Head coach Pete Lembo is currently spending the week recruiting in the southeastern part of the country, but before he returns to campus, he has one stop to make.
Mobile, Ala., for the GoDaddy Bowl news conference.
On Sunday, it was announced that Ball State will play in the Jan. 5 bowl game, making this the second straight season the team will play in a bowl game. The head coach said there are many things he likes about playing in Mobile.
“I think it’s an excellent location,” Lembo said in a phone interview. “This is a great part of the country for our team to experience. It’s a mini New Orleans in a way. I’m excited for the team and their families to experience it.”
The matchup against Arkansas State, a Sun Belt team, gives Ball State an opportunity to win the program’s first ever bowl game. But Arkansas State was co-conference champions with Louisiana-Lafayette.
Lembo said the 11- to 12-hour drive to the city will help in getting Ball State fans to the game.
“A lot of our fans drive down Interstate 65 for Spring Break,” Lembo said. “It’s really a doable trip to see the Cardinals play.”
Ball State gets just less than a month to prepare for Arkansas State, which Lembo said he hasn’t watched any significant video. He did watch Arkansas State play Louisiana-Lafayette on TV.
The coaching staff will use the abundance of time to treat the bowl game as a season opener. Players get time off during Finals Week and will be able to go home next week before game preparations begin.
Lembo did not comment when asked about job vacancies.
Lembo isn’t a stranger to Mobile, as he visited there with GoDaddy Bowl representatives shortly after becoming Ball State’s coach. He came away impressed with the bowl and knew it would be an opportunity for his team.
The chance to play in a Mid-American Conference bowl is something Lembo takes pride in.
“It says an awful lot about how far we’ve come,” he said. “There’s a lot of good features to this. This is an opportunity to win our first bowl game in school history.”