KEY 1: RUN OVER SOME FOLKS
Nothing would please me more than to see a dominating run effort. I think these guys could use a little bit of pick-me-up after not being terribly effective against SMU. According to this week's two-deep, nothing has changed, which means that Chris Olson is going to continue to stay at right tackle, at least for now. But more than anything, I hope that OL coach Moore shows the linemen a tape of what Oregon was able to do to New Mexico and then just walk away as they watch the tape. There's no reason why these guys can't dominate the Lobos, but Moore isn't going to sit back and just hope that things happen. We've talked quite a bit about how Chris Olson struggled on Sunday and he needs to get it together relatively quickly. For whatever reason, OC Brown and OL coach Moore have been hesitant to talk about putting in Terry McDaniel. I'm not sure what he's done, if he's done anything, but if he can play left tackle as a redshirt freshman, then I think he can be an earth mover at the right tackle spot. Maybe they just want McDaniel to earn it. Rather than just middling around the line of scrimmage and just moving their bodies, the entire group needs to get off the line of scrimmage and move some defenders. It can happen. It's just being better than the man in front of you.
KEY 2: LETTING THE GAME COME TO YOU
|MONDAY||SMU Post Game Thoughts|
|TUESDAY||What We Think We Know|
|WEDNESDAY||Keys to the Game|
|THURSDAY||Reasons for Concern and Optimism|
Looking at yesterday's statistics from the New Mexico vs. Oregon tilt, it seemed evident that New Mexico was simply incapable of moving the ball down the field. In my quick glance of the play-by-play for New Mexico the longest play of the day for the Lobos was 12 yards, which happened twice. Consider that for a second. And just from reading the play-by-play, it seemed as if head coach Mike Locksley had given up on his quarterback, B.R. Holbrook, with his play-calling, or perhaps he just didn't trust him any longer in the game. The problem is that Demond Dennis put the ball on the turf for Oregon to recover on three different occasions, so in all actuality, he wasn't much better in terms of ball security. I'm almost surprised by writing this, but it's almost as if at some point, Oregon was just waiting for New Mexico to make a mistake because they thought it was inevitable.
This isn't to say that Oregon didn't force the issue with New Mexico, but the one thing that we saw this week with the new Texas Tech defense was that maybe they're trying to be a bit more optimistic with turnovers. Four turnovers in the game is what a team strives for. With New Mexico's propensity to be turnover prone (the Lobos were 97th in the country in turnover margin last year as well) then I like the idea of forcing the action defensively.
One more after the jump.
KEY 3: STOP THE RUN
The most disappointing aspect of the SMU game was the fact that Texas Tech gave up so many yards against the run against the Ponies. Overall, I thought the pass defense played well, but I didn't like all of the positive yards that SMU was able to gain, which most seemed to be delayed handoffs out of the shotgun. If I had to guess, I'm betting that Locksley saw the same thing and I'd also bet that Locklsey will want to eat up some clock and try to establish some sort of rhythm in getting their running game going. I don't think that Holbrook, or the backup quarterback, Tarean Austin, are statues and would expect that Locksley has told both of them that if the opportunity is there, to take off and run the ball, especially if there's no containment. The defensive line was pretty darned good at getting to Padron last week, but in terms of getting into gaps, I thought that there was some work that needed to be done. Yesterday, ILB Bront Bird talked about how the defense needs to play their gaps better and not do too much. I would agree. The one-gap defense is predicated on each defender taking one gap. I don't know if it was the game plan for SMU, but simply rushing up the field, all the while any semblance of being responsible for those gaps to stop the run will create issues for the secondary, which is why S Cody Davis was making so many plays. The defensive line must keep the New Mexico offensive line in front of them. The early results seem to indicate that the secondary should be fine. They may get beat deep, but I don't think that New Mexico is truly capable of opening things up offensively.
What are your keys to the game? Let's hear from you in the comments.