MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- Make no mistake about it. Western Illinois is anything but pleased with its start to Missouri Valley Conference play.
"It's on everybody to do their jobs," senior tight end Alie Walker said.
"If we do that, everything will come around."
Two weeks ago Homecoming ended on a sour note in a 23-3 loss to Illinois State and further emphasized the need to improve a Leatherneck offense which ranks last in the conference.
"We've got to be able to earn some first downs on offense so that we can eat up some clock and keep our defense off the field," head coach Mark Hendrickson said.
"Then, when we get in the red zone we can't just settle for Pat Smith field goals, we've got to score touchdowns as well."
Walker says it's a team effort.
"When nine people do their jobs and one doesn't then that play is not successful," Walker noted.
"But if everyone locks in, does their job, and does what their supposed to do, then we'll do our job, and the defense will be happy. They can sit on the sidelines and watch us play football."
Maybe a week off is the remedy.
A break in the schedule allowed Western to heal and put the focus back on execution.
"We just needed to practice on blocking and tackling, and hanging on to the football," Hendrickson indicated. "Some of those things we've done better than others during the season but we need to be more consistent in all of it."
Western turns to the road for a rebound playing three of its next four games away from Hanson Field starting with Saturday's trip to the Valley's newest member, South Dakota.
It's a clash between two teams looking to even their marks inside the league.
"It's very difficult to play on the road," junior defensive lineman Ryan Demming said.
"But I feel like we're a strong team and we're coming to come out and do well."
Walker added: "Going on the road and playing anyone in this conference is pretty tough. The (Dakota) Dome is going to be rockin' I'm sure and they're going to try and make up for last week, dropping a game to Illinois State. It's going to be a pretty tall task."
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