The week off that the U.N.I. football team has before they open the playoffs is a much-needed break, according to Panther head coach Mark Farley. The Panthers are the 5th seed in the FCS playoffs, and will have this Saturday off before they host Wofford in a second round game.
Farley says that earning a bye was a very big deal, considering how many of his players have had to battle through injuries late in the season. He says it was critical for the football team to recover from injuries and emotionally.
While their seeding surprised some Panther fans, Farley says that the team is going to rely on some lessons from past years to avoid getting caught up in when or who they play. He says last year they were asking why they had to play on the first weekend and now they are just excited to be in the playoffs.
Farley says it does not matter if they have to go on the road in the next round if they win, as he says they have enough talent to win anywhere. One thing Farley and the other coaches will do this week is try to put together a scouting report on themselves so they have an idea of what Wofford might do to try to stop their team.
He says the players will be cut loose for a while and they will try to find the things that other teams see and be critical of themselves and cleaning things up. Today will be the last day that U.N.I. practices this week. Farley says that giving the players some time off for Thanksgiving will help them out from both a physical and a mental standpoint.
Farley says you sometimes need to get mentally fresh, especially after being in the same routine since August. The Panthers opened their preseason camp on August 3rd, which means that the Wofford game will complete the fourth full month of their season.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls