Gloucester head coach Tony Zerilli could not be more pleased with the placement of his team’s bye week.
The Fishermen will be off this weekend, the final weekend of the regular season, and can sit back and watch the playoff field take shape. Zerilli’s squad has made it through the rigors of the first seven weeks of the season in relatively good shape.
At 5-2 Gloucester will be playing in the postseason and while everybody on the team has their fair share of bumps and bruises, as all football players do at this time, the team has not been hit with any serious injuries.
As a result Gloucester has gone light on the physical contact this week.
“We’ve been doing a lot of mental things,” Zerilli said. “Watching film and trying to lay off the physical nature of football for a couple of days. We are a little banged up obviously with football injuries but nothing serious. We are really working on our fundamentals this week and we will be right back at it on Monday starting to game plan for our playoff opponent.”
The Fishermen got both Monday and Tuesday off to rest up any bumps and bruises acquired over the first seven weeks of the season. The team had a film session on Wednesday and was back out on the field in full pads on Thursday, although the practice was not physical in nature.
Gloucester has also seen first hand what a bye week can do for a football team, especially in the first week coming off of a bye. In Week 3 Gloucester ran into a buzz saw that was Masconomet, which was coming off of a Week 2 bye after dropping its opening game.
A one-win Swampscott team also gave the Fishermen quite a scare last weekend, after coming off a bye the previous week.
“I think the week off is an advantage,” Zerilli said. “We get more rest and we can do a little game planning while the other coaches are preparing for this week’s opponent. It’s obviously nice not having to take a beating a week before a playoff game.”
While this weekend’s slate of games go on, Gloucester will be forced to watch the scoreboard closely, as several area games could factor into its playoff standings.
The most likely scenarios by a long shot are possible meetings with Masconomet or Beverly, depending on what either team does over the weekend although a game with Danvers is still possible but that’s a real long shot.
Fortunately, Gloucester is familiar with any of the three possible opponents and has even began laying out a game plan for what to do against those opponents.
“We don’t know who we are playing yet but we have an idea,” Zerilli said. “Offensively we are going to run our plays no matter who we draw, but our defensive game plan could change depending on the opponent. We have done a little game-planning, working on what to do against their offensive plays and blocking schemes.”
While it’s back to work with intense practices and a complete game plan starting Monday, Zerilli is still grateful that his team has gotten the opportunity to heal up and take the field next weekend as a fresh football team.
“The rest has been key,” Zerilli said. “We did a good job getting through a tough seven weeks and it’s only going to get tougher from here. But it’s nice to go into that first playoff game with some extra time to game plan and some extra rest.”