Kevin Porter knows he has to be patient, but that doesn’t mean he’s happy about it.
The first-year Fort Valley State head coach saw some improvements from his Wildcats in their second game last week, but that game ended like their first — in a loss. Fort Valley State will try for its first win of the season in its first home game at 6 p.m. on Saturday against Clark Atlanta.
“That’s part of the process. We’d like for it to take hold a lot quicker,” Porter said of last week’s loss. “But it’s part of the process. We’ve been with this group for about two months, so we’re really starting to be able to get them to understand what we’re trying to accomplish. Every day we grow. Each time we go out, we feel like we learn some things about ourselves, and we just have to continue to do that.”
The Wildcats appeared to improve on defense from their first game to their second. In a 34-21 loss to Miles to open the season, Fort Valley State allowed 460 yards.
Last week, the Wildcats surrendered 248 yards in a 10-7 loss to Lane.
“It’s scheme and our kids understanding the scheme,” Porter said of his defense and its improvements. “But really it just comes down to trusting the guy next to you, knowing that he’s doing everything that he’s supposed to do and knowing that he’s where he’s supposed to be so you don’t have players trying to do too much. We had some of that our first game with guys trying to do too much and not just taking care of their own business.
“We didn’t have as much of that last week, and this week, we’re just trying to make sure we can get everybody dialed in and having everyone try to focus on their individual assignment and try to win their individual battle.”
Offensively, the Wildcats took a step back in their second game. After scoring 21 points in the first half of the opener, the Wildcats have scored just seven points since.
“The biggest thing we saw was that we’ve got to play every moment as hard as we possibly can,” Porter said. “I thought we played very well on defense. We tackled better than we did in the first game. Just offensively, we couldn’t get anything going. For us to be successful, we’ve got to be functional at a high level in all three phases.
“There are a lot of recurring things for us. Again, the kids played very, very hard. But we’ve got to see if we can carry those things over, carry over the good things and correct the bad things.”
Clark Atlanta is 1-1 after losing to Tuskegee and beating Central State. Matthew Daniels leads the Panthers with 133 rushing yards on 24 carries, while Jaha McCray has 110 yards on 19 carries. Clark Atlanta has used two quarterbacks — Deshawn Blow (11-for-31 for 202 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions) and Johnathon McCrary (10-for-28 for 146 yards with two interceptions). McCrary played for Vanderbilt last year but transferred to Mercer this summer only to transfer to Clark Atlanta before the season began.
On defense, the Panthers have recorded eight tackles for loss.
“I think they’re a good football team,” Porter said of the Panthers. “They’re really active on defense. You look at them offensively; they’re going to major in running the football. We’ve got to do a very good job against the run. We improved against the run from our first game to our second game. We’ve got to do that again this week.”