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Interview with a Rocket: Five questions and a blog bet with Let's Go Rockets

Toledo bloggers JPH and L8N know their Toledo football, which is fine with me because Toledo football is not my specialty. Thankfully, the proprietors of Let's Go Rockets agreed to a Q&A to give us some insight into Saturday's game, Toledo's chances, and which version of O*Town they most connect with.

Their answers to my questions are after the jump, as well as another round of blog betting greatness (if that's the right word).


For your Toledo news fix (and who doesn't need a Toledo news fix?), check out the Let's Go Rockets blog, run by JPH and L8N. Those guys are good people, despite what our friends at Bowling Green's FalconBlog have to say.

Currently featured on their site: Video pulled from coach Tim Beckman's Facebook page. Ah, Facebook. Remember when Coach Pete used to allow that to exist?

The Interview

1. Describe your team's season to date in 100 words or less. "Muscle hamster" must be one of those words.

The Rockets' season opened with a painfully disappointing showing against Arizona. We regrouped and picked up some steam by winning the next two games (in conference) on the road. Surfed that momentum into Purdue and pulled off an upset (gaining a short lived "muscle hamster" reputation) - only to field a flat team in the next week and come up short against Wyoming in Toledo (despite a late third quarter QB swap and fourth quarter rally). Now the Rockets head to Boise to face No. 4 Boise State.

2. If Boise State could pick one player from your team to come play with them, who would it be? If you could pick one Boise State player to go play for your team, who would it be? Explain.

The most likely pick for one Toledo player that Boise State would want on their roster is Archie Donald. Donald is a talented senior linebacker with the speed and skill to shut offenses down. Archie has 29 solo tackles on the season (52 overall) and 2 INTs that he returned for 71 yards. His instincts and control would complement the capable stable of Boise State linebackers and he would be a great addition to that defensive unit.

Kellen Moore is probably the most unoriginal answer we could give to this question, but it's also the most honest. We could benefit from a QB under center who is experienced and able to make the kind of quick decisions that Moore has shown he can make. We have capable receivers and backs who can makes plays with the ball if they can get it, but the decision making of our QBs has been sporadic at times.

Of course, a QB has to have time to react and the offensive line has to give him enough time to figure out how the play is developing. Our QBs with Boise State's O-line might be just fine too, so we can't attribute all our issues to QB play....

3. Imagine for a moment that your team is ESPN's college football coverage. What part is Ron Franklin and what part is Pam Ward?

The Franklin portion of the Rocket team is definitely the defense. In prior years, the offense was the driving force to the team and the defense had issues that left us vulnerable. Now, they seem to have reversed roles. Our defense has been a bright spot on the season so far and helped the offense out when they were sputtering at times. Against conference opponents, the defense has shown their resolve and improvement.

Eric Page is another Franklin-like piece of the puzzle. When he gets the ball, he makes things happen - the first part of that statement being a problem, at times, this season. Flying under the radar last year (as a freshman), he made opposing defenses chase him all over the field - as a sophomore, teams are prepared for him and blanket him as much as possible.

Representing Pam Ward is our offensive momentum. As quickly as we get plays to work and get rolling, something happens to put a damper on that drive and kill whatever momentum we've scratched up. Nothing kills drives quicker than unnecessary penalties and, at times, we're our own worst enemies.

4. Name three keys to victory for your team. Name one key to certain defeat.

If the Rockets want to keep this one close, they'll have to play some good football.

  1. For starters, the offensive line will have to protect Dantin (or Owens, perhaps) long enough for the QB to get the ball to a receiver or to a back and let them get out of the backfield. Without that, everything collapses from the start.
  2. Make the plays you can - tentative play against a team like Boise State will simply kill us in this game. The QB needs to put the ball in the hands of the receivers or backs and let them make the plays. (We know that sounds like a pretty basic football concept, but if you get nervous and worry about one aspect of the game instead of spreading the ball around and keeping the defense honest, it'll get ugly quickly.) This goes for defense too - stick to your assignment or man and play the game without hesitation.
  3. Penalties and turnovers will destroy any momentum we achieve and cripple the offense and defense. We have to keep these mistakes to a minimum and let ourselves get into a rhythm.

One key to certain defeat:

Against a powerhouse team like Boise State, we have to play our type of game. If we hesitate and play nervous, we will get picked apart. We can get stops on defense and get the ball to the playmakers, we've all seen it ... we have to relax and make that happen. If we don't play confidently and simply try to protect ourselves too much, we'll end up seeing the comatose performance that we saw in the first three quarters of last week's game (against Wyoming).

5. On a scale of boy bands, with O*Town being not at all and N*Snync being supremely, how confident are you that your team will win on Saturday?

It pains us to admit this, but O*Town has our vote on this one - granted it's O*Town after the release of All of Nothing, which makes us only slightly more optimistic about the outcome of this game, but it's still in the basement dwelling zone of the boy band scale. The aspect of the game that we're most confident in is the Rocket defense ... the Ashley Angel of this scenario, the best we have.

The Blog Bet

Let's Go Rockets has agreed to participate in the blog bet with us this week, making it 5-for-5 on games and bets this year. Don't screw that up, San Jose State. Quick, someone start a Blogspot account.

If you're unfamiliar with the blog bet, it works this way: Winning team's blog gets a free post on losing team's blog. So far this season, we've been winning, and there are some pretty unique posts out there. The New Mexico State one should be up later today or tomorrow.

Good luck to Let's Go Rockets and the Toledo football team, and I do not mean that at all.