Okay, I think Nevada is a team that needs no introduction among Bronco fans, but for those who may be joining us for the first time, Nevada brings a run heavy offense to the playing field. Chris Ault (who celebrated his 107th birthday this year, God bless him), created the Pistol offense that mixes different blocking schemes up front, with the zone read, all while allowing the running back to have a full head of steam before he gets the ball in the backfield. Most of the actions in the backfield look the same to the common fan, but a close analysis will reveal the big men (and sometimes tight end, or wing) are blocking differently. This offense, like the triple option share many similarities, and in turn, share many similarities to stopping it.
First things first: Line backers must fill the gaps. Some may be upset that I do not say that the ends stay at home, and the reason is, the running back in the backfield is not a full back who can be chased down from behind if he breaks to level two... this is a full on running back that if he hits level two of our defense he will run till he hands the ball to the official in the end zone. So, we must fill gap assignments. If JC Percy, Tommy Smith, Blake Renaud et all are making the bulk of our tackles 2 and 3 yards from the line of scrimmage, we will be in a good way. If Darian Thompson, and Jeremy Ioane are making the tackles we will lose.
Second things second: Ends must stay at home. If our line backers are plugging the gaps then the Nevada quarterback (Cody Fajardo) will pull the ball and run with it. He is not Colin Kaepernick, but he gives defenses every reason to worry. If he pulls the ball and our ends have crashed down to help out their team mate then we will have a situation where Darian Thompson and Jeremy Ioane are making the bulk of the tackles.... As talented as those players are, we still don't want them making the bulk of the tackles this weekend.
Third things third: We cannot give 10 yard cushions to the wide receivers. I assume Jamar Taylor will take on Brandon Wimberly. Wimberly has talent. He is a big body and has 61 catches so far this year. We don't need to press Wimberly at the line, but we can't simply give up a 10 yard cushion....
That about wraps up what we need to do defensively, and we have a few things going for us. As great as Nevada's offense is, they have had a hard time finding a consistent defense. With that in mind, we cannot expect to show up and roll.
First things first: Wait for it.... Establish the run. With the reports of rain in Reno on gameday, we need to run the ball effectively. Not only do we need to run the ball, we have to use a reverse or two, and possibly the Wild Potter. Harper goes over 100 yards, and Ajayi will go above 50 yards.
Second things second: We must get the passing game going. And not only that.... I think this should be a game which features quite a bit of no huddle offense. We haven't done much of it this year, and now is the time. Matt Miller mus have a big game. He has been somewhat quiet as of the past few games, but tomorrow night, he needs to grab 7 passes or better.
Third: Any guesses? Bueller, Bueller, Frye? Protect the football/win the turnover battle. We must protect the football on the road against an opponent who can score points. Enough said.
Auxiliary notes: We can never have less than a 10 point lead on this team..... They are good even when they get down. Forcing Nevada into 2nd and 8 and 2nd and 9 situations is the key. Running offense have pressure put on them when they are looking at 3rd down and 5.
Don't let Nevada's record fool us. Make no mistake, they could be 0-11, and we will get their best game. Their stadium will be full, and their fans will be loud. We must be consistent and score points. My pick: 48-42 Boise.