1. Did the "air out" meeting help? For those of you who haven't heard, the team had an "air out" session in which the players were free to express their thoughts and feelings to the rest of the team. If this went as well as I hope that it did, and it sounds like this is the case from the better practices thus far, then it was a brilliant coaching move. Still, it won't mean a thing unless it translates to the field. Hopefully, this helps to bring some of the older and younger players closer together. I pray that the team took full advantage of the opportunity to voice their concerns, and that most of it was kept constructive. Maybe it's just me, but I feel that the way the team responds to the meeting will be what sets the tone for the rest of our season. Again, what is learned off the field must make its way to our games.
2. Can our offense get on the same page? The offensive problems have been much bigger than just a quarterback issue. The only player who has consistently been doing his job is Shannon Woods. I hope the receiving corps and the quarterbacks were able to figure out what the problems were in making the connection, and I hope the O-line can learn to play better as a unit, no matter who is involved in protection. I truly feel that the struggles on offense so far have been purely mental, and that they can be quickly rectified. Maybe the "air out" was all that the units needed to get back on track and back working together. Otherwise, we might begin to forget what the Air Raid offense once was, and what made it dominate. I want to see opposing secondaries get confused and scared like they used to.
3. Will Keyunta Dawson stay at linebacker? Last week, Keyunta got the start at LB while Fletcher Session stayed home to rehab an injury. Keyunta added quite a bit to the LB unit, but the defensive line was not as dangerous without him. So, the question is, will Dawson stay there this weekend? I doubt it, but I kind of wish that he would. For one, Fletcher's health is still a concern, and the linebacking unit is not as deep as the defensive line. Also, Keyunta is going to play LB in the NFL, and PT there would help his draft stock, for a personal reason. However, in all likelihood, unless Session is absolutely not able to go on Saturday, Fletcher will get the start. Not that Fletcher starting is a bad thing, as he has plenty of talent and experience, I just don't want him hindered by injury on the field and possibly reaggravating it.
4. Can our fanbase stay behind the team? The Hicks incident after the Colorado game was supposedly incited by one of our own, which makes me infinitely sad. The contingent of TTU fans must be a factor. In the good way. Support the team. That's what you made the trip for. Iowa State is a good team with plenty of talent who is struggling, just like us. Their fans must not be the reason the Iowa State possibly beats us. It's one thing to get outplayed, it's entirely another to take a demoralizing loss and have to hear about it from our fans for the next week. This season is far from over. Act like it. Focus the energies on positive things like this thread. Remember that we are all Red Raiders, and never quit on one another. Unite, and help our Red Raiders turn it around and finish strong the rest of the year.
5. Can we take it one game at a time? This weekend, we play Iowa State. It's not last week against Colorado, and it's not next week against Texas. We are all unhappy about Colorado, and we are all excited about the upcoming game against Texas. Focus on the game at hand. It's huge for our season. The Cyclones are not a team to be taken lightly, especially considering our current situation. With the air out session and all of the time our fanbase has set aside with the cards that we sent, there should be absolutely no excuse for a lack of effort against Iowa State. It's time for our fans, players, and coaches to refocus and get it together on Saturday. If there is a missing link in this chain, then we don't deserve to win. Win or lose, we need to give the Cyclones no choice but to respect the Red Raiders after we leave Ames.
(Questions, comments, praise, and constructive criticism can be directed to Trent within the forums or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)