Friday, November 09, 2007

Instructions on Beating Hawaii

Tomorrow night Fresno State will begin another compelling match up
with the Warriors of Hawaii. At first glance this game looks to be a
mismatch as Fresno State does not generally implore the type of
defense that can stop Hawaii. The Dogs tend to play a soft defense
that allows the five to seven yard route. Fresno State relies on it's
LB's and secondary to make tackles as soon as the ball is caught
(something they have not done too well this season). There is a way
to beat the Warriors and it was on display last season when the Oregon
State Beavers traveled to the island. True, Oregon State was quite
hot and had defeated a very talented USC team only weeks before, but
they ran the type of defense it took to stop the Warriors amazing
offense. While I can write down the steps to stopping Hawaii's run
and shoot offense it does not mean that they will necessarily work.
College football is a game of sixty minutes and Hawaii can adjust to
what a defense is doing as well as any other offense in the nation.
However, these are the steps I deem
necessary to knock off the Warriors on the island. I am sure you will
notice this is written like a recipe and rightfully so since
directions need to be followed in order to beat Hawaii.

1) Add a little pressure to Colt Brennan's passing attack- Oregon
State sacked Colt Brennan six times last season and forced him to
throw two int's. While Brennan still managed over 400 yards passing
the Warriors lost because Oregon State forced Brennan to throw the
ball much earlier than he anticipated. Brennan does not make many
mistakes and when he does defenses must take advantage of them.
Fresno State will have to find a way to pressure Brennan on every play
or he will sit back in the pocket and do whatever he pleases. If you
want proof of how good Brennan is when he has time to throw watch the
highlights of the 2006 Fresno State-Hawaii game. That game should be
used as an example of what not to do when playing Hawaii.

2) Mix in physical play from the corner position - Hawaii loves the
underneath routes. This team uses five to seven yard routes to create
thirty yard gains. Grice-Mullin, Bess, Rivers, and Hawthorne (yes
they have four accomplished receivers) are all capable of turning a
small route into a large gain. If the Dogs do not get up close to the
line and knock these receivers off their routes right from the start
it will be a long day for the defense in Hawaii. True Hawaii is a
place where vacations are wonderful, but the Dogs defense will
experience a nightmare of a game if they do not play physical football
against Hawaii. Playing ten yards off the pass and allowing the
receivers to run underneath routes untouched will not get the job done
Saturday night.

3) Throw in a little blitzing from all over the field - Fresno will
have to disguise it's defensive game plan to in a sense trick Hawaii.
The Bulldogs will have to make the Warriors believe one man is
blitzing when someone else is altogether. Fresno will have to bring
the safeties at times. On other plays they will have to bring the
corners. Still the LB's will have to be forced to blitz as well. The
key is to sack Brennan or force turnovers. For a team that has one
interception the entire year they will need a breakout performance
resulting in at least two interceptions if they hope to beat Hawaii.

4) Add in a sprinkle of ball control - Fresno State loves to run the
ball. While Matthews may not be 100% for this game he is scheduled to
play along with Miller and Pascoe. Our offensive line will not be
100% due to all of the injuries suffered to this point but they have
played together long enough to know what blocking schemes are what.
Fresno State will have to do everything in their power to control the
clock. If the Dogs do not hold the ball for at least ten minutes
longer than the Warriors they can kiss a victory goodbye. Hawaii
scores fast and the only way to combat that type of scoring is to hold
on to the ball for long drives. To see how this is done watch the
super bowl that took place in the early 90's between the Buffalo Bills
and the New York Giants. The Bills held the ball for all of 19
minutes in that game and still should have won. That is the kind of
effort it is going to take from Fresno State to win tomorrow.

5) Last but not least avoid mixing in turnovers - The Warriors will
have the ball enough to score fifty points if their offense is
clicking. The last thing Fresno State can do is allow the Warriors to
touch the ball more than after the Dogs score or punt. Last year
Fresno State turned the ball over three times en route to the 68-37
bombing they took. This year in order for the game to play out
differently the Dogs must reverse the turnover story. If Fresno State
cannot take the ball away from Hawaii and continues to give the ball
to the Warriors as if Christmas came early, there is absolutely no way
Fresno State will be close in this game.

