Teams without a win typically arent this upbeat.
Yet after a quality showing against a ranked CSU-Pueblo squad last week, its an apt term for the atmosphere surrounding the Fort Lewis College football program heading into todays homecoming matchup with Colorado School of Mines.
Theres a spring in the Skyhawks step because after the last two weeks, theres a feeling theyre building toward something, that theres a legitimate reason for optimism. An offense totaling 500-plus yards and a defense that held the leagues best rushing attack about 100 yards below its average tends to have that effect.
You can just feel the energy in the airs different, defensive lineman Cary Purchase said. We all know what were capable of, and weve seen what we can do when things go right. If we just eliminate those mistakes, we have a chance.
What cost the Skyhawks (0-4, 0-3 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) in their game against then-No. 3 CSU-Pueblo, however, were small mistakes that snowballed into a 50-21 defeat.
Two turnovers, including one pick six.
Twenty penalties for 182 yards.
A near miss on fourth-and-goal from the 2.
Yeah, 20 penalties and X amount of turnovers and pick six off a tipped ball. You know, for us, it comes down to obviously our discipline, FLC head coach Cesar Rivas-Sandoval said. We talked a lot about discipline in our meetings on Sunday and on Tuesday and on Wednesday. Having enough focus throughout the game that your play matters, whether you play one play or other plays throughout the game, your one play matters. Because after awhile, your one play, and his one play and his one play, thats how you get 20 penalties.
Health is another factor. The Skyhawks, like many other teams this time of year, have been roughed up a bit, particularly on the defensive line and in the secondary. Both are critical areas against Colorado Mines (3-2, 1-2 RMAC), which averages 455.8 yards passing per game and 550.6 total.
Sophomore quarterback Matt Brown recently was named the RMACs Male Athlete of the Month for September after throwing for 2,130 yards and 17 touchdowns.
But even with health issues, the optimism isnt unfounded. Theres a belief that with an easier second half of the schedule and a few fewer mistakes, wins are on the horizon.
The offense especially is excited, given that it has put up close to 1,000 total yards in the last two games. Quarterback Tim Jenkins earned the National Football Foundation-Colorado Chapter Player of the Week for his 501-yard effort against the now-second ranked ThunderWolves.
During the beginning of the season, we just felt that it was going to come along, offensive lineman Evan Wagstrom said. Now were starting to see the fruits of that labor. Its a special feeling when you get all three phases of the (offensive) game clicking.
We just know were close (to a win). We know were just inches away, and were trying to get those inches everywhere we can.
Still, optimism guarantees nothing. But FLC will look to capitalize on it and recent lessons learned come today, hoping to give fans and alumni a show for homecoming.
Doesnt matter what I believe; it only matters what they believe, Rivas said. And I really do believe they believe (they can win).