North Texas Daily

Football team not using early bye week as excuse for slow start

Football team not using early bye week as excuse for slow start

North Texas sophomore running back Willy Ivery (29) has the ball dislodged by a Rice defender on September 19, 2015. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Football team not using early bye week as excuse for slow start
October 27
20:51 2015

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceTapout15

The North Texas football team got their off-week before the season even began in 2015, drawing the unfavorable first week bye in the offseason.

Because of this, the Mean Green has been forced to play seven straight weeks without rest with five more to go and has had no opportunity to get away from the hard-hitting, grueling sport that can consume a team with fatigue and injuries.

“It’s a shame it happened, but that’s an excuse,” interim head coach Mike Canales said. “You have to play. We had a bye, it was just early in the season. I can’t change the schedule.”

The last time a Football Bowl Subdivision team played without a week off was the 2012-13 season when five programs were forced to endure the brutal 12-week stretch: the University of Akron, Western Michigan University, the University of New Mexico, the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the University of California.

Unfortunately for North Texas, none of those schools won more than four games.

This year, five more teams, including the Mean Green, are grinding through the season without break. Florida International University, Miami University (Ohio), the University of Hawaii, the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado are all playing their seasons with no break.

While the Mean Green has yet to crack the win column, some schools are poised to break the trend this year. Arizona has already eclipsed the four-win mark, posting a 5-3 record through eight games. Colorado and FIU are both 4-4 and seem poised to win more than four as well.

Director of strength and conditioning Lewis Caralla said he did not think North Texas started the season behind the eight ball but rather had an advantage going into its first game.

“Our kids were ready. They were motivated, and they were excited,” Caralla said. “Sure you’d love a bye week right in the middle of the season like right now, but sometimes when you’re struggling like we are, it’s almost better not to have a week off. You just want an opportunity to make plays and get that taste out of your mouth.”

Throughout the season, Caralla has emphasized several different techniques to keep the team healthy and prepared from week to week. For starters, Caralla said players simply need to stay hydrated, which will keep them fresh for games and prevent injuries.

“Our kids are starting to understand that when a muscle is dry, it’s more likely to tear,” Caralla said. “If it is moist, it is a lot harder to tear.”

Caralla was hired in the offseason and brought with him a rigorous training program that the team completed before and during fall camp. He said the intense conditioning was not so much a product of the team not having a break in the middle of the year but rather an essential part of preparing for the season.

“It was a whole offseason of learning how to compete and learning how to defeat your opponent,” Caralla said. “I put these guys in a lot of situations where they had to find ways to win. It was one of the hardest working programs I’ve been around, and it’s a shame the way this season has gone, because it doesn’t reflect the work they’ve done all year.”

Junior quarterback DaMarcus Smith agreed, saying a lack of a break does not justify the team’s poor performance thus far in 2015. But he remains confident North Texas is on the verge of breaking through.

“We take responsibility for the way this season has gone,” Smith said. “But we’re going to keep trying to put it together and get a win. I keep telling these guys once we figure it out and get a win, it will be contagious.”

Featured Image: North Texas sophomore running back Willy Ivery (29) has the ball dislodged by a Rice defender. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographe

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