We enter week eight of the season with the word diligent on our mind. We want to not only play hard every week, but also with a conscientious approach to the game. After our 38-27 loss to defending Ivy champ Princeton last weekend, we continue to focus on the small aspects of the game that will make a big difference for us down the line – eliminating careless penalties and missed assignments that prematurely end our drives or extend drives for our opponents.
As we get deeper into the calendar we have begun tapering back practices so we’ll be fresh for game days. My philosophy is that I think it is key to protect our bodies and minds for the stretch run. We want to be diligent in our preparations both mentally and physically so we can be playing our best football at the end of each season.
The team can’t wait to hit the field for the final three games, two of them in front of the home crowd, because they are the games on our schedule and we love to play football.
I get excited when I think about what our offense was able to do this past weekend against defending Ivy League champion Princeton. We piled up 447 yards of offense and 27 points, 23 first downs, held the ball for more than 37 minutes and went 8-of-18 on third down and 2-of-3 on fourth down. We ran the ball effectively as the game went on. All of those numbers were season highs. But it was the way we looked and the confidence in which we played on that side of the ball that was a revelation.
The defense has made great strides over the past year, as has the special teams. Both are on their way. Now that we’re completing year one of the new offense, our kids are really starting to pick up the concepts we’re teaching and applying them on the field. That will only continue to get better as we continue working.
We didn’t perform like that against just anyone. Two weeks ago Princeton was ranked atop the NCAA charts against the run and is still in the top 20. During its Ivy League championship run last season, the Tigers averaged better than 40 points per game with an explosive offense that put points on the board against everyone. For 60 minutes, we put ourselves in position to win the game, but weren’t able to finish – drives, tackles, runs, blocks. That is where the diligence comes in.
We have such a high character group, and I believe we are doing all the right things in our preparation to get us there. Coming off our best offensive performance of the season, the entire team is anxious to put together 60 great minutes of football. I’m confident it is in us, and we’ll need all of that against a really solid Dartmouth team right in the thick of the Ivy championship race.
We hope you will be able to join us for the Dartmouth game this weekend, or if you can’t make it to sit in the Crescent, will be cheering us on while tuned into the Ivy League Digital Network. We’re proud to represent the Big Red and will be doing everything we can to join the Big Red Marching Band in singing Cornell Victorious after the game on Saturday. Thanks for supporting our student-athletes with your words of encouragement. It means to much to all of them, and they are excited to continue putting on their Big Red jerseys as we begin the stretch run.
David J. Archer 05′
The Roger J. Weiss ’61
Head Coach of Football