Bart's Blog: It's Simple Really…

…the key to victory in Eugene that is. It is called the "Just Play" game plan. That's it. It is going to take solid football playing, it is not going to take a miracle, and it certainly isn't going to take one lateral, one halfback pass, and one Statue of Liberty...

This Boise State team is a good one and capable of beating a good Oregon one. And it comes down to a general, simple rule that, for some reason, tends to be forgotten about in big games such as this… Fundamentals.

When playing powerhouse teams, like an Oregon, there are always a few things that affect the outcome. Two of them a team MUST do and one they MUST NOT do. For these things, I'll call them "Sub-keys to Victory;" have a tendency to trouble underdogs in a hostile environment much like Autzen Stadium. Call it the noise, call it Nike, or call it the infinite combinations of their uniforms, but we must call a spade a spade. (Or is it "If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck…") Oregon is a fast, athletic team; an underdog football squad lining up against this environment tend to, for lack of a better term, kill themselves before any opponent does.

Two "Sub Keys" they MUST do… play great on special teams and get points on every trip in the redzone.

The kicking game is a strange bird in that when both teams play them fundamentally right it becomes a wash, has little to do with the outcome. Drastic momentum changes happen in the kicking game because so many yards are at stake. One blocked kick, a mishandled snap, or dropped ball carries a lot of weight. Creates momentum for opposing teams and allows them, in most cases less ground to cover for a score. So keep in mind special teams will not win games but they will certainly lose them.

Every PAT, every field goal, every trip in the redzone must come away with points. Nothing is more frustrating for an offense when putting together a solid drive in a tough game only to get stuffed before the endzone or worse yet, miss a filed goal and come away with an oval. Good teams are tough to score on, obviously, so BSU must take advantage of those opportunities. Case in point, Fresno State's two missed kicks against Wisconsin. (Of course, defensive scores are always welcome.)

Here is what they MUST NOT do… Don't act like the young team they are. A lot of these players will be in this situation for the first time and with that comes a sense of anxiety. Anxiety leads to thinking. I use the term loosely but "thinking" about what can or can't happen instead of what will happen is never a good thing in this sport. Football players don't think, they play. When "thinking" mistakes start generating and mistakes carry greater weight in a game like this. Hopefully this anxiety is converted into ignorance. Ignorance because they don't realize what the situation lying ahead of them is. It is just another game.

Just play.

Bart Hendricks... played a few times for Boise State.  
Bart's other sports musings can be found at www.barthendricks.com
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