Colts Players Prep For Prime Time

On Sunday, the Colts travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to play the Panthers on Monday Night Football.

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Any away game presents challenges. In addition to travel, fatigue, and crowd noise, a night game has the added element of a long game day to manage as well.

With a prime time game against the Panthers, how do the Colts adjust their schedules to be rested and sharp when they arrive at Bank of America Stadium on Monday night?

When asked how he coaches his players, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky goes back to his days as an NFL linebacker.  

"Try to watch as much film as you can til about noon. And then hang out, maybe take a nap from one to two, two to three, and then all of the sudden, get up and get out again. Get your body back into motion. Every player is different, but I think that's what worked for me."

For tight end Dwayne Allen, who grew up just a few hours away in Fayetteville, North Carolina and went to Clemson, any trip to Carolina is a trip home.

"Being from the state of North Carolina, I'm going to have a lot of friends and family in town. Usually, I try to go grab something quick to eat. Maybe do a little sight seeing. It's a Monday, so if we're staying downtown, might be able to walk around and check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame."

Allen says while rest is important, there is such a thing as too much rest on game day.

"You never want to just stay in the hotel, stay in the bed, let your legs die on you. You get up, get active a little bit. I'm not out there running routes or running sprints but being active, certainly."

Linebacker Erik Walden grew up a few hours in the other direction in Dublin, Georgia. He'll have some people there on Monday night as well. But he likes to keep his visiting hours to the night before and after the game.    

"Monday we just have our meetings and it's just the most preparation you can do. Between that time, get yourself a nap, get your mind right. "

For other players, like tight end Coby Fleener, socializing is limited to coaches and teammates. He says nothing terribly exciting happens the day of the game. 

"Spend pretty much the entire day in the hotel hanging out in my room with Jack Doyle, my roommate. We'll do some walkthroughs and some mental stuff. But that's pretty much it."

But there is one thing on Fleener's to do list.

"Try to take a nap so I can stay up for a late game like that. That's usually past my bedtime."

It's personal for every player, but game day is a mix of preparation, light activity, and relaxation.

And if things go as planned, it's followed by celebration.    

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