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Road(Rock Band?)Warriors's style.

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Road(Rock Band?)Warriors's style.

Road becomes comfort zone

Published Sunday, October 10, 2004
by Hannon Deutsch

SAN MARCOS, Texas ? The Owls have traveled more like a rock band than a football team this season. A total of 10 nights have been spent in hotels since the season started and the Owls have one more stop before coming home to play their first game in front of friends and family.
The tour kicked off with three shows on the road in Hawaii, Texas and Tennessee. After three successful stops, FAU jumped back on a chartered plane and headed to Texas State University to end a three-week layoff. The team spent one night at the Marriott in Austin and left with a 20-13 win. The Owls not only arrived home late Saturday night with a 4-0 record, but extended their road winning streak to nine games.
The coaches will not only spend today grading the game, but will also get their first look of the next opponent ? Northern Colorado. Monday will be spent looking at more film and so will Tuesday morning before the Owls prepare to get back on a plane and fly west across two time zones.
While the Owls won?t play their first game at Lockhart Stadium until Oct. 23 versus Louisiana-Monroe, the road has become quite comfortable. As wide receivers and tight ends coach John Vandevere points out, the reason for the success on the road comes down to rituals.
"They?re used to the same rituals," Vandevere said. "From the hotel you go to the stadium, have dinner, have your meetings and go to your room. Then you wake up, have your special teams meeting, eat your meal, grab your stuff and get on the bus and it?s time to play."
On the day before a home game the players aren?t together until the evening when they arrive at a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. From class they go to their dorms, hang out with friends, do other stuff and then meet at the hotel. On the road, they are together all the time. According to Vandevere, there are simply more distractions at home.
"The biggest thing I think we?ve seen is there is a conflict of getting tickets for the family, friends and girlfriends [for home games]," Vandevere said. "When there is a home game the parents won?t tell them until Friday night?can you get a couple of tickets for me? That right there can bother them because they are not fully mentally ready to go because they are still dealing with family stuff. Or they are trying to make the big play in front of their parents at the home game.
"When we go away it?s all business. There is no distractions at all from any outside source. I just think they play a lot better and our record on the road seems to show that. I personally think that we like to play on the road better. You know you?re there for business, you?re not there to see the sights or the town."
For the 30-plus seniors that fill the Owls roster, nothing is more important than playing the best game of the year every time out. It just so happens when this season ends many will leave the game behind. But for now, they are all just enjoying the tour.
"We?re more focused because we?re away from our surroundings," defensive end William Gray said. "The only thing we have is football."

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