The Ottawa University football team has been inconsistent through each game. That inconsistent play has led to giving up big plays on defense and special teams.
The Braves spotted Avila two quick touchdowns only to fight back to tie the homecoming game at 14-14, but then were outplayed for a stretch and it led to a 40-28 defeat Saturday at AdventHealth Field.
“We are consistently inconsistent,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said. “It is the same (things) every week, they are just happening in different places. It is not like we have to fix this one guy.”
Kessinger said this season has been a big learning curve for the younger players.
“It is a lot of getting young guys older in a lot of cases,” Kessinger said. “We are pretty thin in play makers all the way around. Every once in a while we have to give a guy a break and we will do it with a younger guy or we will get lined up in the wrong place.”
Kessinger said the there is work to be done to become more consistent.
“The coaches have to find the right guys that will make plays for us,” he said. “Players have to step up and continue to get better. It is a process.”
The defense, which surrendered 471 yards to Avila, had trouble at times finishing tackles.
“Our tackling was terrible,” Kessinger said. “We are in the right places. We breakdown and do the fundamentals right, everything is good. When we are not, we try to tackle with our shoulders as opposed to wrapping up. We are not in a good spot. We have to be able to eliminate the big plays.”
Offensively, the Braves had good moments mixed in with some negative plays.
“The second half we started playing pitch-and-catch,” Kessinger said. “We moved down the field and put in the end zone a couple of times.”
Senior quarterback Connor Kaegi was 28-of-43 with an interception for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Colton Davis was the top receiver with nine receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Kessinger said one area of improvement is getting Kaegi to stay in the pocket and not scramble as much.
“Sometimes we had some clean pockets,” Kessinger said. “Connor a couple of times walked himself into a couple of sacks, pressures or hurries. That is an issue we have worked on the last three weeks is he may have a clean pocket, but he gets ansty and starts moving out. Sixty percent of the time, when he moves out he moves into more pressure. We will continue to keep him in the pocket and tell him to get rid of the ball quicker. We will look at film. It is never as good or as bad (as you think).”
Kessinger said the defense needs to put more pressure on opposing offenses.
“We are trying to get all our pressure with our front four,” he said. “Our blitzes have a tendency to be in the middle. We need to do what we did last year and get into bring some edge pressure. Mix it up and make people think what we are doing.”
Ottawa (1-4, 1-4) plays Saturday on the road against McPherson (3-2, 3-2).