Big game tomorrow. Sole spotlight on ESPN. Thursday night. Revenge game. Possible letdown. Home opener. It has all of that, and more. There are so many factors that affect this game that listing the things that WON'T affect them would probably be easier, but we'll try our best to do so.
Last year there were a few things that killed us, 3 in our opinion. 1) Missed assignments 2) Poor Tackling 3) Poor offense. Seems pretty easy, but as we looked at last year's game it was a little more in depth and we'll break it down like that for you.
Last year Coach Shannon said plenty of our players were ignoring/forgetting their assigments in an effort to make a big play. We have to stick to our assignments. We have to concentrate on stopping the fullback dive first and foremost. If we don't do that, then the game is going to be a repeat of last year's (at least offensively). If our players can stick to their assignments then we should be fine in containing the triple option. Reports out of camp the past week have said that we have been practicing with 3 balls. I hope that was enough, no excuses from our players this year.
Within this category we've also included the play of the defensive line. The tackles and ends MUST get off their blocks and penetrate the backfield. By doing this, they force the QB Nesbitt to not only take a step back, but for his pitchman to take a step back as well, while the fullback can be tackled in the backfield (if he's given the ball on the dive). It's imperative that our defensive tackles, especially Bailey and Marcus Forston (who dissappointed with his play versus FSU) beat their men off the blocks and wreack havoc in the backfield.
Obviously can never have it, but against this team especially. Their offense, although it's mostly a running game, is a big play offense. It's very important to try and limit the big plays and make them settle for field goals. It frustrates them, makes them force plays and pitches, and allows our team to capitalize on these errors.
Last year we had Anthony Reddick bouncing of players, which would be great, if he was on offense. He was outdone by Romeo Davis' handwarmer grabbing, which kind of slowed down the Georgia Tech back on his way to a touchdown.
This year, we have different players. Sam Shields will most likely get the startin nod over DVD (questionable with a concussion) and he's a good tackler, baving played as a gunner on special teams as well. Vaugh Telemaque should also be making his appearance as a starter, along with having Colin Mccarthy and Eric Moncur back, we should improve with our tackling.
To show you just how bad our offense was last year, this is a drive by drive breakdown of it in the Georgia Tech game:
1st Quarter: 2 drives (1 punt, One 3 and out)
2nd Quarter: 5 drives (2 ints, Two 3 and out, 1 fg) And we all know that first pick by Marve on 3rd and 3, which wouldn't have been completed anyways so you can chalk up another 3 and out if you want).
3rd Quarter: 3 drives (1td, One 3 and out, 1 punt)
4th Quarter: 3 drives (2tds, One 4 and out)
We can't have 3 and outs and turnovers. We have to put points on the board early and quickly and get this team to have to play from behind. If we can go up big early it forces them to pass and as we all saw their passing game might be the worst in D-1A ball.
We'll have an update during the tailgate if we can get around to it, and hopefully during the game as well (attendance #s, atmosphere, weather, injuries, etc.) along with a breakdown of the game on Friday.
As always, thanks for reading and Go Canes!