Last week's bye was a welcomed departure from the norm for a Morgan State team that had been working together since early August. At 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference -- and in the thick of the race for the league championship -- a weekend off may also have been a just reward for the Bears.
Coach Lee Hull said that there is a little cause for concern that the bye week allowed the team to collect a little rust.
"You do [worry about rust], but we practiced a couple times in the bye week," Hull said Tuesday morning during his weekly conference call organized by the league. "We didn't totally take it off so you don't lose the momentum and you don't get rusty. We're still trying to work on some of the things we needed to work on and enhance what we do well. I think we did a good job of practicing just enough where we don't [gain] the rust and we don't lose the momentum. It's always an issue of trying to keep the guys focused, but I think the guys are focused. They like where we're at as a team. They've got some confidence. They like the momentum and where we're going. So they did a good job this week."
Morgan State's 2-1 record in the MEAC puts the team in a five-way tie with North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State, Delaware State and Norfolk State for third place and a half-game behind conference leaders Bethune-Cookman (5-1, 2-0) and North Carolina Central (3-3, 2-0), which will visit Hughes Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m.
While the Bears rested, the Eagles have won two straight since their bye week. But coach Jerry Mack downplayed the notion of his team having an advantage in Saturday's game.
"In their case, they've had some time to rest and prepare and probably really sit in the film room and watch every game and every snap that we've played," Mack said Tuesday. "From our standpoint, we've got a little bit of momentum going into this game as far as our guys starting to believe and starting to click and gel a little bit as a team. So I don't know if anybody has an advantage, so to speak. … We've just got to make sure that we're prepared as a team. We've got a one-game playoff and that's how we approach every week."