BELOIT - When Beloit College head coach Seth Duerr scouts Macalester College he appreciates the Scots' talent, but he's even more impressed with the technique.
"They are really well-coached," Duerr said as his team prepares to host Macalester (3-1) on Saturday (1 p.m.). "They never just wow you with talent and size. They certainly have solid players, but I just think their coaching staff does a great job preparing their guys. They always play hard. They're very sound in all phases of the game and they just don't make mistakes.
"They're definitely a very good team, but I think if we play well we can give ourselves a chance."
The Buccaneers slipped to 1-3 with a 63-20 loss at Illinois College last Saturday. One of the bright spots was the play of freshman Juan Reyes from Turner, who parlayed 15 carries into 115 yards and a touchdown.
The multi-talented Reyes was a two-way starter for the Trojans, playing safety on defense. The Bucs haven't used him there, but he has played both wide receiver and in the backfield. He even saw some duty as wildcat quarterback last week.
"That didn't go that well, but you might see some more of it this week," Duerr said. "Juan is really special when he has the football in his hands. We're also expecting Joey (Werner) to be closer to 100 percent and get to see more touches."
The team's leading rusher, senior Werner has 73 carries for 298 yards and a score.
An efficient running game would take some of the pressure off the passing attack. The Bucs used Erick Mitchell and Marcos Camacho last week and both struggled. For the season, Mitchell has completed 55-of-111 passes (49.5) for 601 yards and six TDs. Camacho is 7-of-17 (41.2) for 50 yards.
"We'll see how it goes," Duerr said. "We'll start Erick. We've told them both we're challenging them to compete and make better decisions. Depending on how the game goes, you'll probably see both."
Macalester turned to senior quarterback Cody Patrich, who was a backup last season when the Scots pummeled Beloit, 56-21, in St. Paul, Minn. The 6-foot-3, 197-pounder from Lansing, Ill., has been terrific with 86 completions in 129 throws. He has thrown for 12 TDs and two interceptions.
"He's very smart and manages the game very well," Duerr said. "He has a good arm and he's big and fast enough to move around back there when he hs to. I think their receiving corps is really the strength of their offense."
It includes senior returning All-MWC wide receiver Alco Beatty, who had nine receptions for 155 yards and two TDs in last week's 28-27 win over Lake Forest. Petrich threw for 300 yards and four TDs in that game.
So what's the game plan to stay close?
"No. 1, we have to stop the run." Duerr said. "They've certainly thrown it more than they've run it so far, but I think if they feel they can just run the ball at will it's going to be a long day for us. We have to limit them on third downs and get to the quarterback and rattle him a bit.
"On offense we have to take care of the ball and put together some drives. We need to be solid on special teams as well. Last week we gave up some big plays there and we can't afford to do that again."