Paul Rhoads delivered several messages Saturday after his Cyclones fell to North Dakota State.
In the locker room, he told his team to move on.
In the give-and-take with the news media, he credited NDSU for its fifth win a row against FBS competition.
“They played a great game,” Rhoads said. “They run a great program and they execute very well.”
Rhoads then dissected his team’s play, highlighting several areas that coaches always focus on.
“When you give any team 500-plus total yards and 300 yards rushing, you’re not going to win,” Rhoads said. “When you lose the turnover margin 2-0, you’re not going to win many football games.”
His most important message came on his post-game radio chat with Eric Heft. Rhoads suggested this team would improve more than any of his prior teams from game one to the end of the season.
Rhoads thinks this team can be on an upward-trending line graph the rest of the year because it’s an athletic group and has a desire to be coached. It’s also a squad without much game experience, especially up the middle on defense, in key areas.
The coach saw potential in a good fall camp, but there are areas of concern too. Game reps will be the biggest teacher.
After outings like Saturday, emotions are all over the board. A steady hand from Rhoads will go a long ways in helping his team grow.
A tough loss for sure. But, you can only control what’s ahead. That goes for coaches, players and fans.