Johns Hopkins football feeling good as team dives into bye week

At the midpoint of the 2013 season and heading into a bye this weekend, the Johns Hopkins football team is 5-0 overall (4-0 in the Centennial Conference) and ranked 14thin Division III in the latest American Football Coaches Association poll.

The offense is ranked sixth and 11th in the country in yards and points per game, respectively. The defense isn’t far behind, ranking 13th and 17th in yards and points allowed.

Coach Jim Margraff usually refrains from making any grand announcements, but he acknowledged that the Blue Jays have positioned themselves for the remaining five games on the regular-season schedule.

“This is what you hope for...,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “We’re where we want to be. We’re undefeated. We’re tied for first place in the conference, and we get a week off to get healthy, to focus on our studies, and then we’ll make a push for the second half of the season.”

Johns Hopkins has outscored its opponent by an average of 33.2 points thus far. But maintaining that momentum takes a back seat to getting a chance to sit back and heal.

“We need the rest right now,” Margraff said. “We were without three starters last week on our offense. We have a few other guys banged up. So the bye comes at a perfect time. I know some people are concerned about momentum, but that’s not something that we really focus on a great deal. Our guys have been playing fairly well, but there’s also a number of things we really need to work on. So we’ll have a couple days of practice this week and go back to almost a summer camp philosophy and practice a whole bunch of fundamentals and heal up and be ready for the second part of the season.”

Part of the focus for the next few days is addressing a defense that has caused just four turnovers and helping the rush offense find long plays.

“We still haven’t gained that many turnovers,” Margraff said. “We work on it every day, but we want to emphasize that. Our defense is playing extremely well and not giving up many points, and that’s the top priority. But we want to create some more turnovers. And then offensively, we haven’t had many big gains in the running game. So we want to practice on finishing the drill and finishing the play and becoming a little more dynamic offensively.”

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