WILLIAMSTOWN -- When Williams College football coach Aaron Kelton stood up to address Wednesday’s meeting of the Sideline Quarterbacks Club, he said that his team was going "back to the drawing board" in anticipation of Saturday’s visit by Middlebury.
"We’re going back to the foundations of what we want to do offensively and defensively in our program," Kelton said after the meeting. "We’ve got to be good at the little things like ball security and making sure we’re good tacklers and playing with energy and passion.
"If we’re able to do that, then we can move on."
For the second consecutive season, the Ephs enter the game with the Panthers sporting a 1-2 record. Last year, Williams went to Vermont after losing at home to Bates and came home with a victory. A 1-3 record this early in the season would be unacceptable.
"Every week is a big week for us," Eph guard Pete Christiani said. "We have to approach it the same way we do every week. We definitely don’t want to fall below 1-2. Middlebury’s coming in 3-0. They’re coming off a couple of big wins and they’re obviously on a high.
"We’re just attacking it like any other week."
The Panthers will arrive at Weston Field with a five-game winning streak, dating back to last year. Coach Bob Ritter’s team improved to 3-0 with a 24-3 win last week over Amherst. In that game, NESCAC offensive player of the week McCallum Foote was 39 for 60 and 379 yards with two touchdown passes.
The transfer from Brown is the top passer in the conference and has thrown for 1,052 yards -- a figure twice as high as what Eph quarterback Adam Marske has thrown for.
The Ephs bring a 11-game winning streak against the Panthers into the game, but one that could be in danger if they can’t turn some things around.
After scoring 41 points in the opener against Colby, Williams has only scored 19 points in its last two games. In the 33-6 loss to Bates, the Ephs had only 183 total yards and were turned over four times. Seventeen of Bates’ 33 points came off of turnovers. The Bobcats’ first TD followed a Williams fumble, and the second followed an interception on the Ephs’ next drive.
"They did a good job, but we turned the ball over [four times]. We dropped passes. We didn’t line up right on defense," said Kelton. "That’s not them, that’s us."
Marske had his worst day as a collegian, completing only 9 of 23 passes for 71 yards and three interceptions. He managed to only complete one pass to All-NESCAC wide receiver Darren Hartwell for five yards.
"We’ve got to get No. 1 more involved in what we do," said Kelton, referring to Hartwell by his uniform number. "We’re going to expand the package a little bit, but we have to get good at the little things before we can start trying to do some complicated stuff."