Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Keys to beating nevada down

Let's talk keys to the game. And understand, Saturday is a big, big game. The type of game the lowly nevada program is not used to. The type of game the drunken morons sitting behind the end zone cheering for the wolf pack in last year's debacle won't be able to comprehend.

No. 21 nevada, in its highest ranking since the 1940s, visits Bulldog Stadium. Last year with Colin Kaepernick at QB. Coming off two straight wins over Fresno State for the first time (ever?) and last year's beatdown when Ryan Mathews was lost to injury.

Comment and let us know what you think the keys are? Here's how we break it down:

Will Ault be 'Colin' passing plays?
A somewhat overlooked stat from the past two meetings between these teams is Kaepernick's lack of passing prowess. He's 13 for 29 with 173 yards. Numbers like that remove the cape from Kaep and make it a wonder how he could be a legit Heisman candidate. If Fresno State makes nevada pass, the 'Dogs win the ballgame.

Can Fresno State make nevada pass?
The answer the past two years has been overwhelmingly no. But make no mistake, this year's Bulldog defense is a far cry from the last two years' (and they made us cry a lot those two years). DE Chris Carter and DT Logan Harrell are both among the top six sack leaders in the country. That bodes well if nevada is forced to pass, but can it be forced? Perhaps. Travis Brown is a huge upgrade at LB, Phillip Thomas is one of the WAC's best players at S. The Bulldogs have playmakers throughout the defense now. But S Lorne Bell, who doesn't have top end speed, will have to be near flawless in his assignment discipline to prevent the giant runs nevada rode to victory last year. It helps that the Bulldogs' defense has played so many running QBs (cincinnati, utah state, ole miss, cal poly) but the one opponent that ran nevada-esque plays was ole miss -- and the 'Dogs got burned multiple times on big runs, including a read option up the middle for a huge gain. Another X-factor on defense would have been CB Jermaine Thomas, but the 'Dogs could be without him for the rest of the year after he was injured on the final play at louisiana tech.

Can 'Dogs replace J.T.?
Jermaine Thomas is really, really good. Most in the local media don't realize how good. Maybe no one in the local media does. Thomas is the best CB the team has had in years, and is not only lockdown capable in pass coverage, but has helped in the run-stopping game, namely against cincinnati. Think about it -- how many times have you seen Thomas while watching TV this year? It's rare -- because opposing QBs don't even throw to his side of the field. He usually goes unnoticed with his side of the field locked down (save for the TD he gave up to that ole miss receiver who was like 8-foot-6). Replacing Thomas in the lineup on Saturday will be either Isaiah Green or L.J. Jones. Green has lots of experience, and is one of the team's fastest players. But as recently as the san jose state game, he got burned for a big play TD pass. Can't have that this week. The good news on Green is he's a very sure open field tackler, something the 'Dogs will need. Jones is less experienced but will be a very impactful player before his career is over.

What other keys would you add...?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.