After three weeks on the road, No. 23-ranked Heidelberg returns home to for the first time in 2012 to face a team led by a familiar face.
Marietta coach Jeff Filkovski was Mike Hallett's offensive coordinator in the latter's first season with the Student Princes, helping to turn around what had been a winless team. In '07, Heidelberg was in the top five in the league in five offensive categories, and the Berg won four games that season after going winless in the previous three.
The next year, Filkovski was named head coach of the Pioneers. Four years later, he returns to Tiffin with an 0-3 team. But Hallett said Marietta presents some difficulties, particularly at the wide receiver spots, where Kirby Harris (13 catches, 187 yards) and Tannon Roberts (7 catches, 153 yards) reside.
"I think certainly it's a challenge," Hallett said. "Their big guns can run. [Our defense], they understand the challenge, prepared all week. [Harris and Roberts] are guys who can get down the field."
Hallett said he also is impressed with the Pioneers' quarterback, Tom Fulton, who has thrown for 437 yards.
"Good player, throws the ball well, accurate," Hallett said. "I know (Filkovski) is high on him; we're high on him as a player."
Heidelberg's defense is allowing just 2.4 yards a rush, which might cause some offenses to abandon the run.
"Probably," Hallett said. "You've got to pick your poison. If you feel like your running game's not gonna be there, you start making adjustments. Coaches are pretty creative."
Of course, Heidelberg's offense, led by running back Cartel Brooks and quarterback Mike Mees, also has been stellar. Hallett said he's seen teams get too excited for their home openers, but this week things have been good, so far.
"We've had a great week of practice on both sides of the ball, they have not looked or acted any differently since preseason," Hallett said.
Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.