Northwestern is having a strong season, but that doesn’t mean they’re all set with their game-day routines. In fact, coach Pat Fitzgerald is switching up the team’s schedule for Saturday’s home game against Nebraska.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Fitzgerald will have a mandatory nap time for his players on Saturday about five hours before the game. The reason is due to the early afternoon kickoff.
Northwestern’s kickoff against Nebraska is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. The team also had a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 15 against Boston College, and they apparently were sluggish during the game despite winning 22-13.
Fitzgerald attempted to get to the bottom of the situation. From the Tribune:
[Fitzgerald] asked members of his Leadership Council: “What’s the deal? Why didn’t we start fast?”
They told him the game clashed with nap time. NU players typically arrive at the team complex at 6:50 a.m. for meetings, practice from 8:50 to 10:30, attend class and then snooze in the early afternoon. So Saturday’s itinerary will call for an early breakfast and a nap at around 9:30.
Fitzgerald almost could not believe he agreed to it. “Unbelievable,” he said. “This is what I get paid to do. Seriously. Create nap time. It’s pathetic.”
Fitzgerald is joking about the situation, but his solution actually makes a lot of sense. Many people don’t think about it, but various start times have a huge effect on games. West Coast teams often struggle when they have early start times on the East Coast. A 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff means a West Coast team would have to get up extremely early, presenting a major departure from their routines.
Fitzgerald even posted a picture to his Twitter account of the team’s Saturday itinerary that features the scheduled nap time:
Do you think Fitzgerald will be passing around warm milk and cookies to help put his players to sleep? I kid, I kid.Google+