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Wofford Players Return After Rare Three-Day Break
Three days off in the middle of a college football season. It’s a rare thing. No practices. No weight room. No film sessions. No breakfast checks.
Wofford players were dismissed on Wednesday evening and told they were free men until Sunday afternoon, when preparation begins in earnest for the Terriers (2-1) to start the Southern Conference schedule against Furman.
For some, especially those from an easy driving distance away, having an open date was the first chance to get home since training camp in August. Wofford fourth-year junior quarterback Mitch Allen used to be one of those guys who couldn’t wait to go home. In his younger days, he bolted the six hours back to Cincinnati (Sycamore High School) as often as he could.
At that time, the Terriers were loaded with Ohio players, including running back Dane Romero (Lakota West High), he of 23 touchdowns as a senior in 2008.
“I remember Dane telling me that when he got older, he never wanted to leave and go home,” Allen said. “I’d say, ‘Dane, I’m going to drive home. Do you want to come with me?’ He’d say, ‘Nah. I’m going to stay here.’ It’s kind of funny how that happens. Now I fit that mold. We enjoy it here and we want to stay here.”
Allen and many of the other upperclassmen have been on campus not only since August but since early summer.
“What happens, especially with the older guys, is that this becomes home to them,” Wofford head coach Mike Ayers said. “They see this as being an opportunity to rest and relax in their normal environment. They can take advantage of the facilities if they want. And, quite frankly, travel time to and back is quite a bit for some of them.”
Senior offensive lineman Ben Wilmoth, for example, is from Arlington, Texas. He stayed put.
“I think it’s just a way for all of us to hang out and bond a little bit,” he said. “We can relax and recuperate. It’s good for us to sit around and watch some football and then get right back to work on Sunday.”
Could losing three days of preparation be detrimental to a Wofford team that went 2-5 in the league last season and lost the last one to Furman, 58-21?
“It can’t hurt us,” said junior defensive end Ameet Pall from Montreal. “I think it’s a good time for a rest, even though some of us might like a bye week a little later in the season. We’ve only had three games. But it’s a good rest before SoCon. Furman is a big game for us. We’ll be fresh, we’ll have our legs back and we’ll be ready to go.”
It’s difficult to gauge the Terriers so far. They lost to Ohio University, a bowl team from the higher FBS level, and then beat Charleston Southern (FCS newcomer) and Union College (NAIA) of Barbourville, Ky.
“First and foremost,” Ayers said, “our guys have earned it. They’ve worked hard. The games we’ve played have been physical ball games. After this, there’s no down time. There are no breaks. This is the only window of opportunity we had.”
“This is our last pit stop,” senior safety Tommy Irvin said. “To go where we want to go, it’s a long way to the end of the season.”