1. Stop the ISU offense. Iowa State has plenty of weapons on their offense. Todd Blythe, Bret Meyer, Stevie Hicks, and Austin Flynn are all extremely dangerous players with the football in their hands. It is misleading to look at their offensive statistics as #76 in team scoring and #47 in team offense. Their offense is more potent than that; I promise. This is essentially the same offense that was dangerous last year, and they are simply struggling to get on the same page, much like our team. The Cyclones are plenty capable of making defenses pay if they are given the opportunities. We cannot give them an early lead.
2. Remember what you're playing for. Our players need to remember what it means to play for the fans, coaches, and most importantly, each other. With the "air out" session this week and the letters of encouragement, the team should easily be able to find the motivation this week. It is for this reason that I am excited for this weekend and like our chances. I believe that we will see an inspired effort from our team this week, and that we will finally get it together and play to our capabilities. If we come out with another lackluster game, I'm not sure that we will be able to rebound and finish strong for the season.
3. Tackle, please. This should be a given. This better have been a focus this week. As discussed in RaiderPower's "On the Air," the much-maligned defensive scheme has put our players in position to make the plays most of the time. The problem is, the defense has struggled in making the tackles, especially in the open field. It doesn't matter if we are playing Ohio State or Temple. Without tackling, we won't stop anyone. Don't get me wrong, the defense is actually playing pretty well this season. That is, well enough to where the offense that we had gotten accustomed to should win more games. Still, if we made the tackles, we'd have a top 20 defense.
4. Remember the AFROS. Okay, wide receivers, you are all playing this weekend. You can be the best group of receivers in the nation. I've seen it. CFN has seen it. You know you can do it. Hicks, you are a physical receiver who can go up and take the ball away from the DB no matter where it's thrown. Filani, no one can hang with your speed, and you can fight your way through the tackle of most defensive backs. RoJo, your combination of maneuverability, size, and hands is almost impossible to cover. Amendola, your agility and hands is enough to terrify linebackers as they struggle to follow your routes. You can be the best. Act like it.
5. Prepare for Texas. I don't mean that the team should not show up this week because they're thinking about UT. Rather, quite the opposite. The only way that we will possibly have a chance to pull a big upset on Texas is if we get it together this week and remember the caliber of team that we are capable of becoming. If we win our next two, we will have captured the nation's attention. I guarantee that if our team plays to their potential this weekend and blows out Iowa State, we will give Texas a hell of a fight the following weekend. Prove me right, Red Raiders, and show us what you can do. I know our boys are better than they have played thus far.
(Questions, comments, praise, and constructive criticism can be directed to Trent within the forums or through email at email@example.com