Vikings work on situational football as week one approaches
Senior running back Malik Walker (27) runs towards a hole in the line during Monday’s scrum.
by Mike Lund
Portland State Football Coach Bruce barnum has his team on the fine line between preparation and maintenance as the Vikings are now within 10 days of their first game of the season at the University of Hawai’i.
The Vikings had a special melee in practice Wednesday morning, trying to deal with unique situations that arise during a game.
“I don’t want any surprises during the game for these guys,” Barnum said. “We’ve gone beyond overtime, starting with the toss. We’ve had situations of two minutes, four minutes, going out of the goal line, entering the goal line. We cross the t’s and point the i’s. on the football field. There is a lot to cover. “
The maintenance part now is about looking ahead and making sure her team are at their peak when they step onto the pitch at the Clarence TC Ching Sports Complex on the University of Hawai’i campus on the 4th. September.
“We are now starting to manage the energy level of the team, to get their legs back for match day. We need them 100%, to get their speed back and how they feel. It’s about time. to handle all the aches and pains. Today was the last day of full ‘live’ strikes, so we can do it, ”Barnum said.
The variety of situations today did not lend themselves to a full team analysis. But some things have come to light. Senior running back Malik walker, who should be the starter, continues to run well. In a series of overtime and a series of four-minute drills, he had four carries for 46 yards. First year linebacker Parker McKenna Looks like he’s ready to anchor the midfielder in defense. He made six tackles in a limited number of games.
More than that, Barnum saw another key to his team: “I’ve seen leadership both in attack and defense. I’ve heard guys on both sides talking to their teammates about situations on the pitch.
“I think our quarterbacks are getting more mature when it comes to organizing the chaos. They’re better at handling everything, good and bad, on the pitch. They’re mature.
“The defense was still a sneeze away from a few turnovers today. There haven’t been a lot of live games but they’ve come together again,” he said.
Portland State is heading to play Hawai’i next week. The Rainbow Warriors open this Saturday with a game at UCLA. This means that the Vikings will not have been seen by Hawai’i, nor will they have any game experience. Meanwhile, Hawai’i will be revealed on national television. Advantage…. who?
“It’s a 50-50 situation,” Barnum said. “They’re going to face UCLA. But the game is constantly changing. When they face us they’ll be at home, but won’t have fans in the stands. You’d think they’re going away and probably being there. “Outsider, we’d be at a disadvantage. That’s an advantage: the Vikings. But playing UCLA and eliminating the problems is an advantage: Hawaii.”
So in Barnum’s book, Hawai’i played a game and the Vikings none was a wash in regards to the impact on September 4th. It will just be about athleticism and skill.
“Speed is the first thing you will see. When we introduce ourselves we will see the real speed right away. They may be the fastest team we are playing this year. In the first two heats for for us, it’s going to be about adapting to that speed, ”Barnum said.
NO FANS, BUT A GAME …: Honolulu City and County officials have informed the University of Hawai’i that fans will not be allowed at UH Manoa’s season opening events due to recent record spike in cases COVID-19 and the resulting overwhelmed hospital capacity. Portland State’s game with Hawai’i at Clarence TC Ching Athletics Complex will not include fans. The match will be televised locally on Spectrum Sports and available live with the Team1Sports app. Details are available here.
NEW VIKING ON THE LIST: Portland State added a wide receiver Marquis needle to the list this week. Spiker is a junior transfer from the University of Washington. He played 10 games in 2019, receiving three receptions for 67 yards. During a three-year high school career in Murrieta Valley (CA), Spiker caught 244 passes for 4,661 yards and 72 touchdowns, breaking the California State record for career receiving touchdowns.