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Keys To The Game: Southern Miss Edition

Boise State goes on the road again to take on a non-conference opponent. Hopefully we don't have a repeat of last week's defensive execution.

Boise State must wake up at dawn to get ready for the 10 am kickoff time. Boise State is going into it's fifth game, and have offensive momentum on their side, and the defensive side is a different story. Boise State dominated its first three opponents on the defensive side of the ball, while the offense was figuring some things out. This week's opponent does some similar things offensively as our previous opponent , which is good for our defense. Southern Miss runs the spread offense, which is what New Mexico ran, but swap the pitchman for another receiver.

The spread offense is an offence primarily run with the quarterback in the shotgun formation, one running back, and usually four wide receivers, although spread teams have been known to add a tight end once in while. Most spread plays are based off of the quarterback faking or giving the ball to the running back. This is what call "reading" the defense. The quarterback has a primary defender which he "reads" when the play is run. The player he reads each play is the defensive end. If the end stays at home, the quarterback gives the ball to the running back, if the end crashes in to tackle the running back, the quarterback pulls the ball and runs wild. Devotees will recall that I was very specific in our stopping last week's option offense. And similarly, this week's defensive game plan will largely revolve around our defensive end staying at home. Our ends need to stay at home and let the linebackers and tackles take the running back. If he crashes in, that leaves the quarterback to run outside, we lose contain, and we must rely on a safety or a weak side defender to help make the play. This is why it is so important to keep contain and do or assignments on defense. So, when one person doesn't keep his assignment on defense, it can result in disaster, and that is what happened last week. This is a little thing, but it makes a big difference. Look for our defense to make a statement in this game.

In order for a team to win a game, a team needs to take its opposition out of its game plan. A spread offence, zone read team gets taken out if its rhythm by taking away the run game, The game plan runs on the running game. If we are putting them in 3rd and 6 or 3rd and 5, they are forced to throw on 3rd down, which is what zone read teams hate. As is becoming a tradition, I will quote from Frank Stallone's coaching manual in regards to the zone read. Because the book was published before the zone read was popular he simply refers to this as the option read. "At the snap of the ball, the quarterback puts his eyes on the play-side defensive end. If that end crashes down, the quarterback pulls the ball and the offense won. The end stays home, he forces the quarterback to give the ball, and the defense still holds its ground and limits the play to inside the box. Losing contain on an option (or for this weeks purposes, the zone read) the defense is put in a bad spot and must rely on the safeties to make the play." (page 315) Thanks Coach.

Offensively, we played well last week, and I expect us to pick up where we left off. We will establish the run right away, being as So Miss has given up 180 yards rushing in 3 games this year. I expect us to exceed that this week. We need to go back to play action soon too. Last week we used play action alot, and it worked. One thing our staff did, was use Shane Williams-Rhodes as a decoy, and it really opened up the 16 yard curl route for the offense. Look for the playbook to get a bit deeper. I expect a reverse this game, either Burroughs brother or Shane Williams-Rhodes to take a reverse for a big carry, perhaps a touchdown. Southwick must pass for at least 250 yards, an no interceptions, and this game we must not turn the ball over in the red zone. I also expect our backfield to rush for 280 yards or better.

This should be a good game. I do expect our team to win, and we should be putting up plenty of points, but my concern is the defense, we must play our assignments, if we do we win big. My pick, 42-14 Blue.