PITTSBURGH — Duquesne was out-manned and out-matched during their season-opening loss to UMass last Saturday.
But while the result was lopsided, not everything head coach Jerry Schmitt saw on the film was a negative.
“There was some really good things that we did, it’s just with a team that has that kind of speed, every one of our small mistakes was magnified,” Schmitt said after practice on Wednesday. “They took advantage of it. We made some critical mistakes, turning the ball over in our end. You can’t do that against a team like that.”
Duquesne (0-1) vs Lock Haven (0-0)
When: Saturday, Sept. 1, 2 p.m.
Where: Rooney Field (Amherst, Mass.)
Stream: NEC Front Row
Radio: WJAS-AM 1320/IHeartRadio
That included starting quarterback Daniel Parr, who beat out Brett Brumbaugh in the final days of training camp, but threw three interceptions in the loss.
“We made the decision a lot on mobility and it showed throughout the game,” Schmitt said. “That helped him a lot, his feet. He has a really good arm, but his feel helped him make plays. He also showed a competitiveness that is tough to come out in practice, because you’re not going full speed and the lights aren’t on all the time. It was something that impressed us.”
Parr said he felt that the mistakes he made were “easily correctable” and should be able to be turned around this Saturday, when the Dukes have their 2018 home opener at Rooney Field against Lock Haven.
It’ll be a vast gap in talent from the Dukes’ first opponent to their second. The Minutemen, an FBS independent, to the Bald Eagles, who went 2-9 in Division II PSAC East last season. That’ll mean likely evaluation challenges the other way for Schmitt.
“For me, it’s easy, because I’ve been touting all camp we need to just play our best football and not even look at the scoreboard,” he said.
One area that went relatively untested against UMass was the Duquesne running game, with preseason All-American A.J. Hines getting just nine carries. Schmitt said he wishes they’d have done a better job of keeping the running game going despite going down three scores early.
“I think we probably should have stuck a little bit more with out game plan even though we were down a number of touchdowns,” he said. “Some of our positive drives were based off that.”
Obviously, with Duquesne facing a low-level opponent, Schmitt is expecting a victory on Saturday, but more importantly, he’s looking for a more consistent overall effort, with fewer mistakes from his key performers.
“Week One to Week 2 is the biggest jump that you make,” he said “We’ll be able to see that. It will be different talent, but we know how our guys play. The corrections that we made last Saturday, we’ve got to do it better.”