I realize these steps are easier said than done. Stopping the run and
shoot offense is next to impossible, but it can be done. As I said
before Oregon State did it last season and if the Dogs can follow that
defensive plan they will have a shot in this game. If the Dogs do not
put pressure on Brennan and allow the Warriors to run untouched across
the field look forward to turning this one off at halftime. We just
do not have the type of offense that can come back from a large
deficit and that is exactly what Hawaii will try to do to us in the
first half.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on points one and two. Cutting read time and forcing the pass with a blitz will decrease Brennan's pass efficiency numbers. If it rains this strategy works even better (i.e. San Jose). Hawaii's O-line is in pretty good shape so this will not be a walk in the park, but when it works you'll see some interceptions.

You are correct in that the UH loves the shuffle pass and uses it a lot in lieu of running plays. However they have not used as much lately. Nebraska transfer Leon Wright-Jackson is being tapped to replace senior RB Kealoha Pilares who is our with a knee injury. Wright-Jackson will be a wild card and with him in the game the shuffle pass may make its reappearance. He was showing off some speed at practice this week. But Jackson-Wright feels he will be used more as a blocker for Brennan. But if he's given the ball Jones told him to follow his gut instincts and do whatever he wants to (he was under a lot of restrictions in the beginning of the year). So even Hawaii fans do not know what they are going to see from Leon.

From all the news reports this game should go to Hawaii. But Pat Hill is not a coach we underestimate under any conditions.

Looking forward to an awesome game Dogs!

--Bleeds Green

Anonymous said...

The hit on Colt Brennan was one of the most vicious act upon a QB I have ever been forced to witness as a NCAA football fan and a Fresno fan as well.

I was lucky enough to watch the game here in Hawaii at the house of my relatives and it was a great game played well by both sides until the last second.

The thing that concerned me was that hit that I still can see happening over and over in my mind. I must say I am lost for words at the Fresno players, to have celebrated after an intentional helmet-helmet hit like that, even the Fresno staff had their concerns of something serious. Come on, we have more respect than that, to celebrate a hit that could end a fellow player's career.

Marcus Riley would have been fined at least $15,000 if he had played in the NFL, maybe even more especially because the injury is a Grade 3 Concussion, one of the most serious kind. These big hits you often see only in the NCAA, because there are no real penalties for a player except a little bit of laundry on the field.

Next week, it is on to New Mexico State for the Dogs and I do hope Brennan will be fine. His record is something we don't see everyday, and even from the view of a Dogs fan I must say it was a thrill to watch him tie it.

WAC Foortball Fan said...

Fresno State...pure trailer trash scum-buckets just like Pat Hill. Celebrating when a player is hit...shame on your parents for teaching you unsportsmanlike conduct...but what do you expect from Fresno State. Pridiction: Warriors will kick your bull dog butts again next year.

nsc said...

I think its funny you come on my blog and argue a hit that was completely legal. At the same time you act like Hawaii players would not have done the same thing had they hit Brandstater that way. Don't tell me they wouldn't have, Hawaii is full of cheap shot artists. Get a clue it's football. Teams act that way when they make a play like that and by the way, Brennan was running around like an idiot on that play. He is fair game in the open field just as Brandstater is. If you drilled Tom like that I would not be bitching on your blog about it but instead saying he got hit fair and square. Live with it, it's foootball.

If you want to watch a game with nice contact watch basketball. Oh and if it was an illegal hit where was the flag? I mean we know your refs call bullshi*t already like the facemask earlier in the game. But they wont call a personal foul on a so called "helmet to helmet" hit? It was legal so stop whining. You won the game we didn't, what is there to bitch about?

nsc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The cheap hit on Brennan was a really uncalled for and incredibly dangerous. The NCAA should enact a 15-yard penalty and player ejection for allowing any player to make hits like that. I’m not sure which is worse; face mask or helmet to helmet hits like Riley’s. After the initial celebrating the Fresno coaches probably averted a riot by making the entire Fresno bench quickly take a knee in a show of respect. It was a nice move by the coaching staff and it was appreciated by the Hawaii stands.

