“At the point we’re in, it’s kind of do or die,” AJ Akins, a junior defensive lineman said. “We’ve got to go into every game like it’s a playoff game.”
Rowan football is keeping the “do or die” mindset as they prepare to play this week against Kean University. The team endured a rough stretch of games to start the season and they have a 0-3.
“I feel like the biggest lesson we’ve learned as a group, both offensively and defensively . . . you’re going to get punched in the mouth with football, with school, with life, you know, and it’s all about how you respond,” Akins said. “You can stand up and fight or you can lay down and take it. I know, I feel like as a team, we’re standing up and we’re going to keep fighting regardless of what the outcome is.”
In the last three, they have played one game because of two bye weeks. In addition to extra time to practice, the byes provided time for some of Rowan’s injured players to return according to head coach, Jay Accorsi.
“We’re getting Malachi Winters [senior defensive] back, who we haven’t had since the first game of the season,” Accorsi said. “That affects the defense as well because that’s kind of your quarterback of the defense.”
Akins explained that the return of Winters also provides the defense with a boost to their morale heading into this week’s game.
“He’s a very team oriented guy. Not having him out there with our unit kind of slows us down just because, you know, we’re missing our friend,” Akins said. “Having him back is definitely going to help with the morale standpoint and it’s also going to help on the field as well.”
Last week’s bye will be the last of the season for Rowan and the team is now scheduled to finish out the regular season with six straight games. While some may enjoy the break, Akins has been left waiting eagerly to get back out on the field.
“I hate bye weeks because I don’t like the break,” Akins said. “I love going out there every Saturday with my guys and having these six straight weeks of being able to do that and being able to get on a roll, I think, will really help this team especially if we can get this win this Saturday against Kean.”
After the winless start, Akins understands that his team may not be most people’s pick in this Saturday’s game. However, Akins trusts his team and to him, that’s all that matters.
“We’re excited,” Akins said. “We’re ready to go on the road and beat a team that, on paper, like I’ve said, people think are better than us. But again, we have a lot of confidence in ourselves as a unit and it’ll show on Saturday.”
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