Sunday, August 29, 2010
Arkansas State Preview
This preview really has nothing to do with Arkansas State. Arkansas State is a middle of the road Sun Belt Conference team battling it out with the likes of Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State. If it's close, we weren't mentally prepared, which is seldom the case in an opener.
What to expect offensively- the pace to be quicker than last year. The training wheels will come off this year and this will be most apparent early on with the speed at which plays are run. I had a chance to watch a walk-thru practice a few weeks ago and plays were run at a blistering pace (in a freaking walk-thru). I don't know if Coach Malzahn plans on utilizing the NASCAR pace at all times, but when they do it's a weapon in and of itself. Don't expect to see too much playbook against Arkansas State tough. Coach Malzahn will be fine-tuning his bread and butter plays and show nothing more to Mississippi State.
What to expect defensively- a lot of bodies rotating in and out. This defense is at least two deep along the front seven with ease. Some/Many of those will be freshman, but I assure you none of them look like it. The corners don't have the luxury of a tremendous amount of depth yet, however the two starters have the ability to be the best tandem in the conference. The key will be the safeties...and their health. If they remain healthy it will be the deepest, most experienced group in the country. All the defensive depth allows for pressure and I fully expect Ted Roof to bring much more of it this season. He was handcuffed last season...won't have an excuse this year! I also expect to see Coach Chizik's fingerprint all over this defense schematically. Last season was hard to watch, however, last season saw starters play from opening to closing whistle and on special teams. That will not be the case this year.
What to expect from special teams- consistency, attitude, and no Darvin Adams running down the field covering a kick. The luxury of having the likes of Jessel Curry, Jake Holland, Ladarius Owens, Jawara White, Dee Ford, and Joel Bonomolo cover kickoffs and punts and allow the starters the opportunity to be off their feet and drink Gatorade is without question the biggest positive of this season. Wes Byrum is as solid a kicker you could hope to have. Two capable punters and a myriad of potential punt returners makes for a special teams that should be dominant.
Keys to the Game- Fast start, offensive rhythm, getting Cam comfortable, tackle well
Predicted stand out players- Offense- Onterio McCalebb; Defense- Corey Lemonier