Cats should tweak this week

The LSU loss exposed the fact that the Cats are nowhere close to beating a top-10 team. LSU was better in every facet of the game. They looked bigger, stronger, faster and more poised. While many fans fear the sky is falling, the season has 10 games left, many of them winnable. To win those games the Cats need to do a lot of work.

The good news is that the Cats get an inferior opponent. Not only is Stephen F. Austin a D-IAA team, but they are an 0-2 D-IAA team. This is a great week to work out a lot of kinks, try out some new players and fine tune things. If the Cats are going to get the offense working, the work needs to start this week.

Quarterback: Willie Tuitama needs confidence, and fast. He's struggled to start the season and has developed some bad habits that he has not shown before. Last year things were more simplified and he excelled. Maybe they need to strip down the offense, find a handful of plays and work them over and over until he is confident.

If he is healthy, he needs to go out against Stephen F. Austin and be given every chance to rebuild his confidence. More than likely the have to shorten the playbook and try to succeed by pure repetition.

If he is not healthy, and they should err on the side of caution, then Tuitama needs to sit out and get healthy. USC won't be an easy game and the Cats need a healthy Tuitama to compete down the stretch when the schedule gets easier.

Running Back: Mike Stoops has already indicated that he plans on starting Chris Henry and splitting tine between he and Chris Jennings. If it was me I would give Jennings the start and give him a minimum of three early series to see exactly what he can do. He appears to be the most instinctual back, and to me he has earned an extended audition.

I still feel that Chris Henry needs his share of carries. He needs enough touches to get into a groove. I would also give Xavier Smith and Terry Longbons enough of a look to see what they can do. Neither of the redshirt freshmen have gotten a carry, though Smith did drop a few passes against LSU.

Wide Receiver: It is time to see what the young guys can do. Terrell Reese and Terrell Turner played against LSU, now it is time to give them a long look. The Cats need big, tall playmakers from the receiver spot and so far B.J. Dennard and Anthony Johnson have not been it. Bobby McCoy will return to practice this week, and if he is healthy, he needs a long look as well. I'd rest the dinged up Mike Thomas and give the young guys a chance to play for an extended period of time and get into the flow of a real game.

Offensive Line: To me this is the key group. The Cats have to get some blocking up front, especially in the run game. If the team cannot run, the offense will do nothing this season.

To me everyone and every combination needs to get a chance. Anyone not redshirting needs to be given a tryout this week in practice and against SFA until the right combination is found. If that means giving long looks to players like Bill Wacholz and James Tretheway, so be it. If the Erick Levitre and Tanner Bell are healthy, then they need a look. Versatile players like Daniel Borg may need to be moved around the line, until the best chemistry is found.

The Cats get lucky in the scheduling. With USC looming the team gets their easiest opponent (on paper) and could have a chance to tinker with the personnel and find the right combinations of players.

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