FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At first glance, it may look like there isn’t much left for Revolution head coach Jay Heaps to tackle during this week’s bye.
With only two games left on the schedule and the playoffs out of the picture, many coaches might be tempted to ease off the gas. Loosen the reins. Incorporate a lighter approach training, perhaps.
But taking it easy is a concept completely foreign to Heaps. So naturally, his standard approach and preparation routines won’t deviate much this week, even with time running out on the regular season.
“Right now, we’re working hard, pushing guys,” Heaps said after training on Wednesday. “Even though we know the season’s only got two games left for us, we have a lot left to train for and play for because we have to start the process of building a team.”
A team for 2013, that is. Although the calendar may still read “2012,” next year is already here for Heaps.
“This (week) is like another preseason for us because we can push players and see what players are going to be able to do,” Heaps said. “So this is also an evaluation time as well. “
THE GO-TO GUY
One of the reasons why Heaps is using the bye week for evaluations may be out of necessity.
With a host of players on the mend, Heaps has been forced to plug players into different positions, both on the training pitch and the playing field.
One player who’s been moved around is midfielder Ryan Guy, who split time between right back and center back during last week’s 1-0 loss at Philadelphia.
While some players may grumble at the constant shifting, the veteran midfielder embraces the opportunity to play wherever Heaps asks him to.
“Playing around the field has really given a chance to see different aspects of the game,” Guy said after training on Wednesday. “I get a better grasp of where we need adjustments and so when I do go back to my ‘normal’ position, I have a better idea of what we need and what’s going to be expected of me to get positive results.”
That insight, of course, is something that Guy is often asked to relay to Heaps in order to make in-game tactical adjustments.
Of course, Guy may not be the most experienced at playing in the back. Nonetheless, he believes that the rotating assignment is a vote confidence by the coaching staff -- something that takes off some of the edge when featuring in an unfamiliar role.
“When you have the coaches trusting you and respecting you, it definitely makes it a lot easier,” Guy said. “So when (Heaps) asks me to play another position, I have no qualms about it because I know he’s thought about it. He’s talked to the other assistants about it and he has confidence (in me). So if he has confidence, why shouldn’t I?”
FEILHABER ADMITS FAULT FOR SUSPENSION
With a recent rash of injuries creating constant lineup shuffling for the Revolution, Heaps’ job won’t get much easier come the club’s next game on Oct. 20 against the Fire.
The central midfielder was cautioned twice for a pair of fouls on Union forward Antoine Hoppenot in the 86th and 88th minute, with the second leading to the subsequent red card ejection.
Although Feilhaber believes that referee Jorge Gonzalez was swayed by a pair of Union players’ appeals on the first caution, he fully admits that the second caution was a “stupid” play on his part.
“This one’s on me,” Feilhaber said after training on Wednesday. “It’s not a coaching decision. It’s one that I basically took myself out of the game by getting that red card. It’s disappointing, but you have to live in the present.”