Jeff Thorne on Adjustments, Character and Focus following North Central football’s strong second half and victory vs Illinois Wesleyan.
The North Central football team didn’t get off to the kind of start they are accustomed to in their penultimate home game of the year. Illinois Wesleyan’s defense held the Cardinals to just 13 points in the first half, after which the Titans trailed by just 6 points
“I think they did a really good job game-planning and had some really good schemes on both sides of the ball,” Thorne said of the Titans’ first-half performance. “But the reality, offensively especially, is that we weren’t sustaining blocks up front like we normally do. We missed a couple of reads in our zone-read game, missed a couple of throws.”
But Thorne did praise his defense’s performance, not only in the first half but the entire game. As for the message at halftime, they tried to maintain calm.
“At halftime it was business-like,” Thorne said. “Remember that this is fun, and it’s good to be in a competitive game.”
Competitive games have been a rarity this season for the Cardinals, and their second half performance meant this game didn’t end up being close either.
“We just at halftime said we’re gonna run the ball on our terms and re-establish the line of scrimmage and that’s a credit to our offensive line,” Thorne said.
Thorne had plenty of praise for senior Dan Gilroy and his six tackles, including two sacks, as well as the way the secondary largely shut down the Titans’ passing game.
That includes De’Angelo Roberson, who has two interceptions in two games. Thorne complimented his maturity and skill, particularly as a player who has to often wait for opportunities with not typically starting games.
Thorne said, going into a game against Millikin where the Cardinals will be heavily favored, that he wants his team to focus on being “consistently good rather than occasionally great.”