Warhawks to be early risers
UW-Whitewater football players will feel the shock early Saturday of cost-cutting measures the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference issued last year.
The effects will begin when their alarm clocks start buzzing before the sun is up.
The Warhawks play their first 3 p.m. conference road game Saturday at UW-Eau Claire.
In past seasons, visiting teams would leave Friday afternoon, spend the night in a hotel at the host site and play an early Saturday afternoon game.
To cut costs, the WIAC banned overnight stays in most cases and set later game times to allow visiting teams to bus to opponents' stadiums the same day as the game.
So this will be Whitewater's first Saturday trip under those circumstances. The team's first road WIAC game was at Platteville on a Thursday night.
Whitewater coach Lance Leipold says the same-day trips are a concern.
"It's a lot of time to be on a bus," he said. "Then you get there and have to sit around. That's how teams can be flat and lethargic and all of that."
The 200-mile trip to Eau Claire will start earlier than normal because of the 26th annual Wisconsin School of Music Association State Marching Band Championships being held at Perkins Stadium on Saturday.
"We have to load it up very early," Leipold said. "We have a state marching band contest at the stadium so we have to get the heck out of here before people inundate Perkins Stadium."
The team will eat its pregame meal in Eau Claire, and then will have to kill several hours before the game.
Leipold said his first thought when he saw that Platteville had upset visiting Eau Claire last week was the schedule.
"I wondered if it was a one-day travel, and it was," he said.
The Warhawks will go through the same procedure next week with a 3 p.m. Saturday game at River Falls.
"It's tough to stay focused, and we have two of these back-to-back," he said.