SHSU football team looks to increase road game win rate with only 3 home games
Low on-the-road success rate puts SHSU in hot seat as team tries to repeat 2011
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 01:08
With only nine days left before the season opens, the 2012 Sam Houston State football schedule will test the top ranked Bearkats with only three home games; posting them against five years of a below-average winning percentage on the road.
Between the 2007 and 2011 football seasons, the Bearkat football team has a winning percentage of 44.8 on the road versus their 79.3 percentage at home, showing lower winning statistics with schedules that have more road games than home.
“It’s difficult to get home games,” Football Head Coach Willie Fritz said. “We’re in an area geographically where there’s not a lot of FCS programs.”
Since his recruitment in 2010, Fritz has a winning percentage of 58 percent on the road compared to his 92.3 percentage at home.
“[This year’s schedule] is very challenging without a doubt,” Fritz said. “I’ve told our guys that from day one, we’re into one game at a time.”
According to junior running back Tim Flanders focus and trust will determine the success of the Bearkats in 2012.
“We know we’re going to be on the road a lot,” Flanders said. “Sometimes you can lose focus when you’re traveling all the time. [We] got to stay focus and continue to play our game.”
Last year, the Bearkats outscored opponents 205-99 on the road, including the Battle of the Piney Woods game against Stephen F. Austin at Reliant Stadium.
“We played our better games last year on the road,” Fritz said. “The reason we had the success last year is most of the time we brought our ‘A’ game each week and we got to do the same thing this year…we really put a lot of weight on winning the conference.”
This year the Bearkats will take on Baylor, who is ranked number one in the Big 12, in Waco and SEC freshman Texas A&M and College Station. The Bearkats will also face Central Arkansas, Texas Southern, Stephen F. Austin, Nicholls State, Lamar, and Northwestern State all on the road.
“[Baylor and Texas A&M] are very big for our program,” Flanders said. “I was pretty excited mainly because we get to play against new teams.”
According to Coach Fritz, the atmosphere of playing on the road is the biggest obstacle to overcome.
“I think the structure of being isolated and away from family and friends and being in a hotel and traveling together and meeting maybe a little more gets you to focus more,” Fritz said. “There’s the challenge of us against the world when we’re on the road.”
With the lack of home games this season, the Bearkats will lose the luxury of having thousands of fans and the excitement of winning at home.
“It always helps to have home field advantage,” Flanders said. “It gives us a means of extra momentum…we got to stay focused and continue to play our game.”
This season Flanders will pursue the Walter Payton Award as well as securing the National Championship, after a disappointing upset in Frisco.
According to Coach Fritz the biggest goal within the team is to win the Southland Conference to advance into the NCAA playoffs for another chance at the National Championship.
“We’ve got a very veteran squad with a tremendous amount of experience,” Fritz said. “I’m glad I’ve got these guys to attack this schedule with. We still got a long way to go.”
The first home game is September 8 against the Incarnate Word at 6 p.m. at Bowers Stadium.
For more information about the Bearkat football team, visit www.gobearkats.com to access a full roster and schedule.