There’s one lesson a lot of good football players—and a few good football teams—don’t learn until it bites them in the tailback.
That lesson: It takes a lot of little things to build a program that achieves big things.
It sure seems UW-Whitewater coach Kevin Bullis has taught that lesson to the Warhawks’ leaders. Because it was a bunch of well-done little things that added up to the Warhawks’ 37-6 victory over UW-Stout on Saturday at Perkins Stadium.
“Coach Bullis harps on us about the little things,” Whitewater junior linebacker Shane McGrail said.
“Things like everyone doing their job and making sure we’re all on the same page.”
UW-Stout (3-1 overall, 1-1 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) outgained the Warhawks 420 yards to 358, and had a slightly better overall time of possession.
But from the third minute of the game on, the nationally third-ranked Warhawks (4-0, 1-0) were in charge of the scoreboard.
It took a 64-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, against second- and third-string defenders, to give Stout its only points.
Why? Because the vast majority of the little things went in Whitewater’s favor—straight from the start.
Stout’s first three plays resulted in four yards lost, and then Blue Devils punter Jack Meyer fumbled the punt snap. Whitewater junior Jaylon Edmonson recovered at the Stout 3-yard line, and senior running back Alex Peete scored on the next play for the first of his two short-yardage touchdowns.
“A football game is a series of errors on both sides. A constant state of error,” Bullis said.
“What counts is who’s going to take advantage of the (other team’s) errors.”
On this day, that team was Whitewater. The fumbled punt snap was not the only little thing that went the Warhawks’ way:
“Coming in, we thought it’d be a victory if we held them to 120 yards (rushing),” Bullis said.
“To hold them to 50, that’s more than we could have asked for.”
“The coaches gave us an easy game plan,” said McGrail, who led the defense with nine tackles. “We had a lot of quarterback blitzes, and they had us (linebackers) up on the line to contain the edge.”