It's "Game Time" for the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
The pre-season is over for the Red Wolves, Saturday's Sun Belt conference opener here in Bowling Green, Kentucky is an opportunity to see if this ASU team is going to be a different team than they have been in the past.
What I mean by that is Arkansas State University has a reputation of playing great football in Jonesboro, Arkansas during the Steve Roberts coaching era, they also had a reputation of not playing very good on the road.
New Head Coach Hugh Freeze has been very adamant that this is a new day for Arkansas State a new attitude and a new focus.
There is most definitely a different attitude in Red Wolf Country.
This football team is playing with a lot of passion and a lot of effort for the most part. There have been a couple of occasions that Coach Freeze has been disappointed with his team's effort and it's passion but not very often.
Freeze has said all week that he and his coaching staff haven't talked about last season, they have put the past behind them and only focused on the future of the program.
He has even gone as far as saying that he and his staff isn't bringing up last year's game with Western Kentucky with is football team. Last year's fiasco against the Hilltoppers in Jonesboro is probably one of the main reasons that Freeze is the new head coach of the Red Wolves.
Arkansas State lost on their home field to the presumed "worst team" in the Sun Belt last year. Anything that could go wrong apparently went wrong against WKU.
Today's game is a great opportunity for the Red Wolves to prove to themselves that they can win the games they are suppose to win. It's also an opportunity to prove to the AStateNation fan base that this is a different team, that they can go on the road and be successful.
That they can play well wherever they play, in fact Freeze stresses that road games are just a business trip, an extension of a home game, just being played at another location.
Yes it's a business trip and the Red Wolves have to take care of business.
Arkansas State enters today's game here in Bowling Green a 15 point favorite. The Red Wolves will likely get Western Kentucky's A game today, the Hilltoppers have played well at times this season, while also not playing well at times. Today is not the day to make them look like super stars.
The Red Wolves are an explosive offensive team. There is no doubt about that.
The biggest difference about this football team is their attitude, they have a different swagger and oh by the way did I mention that they are a much better team defensively.
Dave Wommack's defense has been a difference maker so far this season. They definitely has made this team overall a better ball club.
Yes they have given up some big plays, something that they are constantly working on and will need to work hard not to do today at Western Kentucky.
Another key to this football game is the fact that Wommack must figure out a way to stop Bobby Raney and not allow the Hilltoppers to run the football at will against ASU.
The last thing that Arkansas State wants to do is allow Western Kentucky a lot of long drives. Freeze's offense thrives when they have the ball, they don't need to be stranded on the sidelines.
This is a different Arkansas State Football team, today's game will hopefully prove it.
All the players, coaches and fans want a Sun Belt conference championship.
That probably won't happen if the Red Wolves don't take care of business today, so it's very important that this business trip goes well.