Fundamental Football

You hear it all the time in sports. Play the fundamentals. ESPN SportsCenter devoted one of their broadcasts a week or so ago to talking about fundamentals. In baseball you here them talk about playing fundamental baseball, such as hitting the cutoff man, taking a pitch on a 3-0 count, or tagging up on a fly ball.

In football, the fundamentals are making your blocks, hitting the holes, catching the ball, and making the tackle, to name a few.

In practice yesterday, the talk was about playing fundamentally sound football and the Broncos are getting back to playing the fundamentals. They got off to a good start last week and look to improve on that on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

Last Thursday the Broncos began their season with 403 yards on offense, 330 of which were gained through the air. The rushing game however, gained a net yardage of 73 yards. Philip Reed and Trovon Riley both rushed for 24 yards each.

Indiana State recorded 6 sacks on three different WMU quarterbacks resulting in a loss of 23 yards. With the lack of yards gained by rushing, concerns about the strength of the offensive line arose. The offensive line is led by senior center Jake Gasaway. Gasaway is joined on the line with seniors Chris Montgomery (left guard), Kevin Kramer (right guard), and Fred McCants (right tackle), and sophomore Kyle Ras (left tackle). The average height and weight among the starting five is 6' 4 ½", 287 pounds.

Against Michigan the offensive line is going to have to give Jon Drach and Chad Munson enough time to get their passes off, provide lanes for Phil Reed, Trovon Riley, and Daniel Marks to run through, and cut down on the penalties. To put it another way, they need to turn in an as close to perfect performance as they can. Against Indiana State, the offensive line was very disciplined, committing just a couple penalties including one holding penalty.

At practice yesterday, the offensive line looked good. Talking to Coach Mike Cummings, the offensive line coach, he made it clear to me that the offensive line is okay, they are improving, and as the season goes on they will get better. So how is the attitude of the front line this week, heading into the game against Michigan? "We are upbeat," said Coach Cummings. "This group wants to work. These guys are willing to put the time in. The guys have a great attitude."

Defensively, the Broncos are going to need the defense to put together an effort that Bronco fans have become accustomed to seeing. Against Indiana State, the Broncos limited the Sycamores to just 42 yards passing and intercepted 2 Indiana State passes. However, 6 Sycamores combined for 155 yards rushing. The defense will have their hands full with Chris Perry and B.J. Askew. Last season Askew was able to record 15 rushes for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. He scored a 3rd on a 41-yard pass play.

The defense was in high spirits yesterday. They are a vocal bunch that loves to have fun and they were having fun yesterday. Coach Knowles told me that the defense is looking forward to the challenge of playing Michigan and that trying to defend Michigan's running game will be a big challenge, however, "it doesn't matter who they give it (the football) to, they can only give it to one of them."

The Broncos practice one more time at Waldo this afternoon before traveling to Ann Arbor on Friday. One person who is looking forward to the trip is true freshman wide receiver Brandon Keyes. Keyes a freshman from Detroit is excited about walking into Michigan Stadium and taking on the Wolverines. "It's going to be exciting," said Keyes. "It is my first road trip, it will be exciting."

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