There’s a certain attitude at Cal Poly football practice these days. Call it inertia.
It seems the longer the No. 14 Mustangs (6-0, 4-0 Big Sky Conference) go without losing a game, the easier it is for the players to maintain the work schedule needed to perform at a high level.
Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said the weekend victory celebrations bleed naturally into Monday morning’s running sessions and a practice schedule that demands every player to be up before sunrise for 6 a.m. starts.
“Being 6-0 creates a little bit of a more emotional uprising,” sophomore slotback Cole Stanford said. “I think that helps us carry on throughout practice, keep our energy up and stuff. I’m not saying every day is a great day of practice, but the emotional aspect of being 6-0 is bringing our team a little bit higher emotionally at practice.”
It comes along with being one of only four remaining unbeaten FCS teams in the country.
Only No. 9 Lehigh (7-0) and No. 17 Tennessee State (7-0) have better records. The other undefeated team is No. 22 Harvard (5-0).
The top eight teams ranked in The Sports Network’s top 25 media poll can’t say the same, including new No. 1 Eastern Washington, which will host Cal Poly in Spokane on Nov. 3.
Going into tonight’s game against Portland State, the Mustangs’ confidence is at a season high.
“We try not to make it any different,” Stanford said, “but as the weeks have progressed, our chemistry has gotten better. I think we’re coming into this game more confident than we were week 1, 2 and 3, but I think even week 1, 2 and 3, we were confident we were going to come through with the W.”
With each passing week, the stakes are also raised.
Cal Poly continues to be one of the frontrunners to win the Big Sky title and the automatic playoff berth that goes with it, but it’s not too late for the Mustangs to play themselves out of the postseason. They need to keep winning.
“When you’re winning and you’ve won every week, the fun of the game is there every week,” Walsh said. “You can definitely see there’s an air about them or a feeling about them right now that they feel good about themselves and they should. We’ve done a lot of good things, but we can’t look behind us. The feel-good process has got to continue.”