The bye week gave head coach Tim Walsh extra time to prepare his team for the Bronchos. The bye week also allowed for a chance to get players healthy, something the Mustangs did not have a chance to do during the first part of the schedule.
Walsh expects junior slotback Deonte Williams, senior tackle Art Munoz and junior cornerbacks Nico Molino and Bijon Samoodi to all take the field.
Typically, bye weeks allow for less intense practices, which in turn, allowed players who have been sidelined with an injury a chance to heal before taking on the Bronchos.
“You’re always going to have bumps and bruises,” senior fullback Jake Romanelli said. “It’s just the nature of the game. The week off was definitely needed, and my body feels so much better.”
Getting a break physically also permitted more time to prepare mentally.
Senior quarterback Andre Broadous said the team took the opportunity to refocus.
“The first week we spend more time on the mental part, rather than the physical part,” Broadous said.
The Mustangs spent time this week going over film of Central Oklahoma, focusing primarily on the team’s defense, Walsh said.
Even if the Bronchos’ 1-4 record and Division II status might not intimidate the Mustangs, Walsh said he is careful not to let his players sleep on their opponent.
“We’re going to have to be ready,” Walsh said. “(Central Oklahoma is) extremely athletic at the skill positions on offense. We’ve got a difficult task. They’re a much better team than people are going to anticipate.”
The Bronchos’ offense will enter San Luis Obispo riding high off of a 41-point performance in a victory over East Central University.
Cal Poly, in comparison to its Great West opponents, has allowed the most rushing yards to slip past. The defensive lineup will have its hands full trying to contain Central Oklahoma’s standout senior running back Joshua Birmingham.
Birmingham is averaging 6.6 yards per carry going into Saturday’s game.
Although the Mustangs had an unusually difficult schedule up to this point, the 1-3 record is more a result of consistency than competition.
“If we come out, play our game for four straight quarters and progress each game, we’ll get where we need to be,” Broadous says.
Where the team and its record rest right now is not an accurate portrayal of where it could be, according to Romanelli, who is one of the four captains.
“Our record does not reflect who we are,” Romanelli said. “If we can eliminate the mental mistakes, we’re going to play well. We’re a good team. If we’re able to get our defense off the field, if we’re able to block the perimeter a little bit better, we can get that one big play. We just need that one big play.”
This is Cal Poly’s final chance to turn the corner before Cal Poly’s final Great West season commences. Conference play begins on Oct. 15 when the team hosts defending champs Southern Utah.
Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m.