Not so fast, coach Kerwin Bell says. That’s why they play ‘em in the rough and tumble Pioneer Football League.
Bell’s memory stretches back to 2008 when the Dolphins (5-1, 3-0) went north, built a 35-14 lead on the Wildcats and watched it dissolve into a 38-35 loss and he’s in no big hurry to see that happen again to his league leaders.
“They are a team that if you don’t play sound ball, they will find a way to beat you,’’ Bell said. “We have to stick to our principles.’’
What worries the Dolphins’ coach is the intelligence of the Davidson (0-5, 0-2) players and their collective ability to change on a dime.
“They are very smart kids,’’ he said. “They do some things game plan wise in such a way that you have to figure them out in the first quarter. Because they are so smart they can go from one extreme to the other from one week to the next and they catch on to things.’’
That adaptability is cause for concern, Bell said, because the Wildcats have a propensity to take away team tendencies.
“They are going to play to those tendencies and do a good job of that,’’ Bell said. “We have had struggles with them early in games. We’re going to have to figure some things out early and if we do that and get going hopefully we’ll win. It’s going to be a tough road game again, there are no easy road games in this conference.’’
The Dolphins’ primary task will be to shut down the Davidson run game, Bell said.
“If we stop the run early and our offense gets going then you’ve got teams playing from behind. If you do that, do you know how much better that makes our defense? They’re already great, but all the sudden that’s our MO to win the game. If we can make them one dimensional I’ll feel comfortable with the final score.’’
Despite trying to stop the run, Bell is mindful of Davidson quarterback Jonathan Carkhuff.
“He threw for almost 300 yards against us last year (in a 56-14 JU win),’’ Bell said. “They throw it all over the yard and are pretty good at it.’’
Davidson coach Tripp Merritt this week lamented his team’s energy in last week’s 38-3 loss to Dayton. “We were disappointed,’’ he said. “But, we’ll change some things up as to how we approach the game this week and on Saturday throw caution to the wind. We’ll have some wrinkles in all three phases of the game.’’
Game time is 1 p.m. and the contest can be heard on 92.5FM and 1010XL.com. Play-by-play announcer Terry Norvelle will handle the call and the pregame show begins at 12:30 p.m.