Now this is a post I've been waiting to write all year. I'm a big fan of Choate's in general. I think he's better at some things than others. I believe he and his coaching staff have done a phenomenal job in game planning in all but one game this year (North Dakota). If there is one area in which I believe he is elite, it is putting certain looks and plays on game film so that other coaches need to prepare for it.
For instance, key special teams fakes (the fake FG vs. Norfolk State and the fake punt vs. Northern Colorado) were not necessary in those games to win, but they certainly are going to be on game film for any team playing them.
The strength of the defense is that they can sit in a base defense and defend almost anything. I'm not sure if Samuel Akem is back for the Grizzlies this weekend (I think he will not be, but I'm not 100% sure on this), but Louis-McGee and Toure are still tough to deal with. I believe MSU will "attack" Sneed the same way they "attacked" Maier - some pressure but more coverage than anything. If the Bobcats do bring pressure, I really like the idea of stacking Troy Anderson and Sterk and bringing them together and/or having one drop back and the other rush. The difference maker in this game is whether MSU can get pressure up the middle and whether Sneed is healthy enough to escape under pressure. If not, the Bobcats can feel free to disguise their coverage and bring pressure from different places- hoping to make Sneed make bad reads under pressure. I do expect that MSU will try to bring Konkol at least once (as they did in the UIW playoff game last year). If they do manage to make Sneed take a lot of dump-offs and short passes, the Cats will likely be set up to succeed defensively in the long run. As our game against Davis showed, 3rd and 2 is not the worst situation. It's not great, but a bad pass or a run-stuff sets up a punt. Against the Grizzlies, you're not going to shut down Toure and Akem (if he plays) and Louis-McGee, so you need to contain them and make Sneed make excellent passes. I don't think it's possible to actually shut down big plays out of the WR, but you do need to limit them to just a couple. In addition to turnovers, game changing plays from the defense would include pressure from the middle of the defensive line and stops on the edge if/when Louis-McGee gets the ball on the run.
From an offensive point of view, I expect to see a lot of Jones and Sumner early in the game with Ifanse getting the ball later in the game when (hopefully) the D-Line has worn down. There are some plays that MSU seems to have been setting up all year that I imagine they will tap into. First, the dreaded roll-out to the right/throw to the RB/get the ball tipped and intercepted play-call. The tight end coming across the field behind the RB has been quite open in the past and I imagine (hope) the idea is to put the ball in his hands when the team is most in need. I'm not sure you don't save that for a playoff game, but it really depends on how you feel about where you'll be seeded with a win (@Catprint
has a great write-up on that here: https://bobcatnation.com/bobcatbb/viewt ... 20&t=48278
). As others have mentioned, Jonsen tends to keep the ball way more often than pitch it/give it to the guy on the jet sweep. I expect this will change Saturday, not only to win this game, but also to put this on tape for the playoffs. One wrinkle that we've seen before the last couple of years that I do expect to see is the two deep passes in a row. I'd have Jonsen on the bench for the first, let a speedy WR take a Grizzly CB for a quick sprint down the football field, then quickly substitute Jonsen in and do it again. Again, it's not new, but it could work. That's my thoughts for now...I'll probably post again later because I obsess like that...