Baldwin Baker University coach Mike Grossner will take an opposite approach when preparing his team for today's game against No. 22 Graceland University. Game time is 1:30 p.m. at Liston Stadium.
The last two weeks, Grossner's attempts at firing up his team in the locker room have backfired with consecutive listless first halves for the Wildcats.
"I got them a little tense heading out of the locker room," Grossner said. "This week I'll keep them loose."
Playing harder in the first half will be crucial for Baker (4-4 overall and Heart of America Athletic Conference) after it couldn't overcome a 33-0 deficit to Benedictine College last week and a 20-0 deficit the week before against Lindenwood.
In each game, the offense rallied in the second half but fell short. The losses took Baker from the HAAC's upper echelon with a 4-2 record to a 4-4 record, good for fourth place.
Grossner said the Wildcats needed to establish control offensively early in the game to take pressure off its defense. The Wildcats' defense will have an enormous task at hand trying to slow Graceland's passing game.
The Yellowjackets (6-2) are led by quarterback Clayton Braddock, ranked first in the conference in passing. Braddock averages 261 yards through the air and has thrown 16 touchdown passes, and Graceland averages 432 yards of total offense -- easily the highest in the conference.