Offensively, the Tigers employ a spread up-tempo attack as they return most of their skill position student-athletes, led by receivers Chester Rogers (6’1, 175, Jr.), Anthony McGhee (5’10, 175, Sr.) and Chad Williams (6’3, 193, So.) with running backs Cedric Skinner (5’10, 209, Jr.) and Jestin Kelly (5’11, 252, Sr.). They have an experienced offensive line that lost only one starter from last season which averages around 294 pounds per man. They protect dual quarterbacks, both of whom are shifty in D.J. Williams (6’4, 195, Sr.) and Stephen Johnson (6’2, 180, R-Fr.). Williams is more the pocket passer with Johnson using his feet in some zone-read option type plays. Neither is very accurate and they like to dink-and-dunk their way down the field most times as they lack big play capabilities for the most part.
Defensively the Tigers run an unusual alignment in a 3-3-5 stack, where there are 3 down linemen, 3 linebackers and 5 defensive backs. Smaller schools will usually employ this defense as it’s more difficult for them to recruit the bigger linemen. The smaller linemen allowed many schools to have their way offensively with the Tigers as they completed the 2013 season ranking 116th out of 122 Football Championship Subdivision teams, allowing 487.1 yards per game. The Tigers also allowed 38.5 points per game, again near the bottom of the FCS rankings. In their game one loss at Lamar, the Tigers trailed just 14-13 at halftime before allowing the Cardinals to score 28 unanswered third quarter points, putting the game away.
Levine mentioned during his media presser that the Tigers like to blitz and play a lot of man coverage in the back end. This could lead to quite a few big plays downfield if O’Korn is on target. If I’m the Tigers I’m doing just that, blitz O’Korn early and often, making him complete passes downfield, something he’s been unable to show thus far on the young season. If I’m Travis Bush I’m dinking and dunking my way down field early on to give the sophomore QB some confidence, along with establishing the running game against that smaller GSU defensive front. Only then would I take deep shots in the passing game. Defensively the Coogs need to show more of the same. Be aggressive yet stay disciplined in not rushing outside your assigned lanes. The Coogs need to hit the Tigers from the get-go, gain a huge lead and continue playing relentless. The team needs a confidence boosting type game going into a huge week 3 Thursday night matchup at BYU on September 11th. Of course us ‘Coogfans’ can look ahead to that matchup. It’s up to the coaching staff to keep the players’ minds focused on Grambling State.
Final prediction: Houston – 41 Grambling State – 10