Burning Questions

There are burning questions that need to be answered by our beloved Red Raiders for the upcoming game against Missouri at Jones Stadium. Our Red Raiders need to move past the successes of the A&M game, as RaiderPower asks the questions that need to be the focus for this week.

1. Can we maintain focus for the entire game?  As well as the team played early on and at the very end of the game, we still nearly lost the game because we played poorly for the majority of the second half.   It appeared to slightly be the same frightening "attitude of entitlement" that cost us in the TCU game this year and OSU game last year.  Until we can play our hardest for entire games, we will struggle and let opponents keep games much closer than they should be.  The common factor here seems to be that these games happen on the road when another team wants it more than us.  Sure, we got away with one against A&M because we had superior talent and coaching.  Still, I hate to see our team get overconfident and not think that they have to earn every win.

2. Can our defense adjust quicker to opposing offenses?  This is both a scheme problem and player recognition issue.  A&M was punishing us, especially in the second half with their option game.  Our players were out of position, partly because of the scheme and partly because our defenders weren't reading the play well enough.  There were three players who I noticed were defending the option very well, and they were Keyunta Dawson, Joe Garcia, and Chris Parker.  Most of the other players looked a bit lost when facing A&M's triple option that they ran with some real success.  My biggest concern with the team is how slowly the defense as a whole has responded to a player or play that is repeatedly working with effectiveness.

3. Can we please move Dawson back to LB?  Dawson was a beast against A&M.  His combination of speed, agility, and tackling ability is just perfect for an OLB, and he proved it once again by defending the option to perfection from the defensive end spot.  There was one play in particular in which he was facing Courtney Lewis in the open field.  Lewis appeared to have the corner, but Keyunta's speed was enough to cut him off.  Realizing this, Courtney tried to cut back against the grain, but once again, Dawson was a step ahead of him, and made a fantastic tackle for loss.  I can't think of another DE in the country who could have made that play.  Then again, most people with Keyunta's skills are linebackers.  Actually, such players are great linebackers.

4. Can we get Shannon Woods some more touches?  I think we can all agree that Woods is doing a phenomenal job.  He was more of a part of the offense against A&M that the statistics show.  We all saw his key block on our game-winning TD, but he was throwing blocks like that all game.  Woods was also averaging over seven yards a carry, and that wasn't even counting what he did on shovel passes and receiving out of the backfield.  Shannon is an explosive player in every sense of the word, and I'm not just saying that because he is my adopted player.  The more we can establish the running game, the more our receiving corps will be able to attack the secondary.  Woods is somewhat of a catalyst for our offense, so maybe we should start treating him like one.

5. Can we move past A&M?  Alright, so we got our good road win against in-state rival A&M.  The season isn't over, and we haven't accomplished much yet.  With all of the back-patting going on, the team needs to be sure to prepare for Missouri.  They are a talented team that is not to be taken lightly, who will happily take advantage of any opportunities that we give them to pull an upset on us.  There's a reason that the Tigers are undefeated so far.  In my opinion, if Harrell isn't the best quarterback in the Big 12, then the award thus far has to go to Chase Daniel.  The former Southlake QB has been tearing it up, and is as much of a dual-threat quarterback as we will face.  We cannot give him or the rest of the Tigers a chance to beat us.


-Trent Wycoff

(Questions, comments, praise, and constructive criticism can be directed to Trent within the forums or through email at trent@raiderpower.com.)

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