Boise State hosts the Air Force Falcons this week. As we have all heard, Air Force runs the triple option, and runs it well. Join me after the jump as I give my keys to this game.
Stopping this scheme is quite easy, that is if each player plays his designed role in the defense and not try to help out his team mate. There are other plays in this offense that can hurt us because Air Force has mastered their blocking schemes an techniques to maximize the yardage per play. The trap, where a center blocks down and the guard pulls to lead the way for the fullback, the dive where the fullback simply blasts ahead in a man on man blocking scheme, the quick pitch-usually done out of the double wing set, where the receiver cracks the defensive end, and the tackle pulls to lead the way for the full back, then finally a hand full of pass plays derived off of play action in hopes the safeties come crashing up, only to find the quarterback throw a pass down field which can result in big plays.
This is a very simple offense, and don't get too excited if we stop it the first series or two. It is based on hoping the defense screws up, particularly the defensive end. To stop this offense, the defensive end must rely on the line backer to fill the gap when the option comes. The defensive end always has the quarterback. The moment he bites down to "help out" with the full back we are toast. That leaves for blocking down field for the quarterback to hurt us. Every play the defensive end must hit the quarterback. If the line backer plugs the hole, end takes quarterback, that leaves for the corner to have the pitch man. He needs to fight off the block and make the play or force him inside for the nickle back or the rest of the cavalry to help corral the play. That is the option in simple terms, but it is up to our ends to do their jobs and hit the quarterback every play. I think with Shea McClellin and Tyrone Crawford at end we are in a good situation, but even the best can be fooled by this offense.
Boise State Offensive Keys:
Once again, wait for it...... Establish the run. We need to average four yards or better on the per carry. The long runs will eventually come. I would prefer to see our running backs come out and put us in 2nd down and 5 or 6 yard situations. The long runs happen because of the consistent play of the line and the running backs reading the blocks. It is at that point where a safety gets anxious and take the wrong angle or is fooled by a reverse to the Mitch Burroughs Experience.
Score touchdowns on the first three possessions. As I mentioned earlier, don't get too excited if we force a punt on the first two of three Air Force possessions. After seeing the line backer tackle the fullback on seven or eight plays that defensive end starts wanting a piece of the action, and he will bite down. Lets hope the boys stay at home. By forcing punts and scoring touchdowns that will put Air Force in a tough situation, stick with the ground game, or go the air in predictable fashion..... Decisions decisions.
Score 45 points. We can win the game when scoring 45 points. That would force Air Force to put up lots of yardage against our defense. I don't see Air Force winning if we put up 45.
Boise State Defensive Keys:
Hit the quarterback every option play. If there is an option play where Shea, Tyrone, Or Jarrell don't have the Air Force quarterback on the ground or in a bear hug, I am worried.
Limit Air Force rushing attack to 200 yards. Hatemay. why so many yards? Well, the running game is their bread and butter, and they average around 336 rushing yards per game, which is third in the country. If we keep them well under their average then we will force them into obvious passing situations.
Put them in 2nd down and 8 situations, not 2nd down and 5 or 4 yards. This offense is a wear you down offense. Therefore they will try very hard to be in 3rd down and 2 yard situations. Keeping them in 2nd and 8 forces them to think bigger yardage on 2nd down, which they will then go to passing plays, or their big play running plays earlier than they want.
Air Force Offensive Keys:
Score on their first two possessions. I know its the opposite of the keys I listed above, but scoring right away puts them in the thick of the game. Weather one of those is an defensive touchdown, or a special teams, either way they need to have 14 points in the first quarter. If they are shut out in the first quarter, I think that may put them in too big of a hole to overcome.
No turnovers. They cannot afford to let Boise have the ball anymore than they will have it already. If they avoid any interceptions that will be good for them, because that means they are sneaking play action passing into their option run attack. If we intercept a pass that means we have been able to anticipate those passes.
They need to pass the ball more than 200 yards. They only average 170 yards a game through the air so they need to up that by at least 30 yards.
Air Force Defensive Keys:
Force three turnovers. I know that I say this alot, but when a team forces three turnovers on us their chance of winning goes up exponentially. So my three turnovers still stands as an almost weekly key regardless of the team.
Keep Kellen Moore from throwing three touchdowns.. That makes us run the ball well, something which we haven't done well constantly all year.
Neutralize our tight ends. Our tight ends do a lot of damage to opposing teams. That is what other teams haven't done well, and it has hurt them. Georgia couldn't do it, and the only team that somewhat stopped out tight end game was Nevada, and that was because we dropped some passes.
This will be a good game. Look for us to get out to a quick start, making it a 14-3 game at the end of the first quarter, then keeping it a decent gap the rest of the way.
Score prediction, 45-20 Blue.
Auxiliary thoughts. Okay, this Ricky TAT situation. I know we have all given our opinions about this bull crap that the NCAA does. I was scouring the blogs yesterday, something I rarely do, and I heard something about a Florida lineman who was homeless and received aid from a legitimate local charity, and for that aid he received a two game suspension. Sorry I can't provide names, but word was the Will Muschamp was livid. It seems like if the NCAA gets involved, everything becomes a big Spanish inquisition. The host families are being punished for caring about these kids. Boldewijn was driving a 1990 Camry with 182,000 miles on it. If he was driving a Dodge Charger or one of seven sports cars (cough cough Terrelle Pryor cough cough) then there would be an issue, but he was being provided with adequate transportation around town. Heaven forbid TAT's host family (wealthy boosters or not) take him on vacation and buy him some textbooks. Maybe TAT's family in The Netherlands is destitute, I don't know. Maybe he is the only surviving member, I don't know. I can think of a family that has taken me in for Thanksgiving dinner since moving to Boise that shows an interest in my well being, if I was a student athelete at BSU would they not be allowed to have me at their home for Thanksgiving?
Another scenario, Kellen Moore and his then girlfriend now wife would attend the same church as me. As I have pointed out earlier, Mrs. Moore is a member of the same church, Kellen is not, but he is a welcome participant when he attends, which was usually twice a month. Our church also holds a meal after our services once a month.... now if Kellen attended church, then stayed for a meal afterward, would he be required to sit out a game for receiving a bread bowl and soup? Better yet, if Kellen's car wouldn't start after church and needed a ride home, would he be penalized for receiving impermissible transpiration benefits? Where does the line get drawn? We have parents shopping their child/student athlete around, but since his son/student athlete "didn't know" about it there was no punishment assigned, but we have a wide receiver driving a 21 year old car, and another who was invited on vacation with his host family get punished for numerous games....? Where does it stop?
Okay, now, on to Air Force. I know Coach Pete already made himself perfectly clear about how we should welcome Air Force, but I want to add my two cents. Back during Mountain West media days, when Caves and Prater (aka Dumb and dumber) had a handful of Air Force players and head coach Troy Calhoun on the show every response given by the Air Force student athlete began with "yes sir," or "no sir." Same with the head coach. Show me a school outside of the service academy's that has players and coaches that show that much respect towards other human beings. I don't hear LSU players and coaches talking like that, or Oregon players and coaches, or Alabama player or coaches. I have nothing but respect for our service academy's. Also, I will not be giving my throat slash sign to the bus when they come by our tailgate, rather applause for them.