The words said one thing, but maybe the actions said another.
Fort Valley State didnt overlook Savannah State, owner of three consecutive 1-10 seasons. But the Wildcats couldnt take advantage of playing well enough to win the game.
So instead of building on the effort and execution from a season-opening 36-21 loss to defending national champion Valdosta State, FVSU blew a 13-0 lead on the road and lost 27-20 to fall to 0-2.
Thus, it has been a week of some regrouping.
Tell them what we have to improve on, not just telling the kids its their fault, FVSU head coach Donald Pittman said. The coaches, its their fault, as well. We have to take care of the details.
FVSU opens SIAC play at winless Clark Atlanta -- the game had been set for Griffin, but was moved to Clark Atlanta -- and theres little sense of overconfidence in Fort Valley.
Saturdays behind us, senior linebacker DeRon Furr said. Were just trying to get ready for this week, prepare ourselves the best we can and get a win.
Clark Atlanta and FVSU are among the six 0-2 teams in the SIAC and four in the East Division. The Panthers are down already in conference play, losing 27-6 to Stillman last week.
Right now, we need a victory, Pittman said. We need to go in and play, not make any mistakes and win this game. Were not taking anything for granted.
Clark Atlanta is among the bottom 25 percent in Division II in all sorts of statistics: rush defense (132nd, 222 yards per game); total defense (138th, 498.5 yards per game); pass efficiency defense (138th, 166.02 points); total offense (158th, 193.5 yards per game) and pass efficiency offense (159th, 72.76 points).
And the Panthers are last in passing offense (19.5 yards per game) and scoring offense (6.0 points per game).
The lack of passing isnt surprising with a wing-T offense, but not scoring is not scoring. That can change quickly with the misdirection plan.
An option team, speed sweep, Furr said. Theyve got a nice scheme. We have to be pretty disciplined.
Clark Atlanta has a solid Middle Georgia influence.
Linebacker Justin Parham is a junior from John Milledge and linebacker Shaqown Smith a freshman from Fitzgerald. Justin Marcus is a freshman linebacker from Northeast. Running back Donald Fleming (Mount de Sales) transferred from Georgia State.
The Panthers have some transfers from major programs on the roster: running back Bradley Battles from South Florida, back/wideout Aaron Hayward from Rutgers and linebacker Terrance Pryor from Iowa.
Clark Atlanta went 2-8 last year, including a 26-3 loss at FVSU, and Kevin Weston is the Panthers sixth full-time head coach since the turn of the century.
FVSU clearly won the statistical battle last week, although the Tigers picked off three passes. The Wildcats were flagged nearly 20 times, had a punt blocked and gave up a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Were stressing penalties and improving special teams, Pittman said.
A major bright spot was the emergence of Malcolm Eady at running back. He was an option quarterback at Swainsboro as a senior in 2009, earning all-state honors. He played at least one season at Eastern Arizona College but is listed as a freshman.
Im a running back with a quarterback arm, said Eady, cleared administratively to play at the start of last week. (Running back) is really my primary position.
He ran 15 times for 80 yards with no lost yardage.
I knew he could run, Pittman said. He can only get better. The more reps, the more time he plays, hell get better.