After losing two games in the final minutes that would have propelled the team to a national ranking and possible BCS chatter, the Cougars are now focused on what was their initial goal coming into the season.
"It's a new season", said linebacker Cameron Jensen. "We had sort of what was our preseason and didn't win some games we should have, but now we're putting it all behind us starting with TCU. Winning the conference title is our goal and that begins by hopefully beating TCU this coming Thursday."
"We're very aware of the opportunities in front of us," said quarterback John Beck regarding the impending conference play. "It's time to put everything behind us and look forward to the opportunity we have to win this conference."
Having to play the defending conference champs on a short week is not ideal for any team. Compound that with the conference champ having a bye the week before and things start to look grim. The Cougars will have to utilize the next 2 days more effectively than normal to be running on all cylinders come Thursday night.
"We're ahead of schedule in watching film and all the other game prep if we were to play Saturday, but since we're playing on Thursday we're just putting it all together so we get as much game prep as we would normally," said Beck. "When you're going into a short week with a lot of seniors and experience, which we have, then it makes it easier to prepare."
For now, the Cougars are spending extra time in the film room with practices being a bit more compressed and intense early on. The prep work is now dependent on the players putting in personal work outside of normal practice time.
"It's on us," said Beck regarding the task to prepare for the game on a short week. "This isn't the week where you can just do all the work in practice, and I know that most of the players on this team realize that. You'll see a lot of players coming to the facilities on their own time to do prep work. I know that I am along with the receivers."
For the last week, Beck wore a boo on his injured ankle. The only time he did not have it on was at practice. He intents to wear it at all times for the next two to three weeks so I will be fully healthy. Beck is even bumming rides around campus in an effort to keep as much pressure off his ankles as possible.
"I'm feeling better," said Beck. "The rest definitely helped a lot. The two weeks before today I was struggling to move in practice, so the rest time definitely helped and I think it will be an advantage going into this next game."
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