Otherwise it was a great game. As usual Pat Hill shows he is a great coach and competitor. And as much as we love to “hate” you guys we love Coach Pat. Hill did a great job of making adjustments after getting clobbered in the first quarter. You Fresno fans would be amazed at how many die hard Hawaii fans really like Pat Hill and expressed their admiration for him after the game on the post-game radio show.

Although no love lost for that drunk Fresno troublemaker in the stands. Thank God the Honolulu police protected you.

Anonymous said...

nsc - "Your Instructions on Beating Hawaii" were pretty much right on the mark. Good post. Our O-line and defense luckily put up just enough of a fight to hold Fresno off.

-Bleeds Green

Anonymous said...

Legal, yes, but still a dangerous hit that should be made illegal. Haven't defenders also seriously injured their necks and spines making hits like this?

As a Hawaii fan I also humbly admit Brennan rightly got schooled as to when to take a slide.

Anonymous said...

Posted in The Honolulu Advertiser "The Warrior Beat"

Fresno State coach Pat Hill met with Brennan, apologizing for his players' immediate celebratory reaction after the tackle. The Bulldogs were somber after realizing Brennan was injured.

Brennan told Hill that it was a clean hit.

Hill expressed his respect for Brennan and the Warriors.
Brennan was able to walk, without assistance, to the parking lot.


This is why Hawaii fans respect Pat Hill.

- Bleeds Green

Anonymous said...

I apologize for, and retract, my earlier knee jerk comment that the Riley's hit was 'cheap.' After seeing it on TV today (I was at the game) the hit was clean and legal. Even our Hawaii players, including Colt, said it was a good hit.

Regarding your comment on “cheap shot artists” I admit that Hawaii used to have a lot of punks on our team. Especially during coach VonAppen’s days and the beginning part of Jones tenure. It showed up in really obnoxious fans in our stands and a LOT of flags on the field. But I would argue that these days, especially since Brennan started leading the team, that there has been a huge change in the personality in the Warriors. A lot of guy on the team (Brennan included) are now devoted Christians and I think it shows. If we had cheap shot artists on our team today, trust me, I would be the FIRST guy to admit it and the first guy on our blog sites to blast them. I don’t discount your comment toward the Warriors…we were pretty bad back then.

nsc, what you did not see on TV was Fresno’s #80 who turned to the crowd AFTER seeing Brennan was injured and gave us the “cut throat” sign followed by clasping his hands together next to his face and mocking Brennan sleeping. Even after taking a knee he was smiling and chuckling. Sadly, that’s something our team would have done a few years ago.

That being said, Pat Hill is just a plain awesome coach and a real man for going into Hawaii’s locker room after the game to see Colt. He apologized for the post hit celebration and then – in an unprecedented move – addressed the Warriors and gave an impassioned ten minute pep talk to the Warriors to beat Nevada.

Now that’s something I wish was on ESPN. Hell, CNN, MSNBC and FOX. That wasn’t just about football.

All this “hate” mongering is BS, immature and little-minded. Hill’s actions were the real deal about college football, good rivalries, sportsmanship and being a man.

nsc said...

Well you are right I did not see that by player #80. Honestly I don't even know who # 80 is. But I understand you are worried about your QB and my cheap shot comment does reflect the Hawaii teams of the past, not the team that was on the field yesterday.

I just think we all overreact when our player is the one who gets hurt and I can see where you are coming from. I know Brennan was hit hard but he should be sliding there and not running around with his head moving all over the place. In the NFL he would be broken on a play like that. I dont want to see the guy get hurt so I hope he will be able to learn to be more aware.

It's a rough life for QB's and they are target #1 when they get out of the pocket. I am glad Brennan is ok and hope he is in there against Nevada. I want to see a good game next Friday.

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