By Paul Haynes
We’ll be going on the road against a tough opponent that is arguably the best team in the conference year in and year out. We know it is going to be tough, but it is always tough and our guys are looking forward to it.
While we don’t want to put an overemphasis on this game, we’ve talked about all our goals in the MAC still being right there in front of us. What we are doing is focusing on what we can do better. Like I said it after the Virginia game on Saturday, we can’t beat two teams. Our achilles this season has been turnovers and penalties. We can’t afford to make those mistakes in any game, but especially on the road against tough opponents. To put ourselves in position to win, we have to clean up those things.
There are other things we can clean up. On the defensive side of the ball we talk about offensive formations as books. There is so much information an offense gives you in a picture, and players have to take a snapshot of that picture and communicate what you see to everyone else. Just like a book, people can take what they read in different ways. And that’s why the communication that needs to happen is so important for our guys to make sure they are all on the same page.
If you take Virginia as an example, their quarterback gave away run and pass all of the time just with his stance. It’s something that is simple, but as the game goes on you start to lose that recognition because your mind goes somewhere else. His stance was always staggered on pass and he was always square when the play was a run. On third down that may not matter as much, but on first-and-10 and second down, recognizing that and communicating it is huge. We may see it on the sideline or in the booth, but at that point it’s too late to get it to the field. The recognition has to come from the field.
We call it "Information You Can Use." Our guys need to get better at recognizing that information. Teams give you that picture. Our guys have to process it and communicate it, and then go.