Walk The Talk - 9-2-21

Northwest football coach Rich Wright addresses the team in the aftermath of the Bearcats' 15-7 win against Fort Hays Sept. 2 in Hays, Kansas.

Welcome into another edition of Walk The Talk, a weekly mailbag column where all of your questions regarding Northwest Athletics get answered. Football is in full swing, and the questions that were asked this week show it. With that being said, let’s hop straight into it.

If you were the commissioner of the MIAA, how would you change the COVID-19 policy after Lincoln canceled in Week 2?

I wouldn’t change the MIAA’s policy regarding cancellations due to COVID-19 protocols.

I don’t have a problem with any existing guidelines. The problem, however, is there aren’t any. So, I’d start by making a season-long policy.

There isn’t a single program in the MIAA that should have to be at fault for an opponent not being able to field a team because of the seemingly everlasting COVID-19 pandemic. Northwest, of course, wasn’t given a loss, and a win against Lincoln wouldn’t have added to the Bearcats’ 2021 resume, but it doesn’t make sense to penalize them for the Blue Tigers’ mishaps.

If I were the commissioner, I would put a policy in place that rules incidents like this result in a forfeit for the team at fault.

If that isn’t fair, then I’m not exactly sure what is.

If you had the chance to flip a coin that would decide that game, rather than taking a no contest, would you take the chance?

I’ll keep the answer short and sweet.

I’d rather have a no contest than a 50% chance of recording an official loss to Lincoln.

No contest doesn’t hurt you, but that loss to Lincoln is demoralizing.

How does the early-season Bye Week impact football?

I think this question was asked in a negative manner, but I think a week off will do the exact opposite.

Junior defensive end Zach Howard played through an ankle sprain in Week 1 against Fort Hays, and two weeks without a game gives him that much more time to heal.

It gives fifth-year coach Rich Wright, who also serves as the team’s defensive coordinator, two weeks to prepare for an opponent’s offense.

And, of course, it gives first-year offensive coordinator Todd Sturdy two weeks to prepare for Central Missouri’s tough defensive front that coach Jim Svoboda presents every year.

I don’t think the week off does anything but help the Bearcats heading into their Week 3 matchup with the Mules.

How long can Northwest volleyball stay this good?

With the program’s culture that Amy Woerth has developed throughout the last few years, I’ll take the Bearcats riding this momentum all of the way to another appearance in the MIAA Tournament title game.

They’ve started the season 7-1, including a first-week win against then-No. 5 Tampa at the Courtyard by Marriott Classic in Tampa, Florida. Following their 4-0 outing in Tampa, the Bearcats were ranked No. 8, marking the program’s highest ranking ever.

Woerth isn’t concerned about their lone loss, a 3-1 fault against Michigan Tech at the Capital Classic in Springfield, Illinois last weekend. She is, however, impressed that they responded by winning their final two games of the outing.

We’ll find out more when volleyball opens MIAA play against No. 7 Central Missouri Sept. 17, and when they eventually play Nebraska-Kearney and Washburn, but I’ve got the Bearcats making a run in the postseason.

Walk The Talk is a mailbag that focuses on all things Northwest Athletics. To submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag, tweet @ByJonWalker or email j.walker.missourian@gmail.com.

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