Bulls regroup following first loss in 2018

UB puts Army behind them, now focused on Central Michigan and MAC play

Jon Simon
October 02, 2018 - 6:58 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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The UB Bulls suffered their first loss of the 2018 season this past Saturday when they fell at home to Army 42-13.

Saturday’s defeat was the Bulls' first loss since October 28, 2017, snapping the seven-game win streak UB was on going back to last season.

“[Our team] was disappointed,” Bulls head coach Lance Leipold said at Tuesday’s press conference. “But, there’s a maturity with this group that hasn’t gone through a loss in a while and they way they approach the loss as of right now is a blip on the screen. And the plan now is what do we do moving forward.”

To figure out that plan moving forward, there were a lot of discussions amongst the Bulls personnel. Coach Leipold said they had meetings with groups and coaches about regrouping and figuring out what needs to be improved.

 “We talked about some things and met with our leaders,” Leipold explained. “We went out on Monday and I thought we had a very good day.”

Having a good week of practice will be crucial for the Bulls if they want to get back to their winning ways. Although they hadn’t lost in a while, most of the team veterans and leaders have experienced losing before; and with the hot start UB got off to this season, surely they wouldn’t want to regress now.

“[The leaders of our team] weren’t happy with the overall results from Saturday,” Leipold said. “The biggest thing is we can’t let one loss cause another one. If we don’t win the game on Saturday it’s because Central Michigan is better than us. We can’t let it be from the fact that we’re sitting there dwelling about what went wrong against Army.  I think we have the type of leadership and type of guys that understand that now.”

The loss to Army was UB’s last non-conference game of 2018. From this weekend’s game against Central through the end of the regular season the Bulls will play only MAC teams. For a team (like UB) that has a shot to win their division and the whole conference, each game is crucial.

“It’s easier to turn the page,” Leipold said in regards to shifting towards the MAC portion of the schedule. “Even if we won that game Saturday we would’ve been turning the page quickly because conference play is now here. Either way, it’s truly that 24-hour rule, you have to flush [the last game] out and get ready to go.”

Something else the Bulls will need to flush out of their heads this week is the thought of possibly not having Anthony Johnson 100-percent available for the second straight week.

The Bulls' star receiver was very limited against Army due to a nagging leg injury. He was only on the field for a handful of snaps, mostly in goal line situations.

“I sure hope so,” Leipold replied when being asked if Johnson would contribute more against Central Michigan. “But right now I’d say we’re in the same spot we sat in a week ago. It’s a day to day thing with him right now and that’s probably as far as we’re going to go with it.”

UB’s offense was noticeably different without Johnson; however some of that has to be credited to the Army defense. Regardless, the Bulls' offense has enough talent to fill the void left by Johnson until he’s fully healthy.

“When you lose one of your more productive players there has to be a ‘next man up’ mentality,” Leipold said. “You don’t have any options so you can’t spend any time dwelling on it and that’s why as you go through practices you have to make sure everyone is locked into what they’re supposed to do and give them opportunities. Some of the guys we’ve been talking about, somewhere along the line took advantage of an opportunity somewhere in their younger part of their career and that’s what we’ll need. We can’t make excuses. We have to play who’s available.”

Kickoff on Saturday from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. You can hear the full game along with pre-game and post-game coverage on ESPN 1520.

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