It's week two of the collegiate season and the Websider prognosticator panel is white hot after a big opening week. rssfarm won a close one in week two while Hop is clipping at his heels. We'll have season standings for you next week. In the meantime, here's how the boys see tomorrow's game against the Bulldogs.
Texas A&M 49
Louisiana Tech 10
When A&M has the ball
Louisiana Tech will not play as soft of coverage as we saw against SFA for a few reasons. For one they will not repeat the mistakes of a team that just got blown out but also because the strength of their defense is not necessarily their Defensive Line. Because of this I expect A&M to try to stretch the field early and often which will eventually open up the running game. I expect this game to not be close at all heading into the half and then to see CMike and Cyrus rack up a bunch of yards on the deck in the 2nd half.
To take these shots we will need to O-Line to show up and give Jerrod time to make reads down the field. Last week was a solid start to the year with I believe just one false start penalty from Lewis and no holding calls. If we can manage a repeat this week Jerrod, Jeff, EZ, and crew should be in for a big day.
When LaTech has the ball
With a DI talent at running back I'd expect Louisiana Tech to try to pound the rock and chew up clock. The problem with this is they had big trouble doing so last week. If you take out one outlier, a big 37 yard run, Lennon Creer averaged 2y/carry on 16 runs. Keeping that run out of the stats Louisiana Tech as a team averaged about 2.7 yards per carry against Grambling. Our run defense appeared solid last week and if it is up to the task this week we are going to force one of the three LaTech QB's to beat us through the air. With our athletes at the cornerback position I just do not see that happening.
This is the one area of the game where Louisiana Tech stands a chance. They have a stud in Phillip Livas who was the all-WAC PR in 2008 and 2nd team last year while injured. He could keep them in the game with good field position off of KOs. Louisiana Tech will want to shorten the game; we cannot allow them to do so by losing the field position battle. Continually pooching to the 25 and letting Livas get the rock up to the 40 will force our offense to constantly go the length of the field. This is the aspect of the game I'm most interested in seeing as Louisiana Tech's talent level is a step up for SFA and special teams could be where it rears its ugly head.
In the end our tempo is too much for a team that saw a very bad Grambling team last weekend. The step up in competition will be shocking and they won't necessarily be prepared for the speed from our skill positions.
Louisiana Tech 10
Sonny Dykes typically runs a potent offense, but his first at Louisiana Tech is still trying to find it's legs, and will need to look past this week to get themselves rolling. That said, they have a talented running back and receiving corps, who along with, I'm assuming, an at least capable trigger-man (a yet to be established at starter -out of three contenders), and OUR kicker, they should be good to make a few plays, and help set themselves up for a few scoring opportunities (a touchdown, and 1 of 2 on field goals). A&M doesn't know for certain which quarterback to be ready for, but their offense needs rhythm and chemistry, and the Aggies' newfound speed and pressure up front, not to mention a skilled secondary, will make it a rough day for La. Tech's offensive efforts.
A&M wasn't without some slight issues in their trouncing of SFA last week, but the squads shortcomings are mostly fixable and, not happy with certain criticisms, the hungry group will look to take it out on La. Tech. Along those lines, I see the offensive line really laying the groundwork in kicking the ground game into another gear and burying the Bulldogs up front, as playmakers Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray take advantage. Those efforts on the ground, coupled with a defense attempting to bring pressure against our more than capable line, open up more opportunities, as Jerrod Johnson and a less reticent Coach Sherman, start lighting it up downfield. Johnson still shakes off the rust but, like last week, shows that he's still dangerous at less than 100% and will make good use of his vast array of targets (from his playmaking wideouts, to his two big tight end targets, to Gray, and yes you will also see more the same out of Ryan Swope but also on quick slants with momentum and not just bubbles screens and the like).
Texas A&M 45
Louisiana Tech 14
Here's how it will go down:
1. Offense - in spite of the internet hacks busting JJ and his arm, we shall remember; "he is who he is". It ain't pretty, never has been ... the boy just gets the job done. Look for JJ and Co to go off for 300+ yards in the air. Spreading it around a little more against a porous La Tech defense (although they gave up only 15 completions last week to Grambling - it's because Grambling sucks), look for Fuller, EZ and Swope to have a field day ....and the secret weapon, Mr Hicks to have some success over the middle. The two headed monster of Gray and C-Mike repeat last weeks performance with 200+ yards (La Tech can't tackle - they were 111th in 2009 for TFL)....easy math 200 + 300 = 500 yds. = lots of points
2. Defense - good start last week. Someone taught the Aggies how to swarm the ball and tackle, and jump a route for a defensive TD, and stop the run (I know, weaker opponent and all that ..... did that matter the last couple of years?) The ILB issue won't be fixed this week, oh well, everyone has a wart somewhere. Lock down corner Judie will shine again, if they throw his way, he'll get a pick. Like to see the tone set early with a monster hit ....and a fumble ....and a recovery....and a return for a TD.
