After a 1-5 start, Morgan State needed some time off to recharge and get some players on the mend. Mission accomplished, according to coach Donald Hill-Eley.
“We had a very tough schedule, that first six games, and we were on the road for the first four,” Hill-Eley said Tuesday morning during a conference call organized by the league. “We had the little injuries, quite a lot of injuries. So we wanted to mainly heal up, be real cerebral about what we’re doing, do a lot of self-scouting, a lot of individual things that when you get to the middle part of the season, you kind of lose a little bit of fundamentals and techniques. So we wanted to really slow it down and work on the fundamentals and techniques of the different segments, and I think we were successful in doing that.”
Morgan State lost its first five games before defeating Florida A&M, 34-21, on Oct. 5, securing its first victory of the season and evening its record in the MEAC at 1-1. That win has helped generate some excitement among the players.
“It’s always good to get a win and to especially get one when you’ve got time to go into preparation,” Hill-Eley said. “There’s a lot of excitement from those guys – from the weight room to the field. Guys are in the training room twice a day trying to get well. So we’re able to gain some players back. We have conference play in these next six games, so you still have your goals in front of you. Just go out and continue to play. You’re in the middle of the season, and right now, you get a chance to take on a great team in North Carolina Central.”
The Bears will face the Eagles (3-3 overall and 1-1 in the league) this Saturday in Durham. North Carolina Central has won three of its last five contests, but was routed, 44-3, by South Carolina State last Thursday.
Hill-Eley didn’t put much weight into the notion that Morgan State might be able to take advantage of an Eagles squad that may still be smarting from last week’s rout.
“That team is as resilient as the coaches that they have there,” he said. “It’s one of those things where I’m quite sure they’ve learned from whatever miscues they’ve had on Thursday night. It’s not like we’re expecting them to come out and roll their helmets out. It’s their Homecoming, they’ve still got a Homecoming crowd, and part of anything in this thing is being frustrated with how they lost, they would do what they need to do to make the corrections for this week. So we’re not taking anything for granted going in there. We know they have a good ballclub and that one game doesn’t exemplify the character or the talent that team has.”