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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, April 15, 2024

Michael Berluti: A day in the life on game day

Tufts football quarterback Michael Berluti on his game day routine.

Michael Berluti is pictured with the ball during a game against Williams College on Sept. 30.

Michael Berluti is pictured with the ball during a game against Williams College on Sept. 30.

Junior quarterback Michael Berluti has been a big part of Tufts football for almost the last three seasons. In 2021, he threw for 1,835 yards and 13 touchdowns, and ran for 326 yards and two touchdowns. In his 2022 season, starting all nine games for the Jumbos, he threw for 2,749 yards and 26 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 69.12%, which was first in the NESCAC. Michael led the football team to a 6–3 record for the 2022 season. That year he was also a part of the All-NESCAC First Team, NESCAC All-Academic Team, received the New England Football Writers’ Division II-III Gold Helmet Award, and was part of the D3football.com All-Region Region 1 Second Team. Berluti took over the team in his freshman year after then-sophomore Matt Crowley, the starting quarterback at the time, was injured.

Berluti went to high school not too far away from Tufts at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass., and played on both their football and basketball teams. At Tufts, he is majoring in economics and minoring in entrepreneurship. As a football player, weekends in the fall are very much filled with games or game day preparations, so Berluti chooses to study on weekdays. He usually prefers to study at home, or otherwise at the Joyce Cummings Center or Tasty Cafe.

Game days are a full day for Berluti. Before breakfast, he stretches and starts hydrating immediately. Breakfast for him usually falls between 9–9:30 a.m. After breakfast, Berluti goes to get treatment, whether that involves visiting the Sports Medicine department, hopping in the tubs or anything else he feels he needs on those mornings. As the day progresses, his focus gets even closer to the upcoming game. To start to get ready in between treatment and lunch, Berluti will lay out the clothes he needs for the game, and watch game film. Not only is watching game film a big part of his life during the week, but film on game day for him is important to make sure he is prepared for the evening’s game. It is important to point out that his schedule changes whether the game is in the afternoon or in the evening. Regardless, Berluti is someone who always has a focus on his routine, and thus will stick to it to the best of his abilities.

For evening games, the squad arrives at the field before lunch and will head onto the field to do walkthroughs of plays, and review or make any last minute changes they need to make. While his pre-game fuel varies a little bit, for the last two games against Bowdoin and Wesleyan, he has had a turkey club sandwich from Dave’s Fresh Pasta. Around lunchtime, the team will do individual meetings that last about 30 minutes. In the afternoon, Berluti will try to relax, do more stretching and often will take a quick power nap in the early afternoon. 

The squad arrives to the field three hours before game time. Once at the field, Berluti checks his helmet, shoulder pads and everything else to make sure his gear is in good condition before entering his pre-game routine. The first part of this routine is even more stretching. He will always walk the field to get a feel for it, and to see the sights, the sounds and enjoy being in the stadium before game time. Berluti always energizes himself with an electrolyte mix, and tries to also have a nutritional bar.

As the game time nears, the team will have a chance to talk and get motivated for the game. One of the big ways the players get motivated is through music in the locker room.

Coach Jay Civetti will then talk to the players and fire the team up before the players take the field. In this pep talk, Civetti will incorporate a theme from the week’s practices.

When asked if Berluti himself gives a speech before game time, he remarked that he does try to leave the team an empowering message.

“I talk a lot. I’m sure plenty of people will tell you that,” Berluti said. “[It is] a lot of encouraging words for everybody and really just getting us excited and fired up to go play.”

The team will then break up into individual units, with senior players like offensive linemen Travis Cepalia and Blair Horning talking to the offensive line, and senior wide receiver Jaden Richardson talking to the receivers.

After the last pregame speeches, and usually a final song, the players charge onto the field, and the game begins.

After a hopefully successful result, Berluti will spend time post-game talking to friends and family if they are in attendance. His dad is no stranger to Tufts Football, having played there himself. Michael Berluti has three brothers, two of whom played football at Amherst.

In the days after the game, while the players are spending time reviewing film and evaluating either what went well or wrong, the players also need to physically recover.

“[I] have to be diligent about stretching and recovering, getting in the tubs, using all the Normatecs and the [massage] guns that we have,” he said.

As of the Amherst game on Oct. 21, Berluti has thrown for a total of 1422 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, with a completion rate of 56.15%. He has also rushed for 358 yards and two touchdowns. The squad has a record of 5–1, and will look to keep the momentum rolling into the future.