The Ohio Wesleyan Battling Bishops have gotten off to an electric start in the 2021 football season. With early season road victories over Otterbein in a close 32-28 game and a 62-6 victory at Oberlin, the Bishops started off hot.
With their first two games being away, it seems they have handled the changes to a full season well. Instead of playing only three games like last year, the Bishops have a 10-game schedule.
Coming into the season, veteran tight end Michael Craider said, “Preparation wise, the team didn't do anything different this year than they did last year,” despite this year being a full season. ”The team worked just as hard as they always do and, considering the season ended in the spring last year, everyone came back already knowing the playbook, making the team a step ahead.”
Zane Ries and Craider both said in their interviews that the mindset of going undefeated is the focus every day in practice, mentioning that the focus for both the coaches and them as leaders has been to push the winning mindset throughout the team.
Along with the number of games played, the whole atmosphere of the game has changed as coronavirus rules are changing.
With people coming back into the stands, the city of Delaware gets to enjoy the games this year along with the students.
OWU PA announcer Tony Carter said, “It’s great to have people back in the stands, it just makes the game so much better and enjoyable.”
This season, the home opener against Wooster had happy fans back in the stands, and definitely influenced the Bishops as they won 31-7. The game was an exciting time for Ohio Wesleyan as 1,550 attended the stadium for the game.
Ries said, “The senior leadership is amazing across the board” with players like Craider, Shane Quin and other great seniors being leaders on and off the field.
That leadership is looking to give the Bishops the ability to mentally and physically withstand a full season of practice and games, which will be a huge difference for freshmen and sophomores who haven't experienced it. Ries looks to be a vocal leader and a guy his teammates can go to as the season progresses.
The team's leadership looks to keep the winning goal alive going forward throughout the season.