better looking football team than they were a year ago.”
Martin said he faced a similar climb when he took over at Miami in 2014. That climb gained traction in the second half of last season when the RedHawks won their final six games to become bowl-eligible.
“It was a slow, arduous process,” he said. “We won a few games our first year, but we basically stunk. We won a few our second year, and we still weren’t very good.
“[Last year] we had enough experience that, even though we were 0-6, we were more competitive and improving. But we just couldn’t get over the hump.
“Then in Week 7 we got [quarterback] Gus Ragland back, he was the last piece in the puzzle to push us over the top.”
Jinks said the key element necessary for the Falcons to take a step forward is for the team to continue to play hard and handle the fundamentals better.
“It’s focusing on each and every play,” he explained. “It’s every man focusing on doing his one-eleventh that’s going to make the difference.”