Tuesday, September 04, 2007

This Time Around Defense Alone Will Not Be Enough

by NSC

Saturday night Fresno State's defense put forth an effort we as fans had not seen in a long time at this university. Limiting Sacramento State to 103 yards on offense is an amazing accomplishment for this young Bulldogs defense. However, what we as fans have to realize is that was a terrible Sacramento State team. The offense of the Hornets had been overhauled completely and the Bulldogs experienced this first hand as they were challenged few times Saturday night. Texas A&M will be a much tougher opponent who should be favored to win this game by at least two touchdowns. Fresno State will have to do far more than they did this past Saturday to leave College station with a victory. Tom Brandstater has never played in an environment like College Station will offer him. Many of the Bulldogs have never walked into a football environment such as the one they will play in next Saturday. Kyle Field dons the nickname "The Twelfth Man" for a reason. Starting tomorrow I will begin my breakdown of each team and who has the advantages on offense, defense, etc. Today I want to concentrate on what Fresno State will have to do in order to walk out of College Station with a victory.

1) Find a playmaker on offense - Fresno State put up 24 points against Sac State. I realize they should have scored somewhere between 34-38 points but the same thing could happen against A&M. Fresno State needs to utilize the tools they have on offense. Bear Pascoe needs to be a big part of this offense once again as he has the best hands on this team. Brandstater will not be able to lock on to a receiver and find success and if he continues to get nervous on third downs this team is going to experience a world of trouble. I know Tom can make the throws but I am not sure if he knows he can. He seems to lose confidence when he is on the field and when we play A&M that cannot happen. We will run the ball often because that is the staple of a Bulldog offense but against a Big 12 powerhouse we will have to be able to throw in order to have success on offense. Seji Ajirotutu (now wearing number 6), Marlin Moore, and Crawley will all have to be involved Saturday in order for the Dogs to be successful on offense.

2) Limit A&M's running game - Lane and Goodson are going to run and they are going to run hard at that. Lane is a beast with the ball and may run right through the Bulldogs defensive line. As long as the Dogs can keep the RB's in the middle of the field they will be fine. Fresno State has never been a team that can be beat with the run. They usually falter to the pass so the fact that A&M relies on the run will be a positive for Fresno State. However, running QB's tend to give the Bulldogs problems and that is exactly what McGee is for Texas A&M. He may not have the most accurate arm but if he can get out of the pocket and create havoc the Dogs will have problems figuring out whether to commit to the running QB or to stay with the receivers. Somehow the Dogs will have to find a way to keep McGee in the pocket. If they can do that the Dogs will be able to limit what A&M does on offense.

3) Create points on special teams - Fresno State will have to find a way to create great field position through punt and kick returns. Clifton Smith and Devon Wylie are going to have to show that they can make things happen in big time games such as this one. Many probably remember Fresno State's Adam Jennings creating various opportunities for the Dogs when they took on USC. In order for the Dogs to score often the returners are going to have to do the same exact thing against A&M. The better the field position the easier it will be for Brandstater to relax and understand that he will not have to go 80 yards each time the he steps on the field.

4) Last but not least, create turnovers - Fresno State cannot turn the ball over three times this weekend. Truthfully Fresno State may not be able to turn the ball over one time. It is also possible that the Bulldogs do not turn the ball over one time, create two or three turnovers and still lose the game. Playing at College Station will not be easy and Fresno State will have to be ready for what is in store for them. They need to realize the best way of beating A&M is to do exactly what Appalachian State did against Michigan last weekend: jump out to an early lead to take the crowd out of the game. If the Dogs defense can create extra opportunities for the offense and the Dogs offense can hold on to the ball this may be a much better game than I am truly expecting it to be. In the end I feel like A&M will be too strong on the road in this one. The fact that the Aggies played so poorly last week will only fuel them to come out to a much stronger start in this one. Fresno State is far better than Montana State and the Aggies know they will have to play much better than they did this past week. Unfortunately I think they will.

Texas A&M - 38
Fresno State - 17


Anonymous said...

NSC, I agree, TAMU will probably be on fire, and should win this one easily.

HOWEVER...I have seen Fresno State in this type of situation before, and been made very proud of the team--win or lose. They might surprise everyone with their play; a win is not out of the question!

I just wouldn't be surprised by any outcome this week.

Go 'Dogs, win the WAC (for starters)!

el_perro_chato said...

A lot of people are not giving the Dogs a chance in this one. The game will be closer than what people think. The dogs need to create a couple of turnovers to quite the 12th man and change field position. Montana St. put up 403 offensive yards on the Aggies defense. The game will be decided in the 4th quarter, just ask Michigan.

I Say Let'Em Crash said...

i think the Run, Run, Run approach will only go so far against a physical team like a big bad bCS school, but i do think Fresno State will be in this game into the 4th, and that A&M is very beatable (which is not the same as saying they're a bad team) but i think A&M wins 28-19 ... unless the Bulldogs can force a turnovers and our special teams make some big plays