Thursday, August 25, 2011

Focus on Boise

Like the Rev said Wed, most of us are in the "no idea" camp when trying to figure out what we'll be this year. I've been reading some articles coming out of Boise and they appear very confident going into our game and probably with good reason. They proved in last year's game against Virginia Tech that they can travel across the country and play in this big national game. We of course didn’t prove much last year. I was surprised how we fought back to .500 to make a bowl game. I really thought after the Colorado loss, the team was done and the season was going to be epicly bad. I wonder how much that awful bowl game factors into fans psyche this year. If we blow out UCF, does everyone feel just a little better about this season, who knows.

I always like to look at betting sites for previews about games. They might not be right but they are in the business of making money, so they don’t have the usual regional, conference associated bias that a lot of other media may have. Boise by 3 in our backyard.

This obviously makes sense based on everything we know. The problem is that we have so many unknowns. Here’s my list of 5 keys to the game for a dawg win (in order of most important):

1) Defense – stop the run and pressure the QB. Moore is too good to give him time. We’ve never been a team that can put up huge numbers when we get behind. Sometimes we’ve proven we can score with teams but that does not include making huge comebacks. More times than not, we tend to make big deficits, huge deficits. *Please do not mention the great comeback against West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl, I was there and at the end of the day, we still lost. It’s only a comeback to me, if you end up winning* I really think we’re in trouble if this game gets in the high 20’s, low 30’s. Not saying we can’t win a shootout but our odds are better keeping it low scoring.

2) Defense – see #1. Discipline, everyone knows how they like to use a lot of misdirection, so stay on assignments and don’t get caught looking in the back field and let your guy run right past you. This has been a huge issue the last 2 plus seasons. Blown assignments have led to big plays, we were always a bend not break D under BVG. I think that will serve us well against Boise. Even though it’s the first game, we can’t give away first downs on penalties, make them earn every yard.

3) Don’t get too cute on offense – Boise’s defense is very good but at the end of the day, we are deeper, bigger, and faster. I’ve never understood why a team that’s so much bigger than another (not that we are that much) doesn’t just power over them. I know a defense can scheme and put a few more in the box, but Wisconsin tells you at the coin flip that they’re going to run it down your throat and they usually do. This is the way I think, so I’m always blown away when a App State beats a Michigan.

4) Special teams – take advantage of our stronger special teams. Convincingly win the field position battle and I like our chances.

5) Coaching – this is obviously more import but I’m specifically talking about mid game adjustments. I think coaches that can quickly process information and adjust make a huge difference in the first few games of the year (against good opponents). Since we aren’t 100% sure what our strengths/weaknesses are, we need the coaches to be able to pick them out quickly and adjust to them. Everyone has tape to watch later in the season but these first few games need more adjustment ability than normal. I’m reminded of a GA/FL game Rev and I went to back in the day when they threw 30 plus screen plays and we never adjusted to them. It was one of the most frustrating things to watch.

I haven't told the other, more frequent, posters about the proposal of game predictions. We usually do this through email randomly throughout the season. I think it's time to make it public and take all the criticism that comes with it. So keep checking next week for us to put it out there on the line......from outside the arena. We'll just take it one game at a time.


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