By Matt Noonan
It’s Friday, which means we’re a few hours away from kicking off another weekend of college football coverage. And tonight, Noontime Sports will be providing plenty of updates from the Bridgewater State-Framingham State contest via Twitter (@NoontimeSports and @NoonSportsBlog).
The Rams have defeated the Bears the past two seasons, so expect Bridgewater State to have a chip on their shoulder, especially the seniors.
Below are some pregame thoughts from Framingham State head coach Tom Kelley and two of the five Bridgewater State senior captains, Kurt Merrick and Matt Monahan.
Framingham State’s Tom Kelley:
What have you noticed about Bridgewater State from watching their game film?
TK: “We’ve seen them in just about all their games [this year], and they’re well coached, they don’t make a lot of mistakes, they don’t turn the ball over, and they can dominate the clock offensively. They have athletes out there and they come after us, so we’re certainly going to have our hands full on both sides of the ball and special teams, too.”
How can your team walk away with a victory? What do the Rams have to do in order to secure their third consecutive win of the season?
TK: “We’re going to have to play 60 minutes of football and it’s our first divisional game, and the winner is going to have a foot-up [in the Bogan Division].”
Does your team feel any pressure heading into this game?
TK: “I hope they feel a little bit [of pressure]. I hope they’re excited about the game. We put a lot of pressure on them last week because it was our 40th anniversary game, but this is what we strive for playing in meaningful games all through the season and [Bridgewater State] is a good football team and we’re excited to go play them.”
Bridgewater State’s Kurt Merrick:
What was so successful for your offense last week, and how’d you come away with an important win against Endicott College?
KM: “Our communication was really good. We were able to push them off the ball a little bit. They were in a 3-4 defense, so it’s easier to get them off the ball [with] those linebackers [that were] a little bit smaller, but all in all it’s just communication and getting our assignments right.”
How has your offense prepared for the Framingham State’s defense?
KM: “It’s mostly just mental. It’s been a short week, so we’ve just got out there, got on the same page and made sure everyone is ready to go.”
What makes this particular contest a true rivalry?
KM: “It’s probably just the proximity of the two schools. We’re just an hour away from each other, an hour bus ride, plus the recruiting process – they take a lot of recruits that we want and they want a lot of recruits that we want, so that’s basically it. It’s the first league game of the season, so playoffs start today.”
How important is it to win your first division contest?
KM: “It’s very important. You can’t lose one game in divisional play.”
Bridgewater State’s Matt Monahan:
How has your team been able to improve week-to-week this season? What’s been the biggest factor that you’re team has gained from all three victories?
MM: “Confidence. For the first time we’re confident. We know that we can score. When we [trailed] Springfield College [during our first game of the season], I looked at the rest of my offensive teammates and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that we [could comeback and win that game]. In the past there’s been fear when we’ve [trailed during a game], but this year when it’s happened, there hasn’t [been] a doubt in one person’s mind.”
Do you feel there’s a sense of confidence heading into tonight’s games?
MM: “Absolutely. 100 percent.”
What makes this particular contest a special rivalry?
MM: “Well, it’s Framingham [and] it’s our first league game and they beat us up in the past. They beat us last year, we came out way too flat and they took complete advantage of it and we didn’t have enough time to comeback, but we almost did. The year before that they [beat us] on our own field, and that’s enough right there to get someone fired up, so that’s a rivalry right there. They’ve been one of the better teams in our league for a while and we hope to change that this year.”