The Weekly Take

Home-field advantage is something in sports that has been around forever. Some may call it a superstition while others may call it fact. Clearly, head football coach Chris Ball sees it as fact.

Last week Ball took the Lumberjacks down to Chandler High School. The two-hour drive was to get the boys used to traveling before playing a game. All they did was scrimmage among one another — they didn’t even play another team. So, what is the purpose of lugging equipment and nearly 100 men down south?

Home-field advantage is the edge a team has over the visiting team because of their familiarity with the field. If you have ever played a sport, regardless of how much talent you had, you know that someone else’s pitchers mound, goal post or 50-yard line is entirely different.

Not only does playing away from home throw an athlete’s luck off, the fans in the stands are usually rooting for the other team. If you are unlucky enough, some fans boo the visiting team more than they cheer for the home team.

So, with all of this being considered, you would think a team would travel the least they can. Ball had a different thought, one that would actually benefit the team, but hearing mumbles and grunts of confusion from the team was something I am sure happened in the locker room after Ball announced their travel plans.

In all honesty, I get why he did it. Sitting in a bus for two to three hours is nothing compared to their usual day of travel.

If they play on a Saturday, the team usually flies out of Flagstaff on Friday, plays Saturday afternoon and are back in Flagstaff by Saturday night. Feeling cooped up on a plane or a bus can cause tension and ultimately affect the game. Let’s be honest, hotel beds aren’t always the most comfortable. Not to mention the possibility of forgetting jerseys, equipment or other game day essentials.

Whereas if they have a home game, plentiful resources are basically at their fingertips.

No one asked me, but I know home-field advantage is real and should be considered, especially at the collegiate level.

Coach Ball knows what he is doing. Taking a bus ride for a couple of hours just to practice on a high school field probably sounds a little goofy, but the things that are odd usually work best. As I said, this well-versed coach has an agenda.

The reign of Jerome Souers has officially ended with the start of the spring football season.

Souers’ practice regimen for the team consisted of weightlifting sessions, outdoor practices and meetings.

Ball hasn’t even made it to the spring game and he has already switched the teams style. Change is not for everyone, especially for some veteran players. Ball is here to build a team for the future not baby old players.