MATTHEW VANTRYON | SPORTS EDITOR
Ask the Butler football team what went wrong in last week’s loss versus Jacksonville University, and one answer rises to the surface: It was the little things.
Butler faces Stetson University this Saturday, and junior quarterback Matt Shiltz said the team needs to focus on every aspect of its game.
“It’s those attention to detail things,” he said. “We can’t be having those five-yard penalties and false starts, and we’ve got to make sure we’re all on the same page and communicating.”
Head coach Jeff Voris echoed his quarterback’s thoughts.
“We’ve got to go back to the little things we do when we have success,” he said. “Can we be tough enough to move forward? It’s not so much the experiences you have, but it’s what you do with those experiences. We can’t worry about yesterday. We’ve got to win (in practice) this week, and travel well, and take care of our bodies, and do the things we need to do academically. Then, you show up and play three hours on Saturday, that’s the fun part.”
Shiltz said preparation for Saturday does not just during practice.
“It’s running those few extra sprints after practice, running a few extra reps to make sure we’re on the same page,” he said. “There’s going out and executing the game plan, but there’s also making sure you’re mentally prepared, getting in the film room throughout the week or getting into the training room to get your treatment times in. All those things that go on behind the scenes, you still need to get them in order to be successful Saturday night.”
Shiltz said developing a game plan is up to the coaching staff.
“I thought the game plan was great, it’s just up to the players to execute,” Shiltz said. “I’m sure the coaches will have another great game plan this week and we’ll prepare. We need to prepare like this is the most important game of the season, which it is.”
Meanwhile, Voris and the coaching staff aren’t pressing the panic button because of one bad week.
“I don’t think it changes how our guys go about their week,” Voris said. “You got beat by arguably a better team, and we’ve got to play better if we’re going to play at the top of our league this season. You’ve got to believe in your brand and do the things that got you there. You’ve got to finish, whether it’s a drive or a game or whatever it is.”
Voris said the defensive-back turned quarterback does his part in helping the team succeed.
“He has the intangibles you look for in that position,” he said. “He’s a great leader with a great work ethic and he studies the game. He’ll be the first to tell you he’s a work in progress, but he has started the season well.”
Stetson will pose a difficult challenge for the Bulldogs. The Hatters are coming off a 37-19 win last week at Birmingham-Southern College which saw them pile up 479 yards of offense, including 346 on the ground.
The heavy rushing attack may play into the Bulldogs’ favor. Butler comes into the game with the top rush defense in the Pioneer Football League, allowing an average of only 103 yards per game.
Shiltz will face a Stetson defense that allows only 197 yards per game through the air. Shiltz is averaging 275 yards per game.
Despite the tough task at hand, Voris is confident his squad will be prepared.
“There are enough guys that love what we’re doing and enjoy playing football and understand that they’ve got to be a little bit better for the guy next to them next week,” he said. “I’m excited, I think this group will rebound.”