The ‘hangover effect’

By Matt Hopkinson

A common belief in sports is that once a team wins a championship, there is this mysterious hangover effect that prevents them from being good again next season.

As of now, there is no known cure for said hangover. Perhaps it’s a real thing, perhaps it’s the mental side of the athletes involved. Senior defensive end Sean Progar admits to the “hangover effect” being something that was stressed leading up to the beginning of the football season.

Head coach Dave Doeren also admits that there is another threat to coming off such a successful season in the aggressiveness of the opposing team.

“You know that you are going to get the best shot of the team that you’re playing,” Doeren said. “Just like the when we play Tennessee-Martin. They’re coming here with nobody expecting them to win. We’re going to get all their gadgets. When you play a team like us when you’re supposedly better, you might expect to get the best shot from that team.”

Progar also knows that he is one of the leaders of the team, and embraces the responsibility of not only normal leadership duties, but trying to keep expectations in check.

“I’ve played for a long time now,” Progar said. “I know what type of player I am and I know my role on the team. I think the biggest thing is everyone needs to learn their role, do their job and gain confidence in each other.”

Progar also knows that mindset is key, and believes the players and staff are all on board trying to keep everything in check and focus on the season at hand.

This mindset can be taken even more seriously now that NIU is one game into its season, coming off an emotional loss in what was a very winnable scenario.

“I think that’s one of the biggest things you get in college football, after the year’s over you graduate a lot of guys,” Progar said. “We talked about it all summer, we talked about it in every meeting we had, whether the coaches were there or not. We definitely emphasized that all summer and we will all fall, because nothing we did last season matters this year.”