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

Red Wolves-10


  1. Not being mentally prepared may seldom happen in an opener, but when it does, it can be scary. I was at Tuberville's first game when he opened with the Tigers at home against Appy State in 1999 and I'm here to tell you that while I have fond memories of Leard to Daniels late in that game, I really am getting too old for that kind of excitement in "tune up" games.

    Really like the rest of your preview. Gonna link it on a few AU sites and see if I can get some folks to click over this way...

  2. .....I always enjoy what Rob has to say! Most of us bloggers can operate the TV remote, but Rob played, and was a good one who got the start in the second game of his true freshman season.

    .....ASU loses a bunch of players to graduation AND is installing new systems. I think Gus will have to work hard to hold it to 49 points, unless there are problems that haven't been revealed yet. All of the backup QBs looked like they could throw it on A-Day!

  3. biggest things I am looking i looking for going into the season:

    offensively - as rob has mentioned above, the pace. how much faster will it be? also, how will the offense do after we "get of the script" in a game. had a lot of games last year that we started off fast and couldn't do much after the first 2-3 series.

    defensively - tackling, tackling, tackling. it was bad from the beginning last year and seemed to get better. however the D was so worn down by season end that we lost games in the fourth quarter. depth should aid this tremendously.