The Eagles are making their first major road trip, which required them to depart Friday morning and spend a night in a hotel. While the team opened the season on the road, it was a night game at Mercer. The team simply left at noon on the day of the game for the two-hour trek south to Macon.
Reinhardt coach Danny Cronic said playing so far from home will certainly give today’s game a different flavor.
“We will be taking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cookies, and we are going to stop at a roadside park about half-way up through Kentucky,” Cronic said before the traveling party’s departure, “so that will be different.”
Cronic also knows the team won’t have the fan support it’s had in the past.
The coach said the team’s travels will only require an overnight stay a couple more times this season, but it definitely adds to the preparation that is needed.
“It’s the first time players will be missing classes on Friday,” Cronic said. “We (weren’t) able to get on the field on Thursday until 5 p.m. because a lot of them had to finish their studies. They are students first.”
Sports information director Jason Hanes said the accommodations at Reinhardt are some of the best in the Mid-South Conference. Today, the Eagles will have a chance to reminded of that first-hand.
“Let’s put it this way — we are bringing our own tent for the players to meet in at half time,” Hanes said. “After seeing what it was like at Mercer, and then playing at home, this will show us what it’s really like playing in the NAIA.”
Cronic elaborated a bit more.
“Our hotel is about 30 miles from the field where we will be playing,” he said. “The place we get dressed for the game is about a mile walk from the field.”
Cronic hoped to give the players an idea of the field they would be playing at during a walkthrough Friday evening before a film session at the hotel.
ELIGIBILITY ISSUES: There continue to be issues at Reinhardt involving player eligibility.
Athletic department officials have appealed two cases, but Cronic doesn’t know that either case will end up in the team’s favor. Both cases, involving potential defensive linemen, are similar. Players who have previously attended college are required to have been enrolled in at least 12 credit hours of courses in each of the most recent two semesters.
In the case of the two Reinhardt players, they were each enrolled in 12 credit hours, but they only received credit for nine, as one course was not at the college level.
STAYING BUSY: The team is expected to return from its road trip between 1 and 2 a.m. Sunday.
Players will get a few hours off before meeting to go over film Sunday afternoon, according to Cronic.
On Monday, it will be back to a normal schedule. Players who participate in today’s game will spend time in the weight room, while those who did not travel with the team or get in the game, will be able to participate in a scrimmage.
LEADING THE NATION: Running back L.J. Stegall leads leading the NAIA in touchdowns through his first two games.
The freshman scored three times in each of the Eagles’ two games. He has reached the end zone three times on runs, twice on touchdown catches and once on a kickoff.
SCOOP AND SCORE: Cronic continued to stress the importance of special teams, particularly kickoff coverage and punt returns.
Opposing teams have returned kickoffs an average of 23.4 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, Reinhardt’s punt return team has coughed the ball up, allowing its opponent to score.
“The scoop and score is killing us,” Cronic said. “We need some more variety on the punt return, but on the kickoff coverage, we really need to get in there and not give them so much.”