Wednesday, September 8, 2010

5 Keys to the UTC Game

5 Keys to the UTC game.

1) Focus – After a big upset, sometimes a celebration lasts too long. How many teams lose a game after winning a close, emotional game? The fans have celebrated the win over Ole Miss for days. Lets hope the team has its feet firmly on the ground and all attention is on UTC perhaps the best team remaining on Jax State's schedule. Coach Crowe has pledged that if there is "an ounce of arrogance" on the team, he would work it out this week.

2) Stop B.J. Coleman – The UTC quaterback, a Tennessee transfer, is a great player (removing any doubt that Lane Kiffin is an idiot). Coleman, continuing his fine play from last season, put up some big numbers against App State completing 23 passes for 343 yards. Remarkably, Coleman was not sacked in UTC's last five games last year. Thus, the onus of slowing Coleman down will likely fall on JSU's secondary. While Jawaan Booker and Francis Duncan played admirably at Ole Miss, hopefully potential all-Conference player "Awesome Jet" Davis will return from injury against UTC. If the secondary can make Coleman hold the ball a little longer, perhaps it will open up some opportunities for Wadley, Monte Lewis, Big Texas Garrott and Kevin Dix to get some sacks.

3) Special Teams – Going back to last year, the loss to Eastern Illinois can be attributed in large part to special teams. Kickoff returns, punt returns, and turnovers can turn momentum in an instant. Jacksonville State had a heck of a time kicking off against Ole Miss- it seemed like Ole Miss was routinely starting on about the 45 yard line. Things don't get any easier this week as UTC has a fine returner.
The other parts of Jacksonville State's special teams looked great. The Gamecocks converted all of their field goals and extra points. (In contrast, UTC struggled mightily in that area missing several p.a.t.'s that probably cost them the game.) Also, Jamal Young had a couple of good kick returns. Finally, All American Gamecock punt returner, Alan Bonner, did not get many chances against Ole Miss, but he is dangerous every time he touches the ball.

4) Alphonso Freeney vs. Ryan Consiglio. In the App. State game, UTC's All Conference linebacker, Ryan Consiglio, was all over the field disrupting plays. In all likelihood, it will be up to JSU Senior fullback, Alphonso Freeney, to make sure the same thing does not happen this week. If Freeney and the offensive line can do the job, JSU appears to have the chance to run the ball well. Last week, Calvin Middleton make some big runs (17 carries, 67 yds) and got stronger as the game went along. Likewise, while he did not play much, Ole Miss transfer Darius “Tig” Barksdale (6 carries, 27 yards) was impressive. Prediction: Middleton will pound UTC for 100+ yards and Tig will break a long one for a touchdown.

5) Exploit the fact that Buster Skrine is out. UTC will be missing one of their best players, and an emotional leader, in cornerback Buster Skrine. (The Mocs will not get any sympathy from JSU as we are without two starting guards, a linebacker and maybe a cornerback). Perhaps Skrine's absence will open up opportunities for JSU's talented group of receivers to continue to make plays. Look for Jeff Cameron, in particular, to break out against UTC.

Hey- these are's keys to the game. If you have other ideas or disagree, please comment. We would love to hear from you.

Go Gamecocks!!

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