The toughest job for a coach isn’t always deciding on a starting lineup and it rarely has anything to do with strategy. It’s the mental part of handling the pysche of his or her players, more specifically rallying a team from a devastating loss.
That is the senario this week for University of Redlands football coach Mike Maynard. The Bulldogs suffered a heartbreaking 27-24 overtime loss last week to Occidental. While there are plenty more games to go, that game has traditionally had a huge impact on the SCIAC race. And with football three are nine games, so there is little room for error,
The loss was that much more deflating because the Bulldogs dominated for three quarters.
So this week Maynard has to convince his squad it is still playing for something.No doubt he will appeal to his players’ competitive spirit and character.
Yes a lot of things can happen. Two years ago the Bulldogs lost to Oxy, then ran the table, with the outcome of other games resulting in them winning the SCIAC. That was just two years ago and there plenty of players left who were part of the team. Maynard has that to fall back on.
Maynard says his team still has a shot of getting in the playoffs, even if it finishes second. That wouldn’t seem like a strong possibility since the SCAIC hasn’t had a second team make the playoffs in his two decade tenure. But with the current economic climate, the NCAA could take a second team, possibly Redlands, and send it to Oxy for a first round playoff game because the cost would be next to nothing.
Of course the Bulldogs have to run the table to think about that playing out and that would mean beating a Cal Lutheran team, that from what other coaches tell me, is probably better than Occidental.
Next up for Redlands is Saturday’s 7 p.m. home game against Whittier. It should be one in which the Bulldogs have no trouble getting back on track.