FORT VALLEY -- The 2-3 record is frustrating.
The 47.1-percent passing completion rate is discouraging, as are the eight interceptions thrown compared to three touchdowns.
Failing to make a field goal is disappointing.
There are all sorts of numbers this season for Fort Valley State that leave the Wildcats mumbling.
But the most distressing? In five games, the Wildcats have had 70 penalties stepped off for 647 yards.
Cut the flags in half, and the Wildcats could easily be 4-1 and getting votes in national polls heading into this weeks game at Kentucky State. The self-induced problems are aggravating, but head coach Donald Pittman knows whatll happen when they cease.
With all that, were still the No. 1 team in the (SIAC) East, he said. It looks like its gloom and all that. But again, still, theres a number of teams that would like to be in our position right now.
If the Wildcats keep up the penalty pace, they might be joined by a number of teams in the regular season and watching the postseason.
Add offensive and defensive snaps plus special teams, and the Wildcats get a flag roughly once every 10.4 plays.
The impact of the lost yardage and nullified plays is huge, and sometimes the numbers can be fairly stunning.
FVSU has given up more yardage in penalties than its defense has given up in rushing and not by a play or two. Opponents have 145 fewer yards on the ground than the Wildcats have in penalty yardage. And FVSU has outrushed the penalty yardage by only 43 yards.
Penalties against Tuskegee in the first half alone cost FVSU 30 yards in field position on two kickoff returns, and the Wildcats had 15-yard flags on consecutive Tuskegee possessions.
Pass interference and personal fouls have been an issue all season. There was a third-and-14 roughing-the-passer flag late in the game Saturday as the Wildcats tried to come back.
The pass interferences, they can go eight way, Pittman said. Third-and-long, and (the defender) is in place, and they call pass interference.
For the night, FVSU avoided penalties on only five Tuskegee possessions.
Pittman and his staff have put the Wildcats through the requisite conditioning penalties, but being in better shape doesnt help counter the gifts of yardage and plays.
Especially the gifts from personal fouls or late hits.
Its a correlation, Pittman said. When youre going against each other, offense and defense, we dont want anybody hitting the ground. Take care of your teammate. Thats discipline.
So the staff has to tone down the physicality of practice and hope the discipline carries over.
They want to hit the people on offense, Pittman said of the defense on Wednesday, the final physical practice of the week. Theyre defensive guys, theyre aggressive like that. So we have to stop and tell them, You practice to win the game, but you dont do that because a collision is a collision. You can get hurt, you can get injured. We dont need any collisions. Just wrap up and take care of your teammate, and we win the game on Saturday.
While the offense is still struggling on its own, the flags have been FVSUs biggest opponent.
If we eliminate the penalties, we win, Pittman said. Were still in the drivers seat. We just got to take care of our business.