Bill Conley is sticking with his job description as Ohio Dominican head football coach and isn't dabbling in amateur meteorology, geology or any other science this week as his team prepares to play 5,466 feet above sea level in a first-round NCAA Division II playoff game in Arvada, Colo.
Bill Conley is sticking with his job description as Ohio Dominican head football coach and isn't dabbling in amateur meteorology, geology or any other science this week.
Asked if he would talk to his players about playing 5,466 feet above sea level in a first-round NCAA Division II playoff game in Arvada, Colo., Conley was blunt.
"If it was July and we'd be running a marathon, maybe I'd be worried," he said. "When I was at Ohio State, we played Colorado, and the altitude was no problem at all. Football is a six-second game (per play). We won't even talk about that."
There will be other factors when the Panthers play the Colorado School of Mines Saturday, such as playing on a grass field and a first-time opponent, but senior quarterback Mark Miller echoed his coach in discussing the game.
ODU, he said, is going into its second playoff game ever with great excitement and optimism. The team lost to West Texas A&M in the first round last season.
"I saw a stat the other day that we're 14-0 on the road" since midway through the 2012 season, Miller said. "We take it one game at a time no matter if the game is just up the street. I do think road games are fun. The players enjoy the experience of being around one another. I know it will be hard for me to go to sleep the night before the trip."
The Panthers got to this point by winning the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Association South Division championship and losing only to North Division champion and Super Region 4 top seed Ferris State 34-19.
Miller said this season was different from 2013.
"We had a red marker on us as the team to beat," he said. "We got everybody's best game. We got a taste of it last season. We're in the playoffs again, and that's going to be the goal every season."
Ohio Dominican plays at at Colorado School of Mines at 2 p.m. Saturday.
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