3. Special Teams - punting was better (37.3) and look for that to improve. Punts were caught, coverage was decent ...... extra work this week yields dividends on punt and KO returns. Bullock and FG kicking won't cost us this game.
Sonny Dykes will have them thinking they belong. They don't. Think it's 9 consecutive losses to the Ag's. This one will be a repeat of 2006 and #10 ....45-14.
Texas A&M 52
Louisiana Tech 10
Texas A&M will come out swinging once again and I think JJ will have a big game game to counteract his last one. Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael both have 100 yard [rushing] games as the offensive coaches figure out what works. The defense will hold the opposition under two scores yet again.
Texas A&M 51
Louisiana Tech 9
Your Aggies continue with a conservative game plan offensively against the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech. Jerrod Johnson and the offense play a fast paced ball control offense. Johnson will use the shuttle pass, the bubble screen, the quick throw to the wide receiver and the quick hitting running duo of CMike and Gray to quickly but methodically move the ball on the Bulldogs. This game is a training ground for Sherman and staff to teach this young team to play in control and execute. In an attempt at a balanced offense the Aggies will run the ball 60% and pass 40% of the time. CMike will again get over 100 yards rushing and C. Gray will exceed 100 total yards. R. Swope will continue his nation leading catch trend with the short catches for nice gains. The difference against La. Tech will be EZ, Fuller & Hicks as all three will make big catches for big gains in this game when JJ and RT throw across the middle. Yes, I believe RT is going to get a chance to throw a few down field. Sherman and staff continue to learn and improve on the job so I'm counting on them to learn to get the second and third teams some real experience by allowing them to run the offense. JJ will still get his 35-40 attempts with a goal of completing 70% and as long as he sticks to the short passes he will be close to the 70% mark. With 70% completions to EZ, Swope, Fuller, Hicks, Gray, etc., look for JJ to throw for 300 yards against La. Tech (yea, that many yards and most generated by great receivers doing really good things after the catch) and the running backs will get 250 yards rushing.
On the defensive side of the ball, Coach DeRuyter keeps the pressure on the Bulldogs by mixing it up for the three (3) Bulldog Quarterbacks. This week we should see Steven Ensminger (son of former LSU QB and A&M OC Steve Ensminger). Expect to see one or both of the La Tech QB's (Colby Cameron or Ross Jenkins) that played last week against Grambling. As with every spread offense timing is a key so the A&M defense has a chance to have a field day with the three (3) QB system possible from the Bulldogs. The QB timing with the receivers won't quite be up to par so the A&M DB's have a chance for 2-4 picks with at least one going for a TD. Also expect DeRuyter to send someone from the front seven after the QB enough to remind him that he is never safe. The defense will get to the quarterback at least three (3) times for sacks and a possible fumble. While the Aggies defense continues to have success don't expect DeRuyter to get to fancy. ReRuyter is a smart coach that is building his system with this young defense so he wants to make sure they do exactly what he expects so he is teaching them to do the routine things routinely through serious repetition. The defense plays efficiently and effectively holding the Bulldogs to 270 yards of total offense. Unfortunately, special teams continue to struggle this week as the Aggies change personnel to try to work the kinks out. On the positive note your Aggies will not have a turnover against La. Tech.
The final outcome will make the Aggie faithful feel good about this one as the Aggies win going away 51-9 for a 2-0 start to the season.
Texas A&M 41
Louisiana Tech 7
Sonny Dykes is trying to work his offensive magic in Ruston and he may get there. The Bulldogs have had good offense in the past, but it won't be this season. This is a transition year and Dykes has taken over personnel built for a traditional run offense employed by the departed Vince Dooley. As a result, the new offense has struggled going back to some of the team's fall scrimmages. The staff can't decide on a quarterback and the offensive line (while experienced) is built for drive blocking. As a result, the Bulldog offense is primed for some big mistakes and if A&M's defense can come out immediately and force the action, they will cause some early turnovers and then the Aggies will be off to the races. If the defense allows Louisiana Tech to get into a rhythm and move the ball early through the air, then Tennessee transfer RB Lennon Creer could pierce the good guys with some big runs. But I don't think that happens. DeRuyter has the defense playing with "fanatical effort" and I expect some big early plays from the defense that leads to some quick scores.
Websider Prognosticators - Louisiana Tech
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