Bobcats back to work for playoff run

Published 11:27 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Coming off their regular season ending loss to Andalusia, the Opp Bobcats quickly shifted focus to the first round of the Class 4A playoffs this week as they take on UMS-Wright.

Opp coach Jack Whigham said he is still proud of the way his team played last Friday.

“First of all, I think our kids played as hard as they could play,” Whigham said. “I don’t see any shame in losing to Andalusia. I knew they had a good football team regardless of what the record said. I knew they had tremendous talent and I knew they had very capable coaches.

“While we would have liked to win the game and I was disappointed that we didn’t, after watching the film, my initial reaction Friday night is the same,” he said. “I thought our kids played extremely hard, but we just didn’t execute quite well enough to win the game.”

Whigham said the team is not executing at the physical level he needs them to be.

“We’re focusing on execution right now,” he said. “It’s not that we are not knowing what to do and not that we don’t know how to do it. It’s just we’re physically not able to do certain things right now.

“When you are a smaller football team like we are and you get beat up as the year goes on, we’ve had some injuries. Of course everybody has, that’s not an excuse. Right now, we’re not matching up physically with our opponents.”

As a coach, Whigham has been to the playoffs before and said there are factors that have to be considered when wanting to be successful.

“I had been fortunate enough to be in the playoffs several times before throughout my coaching career,” Whigham said. “One thing you have to do in the playoffs is you’ve got to be able to travel and play in unfamiliar surroundings. You’ve got to adjust to different officials who you’ve never seen. You’ve to be able to handle the long trips and the weather.”

Whigham added that one week, “It may be 70 degrees, a nice autumn night and the next week it might be 35 degrees.”

As far as instilling a team philosophy to the players, Whigham said they might try some things they will use next year.

“We’re going to look at some things we might end up evolving into next year,” he said. “It’s a chance for us to get into an extra week of practice. It’s a chance to get another look at some kids that have come on.”

Whigham added that the one thing that is being stressed to players is that they take advantage of the opportunity to play in the playoffs.

“We’re guaranteed one more week,” Whigham said. “That’s all we’re guaranteed. We don’t need to take anything for granted and we need to enjoy this time together and enjoy being a team and being around each other. Whenever our season ends, our seniors will be leaving us, but they’ll be on campus and won’t be with us as far as lifting and practicing.

“I want to enjoy the time around the players,” he said. “Ten years from now I feel like they can talk to me and tell me what’s going on in their life and it’s just another week to form those friendships and those bonds.”

Kickoff in Mobile is at 7 p.m.