MURRAY — Coming off a disappointing offensive performance last time out, the Murray State Racers are set to continue to make some changes this week leading into their game with Austin Peay.
In that game against Tennessee Tech, the Racers ran for just 71 yards on 23 carries and had two costly red zone turnovers. It was also a dismal performance simply because they were facing a team that had allowed over 30 points per game prior to the meeting with the Racers. After the game, head coach Mitch Stewart called the output by the offensive group unacceptable.
So, the changes began as soon as the Racers left the field following that loss a week ago. During the bye week, Stewart took a good hard look at what his team needs to change in order to become a more complete team, specifically on the offensive side of the ball.
“That was what we focused on,” Stewart said. “I’m not going to go into the specifics of it…Ultimately I thought it was time to take a hard look at what we had done leading up to that point. Good and bad. Focus on the good and take away the bad. Take away some of the bad situations we put ourselves in and figure out why. I’ve said this before, it doesn’t really matter whose fault it is. It doesn’t matter what got us to this point…It’s my responsibility to fix it especially for the 16 guys we have leaving (via graduation), who Saturday will be their last game to ever play at Roy Stewart Stadium.”
It was also a chance for the coaching staff to hit the road for recruiting trips and it was a successful trip with a few commitments from players that Stewart hopes can make an impact on the program. Although the trip served the purpose of finding new blood to breathe life into the program, it also provided an epiphany moment for Stewart.
“I was on the road recruiting and a couple of times during my trip I had to go to the gas station and fill up my gas tank with gas and it struck me,” Stewart said. “As you go to the pump, you never get to add on to the previous bill. If there’s $25 on the pump, it’s not like you start at 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, it always resets once you lift the lever it always resets to zero. I think ultimately that’s what we did last week. We took the good, the bad, and the ugly and everything we’ve done up until this point and reset it and refocused our mind to the next task that we have which is Austin Peay.”
The hard reset might be exactly what a team like this needs. After scoring just seven points on the second-worst defensive unit in the OVC, the Racers offense can’t get any worse. With the poor performance, the makeup of the offensive personnel may be different come Saturday. One thing is certain, the Racers need a win. Stewart needs a win.
“I always feel pressure to get a win,” Stewart said. “You lose a couple of games like we’ve lost, I mean my wife doesn’t even like me right now. She’s not big on being married to a loser. We’ve always got pressure. It comes with the nature of the gig.”