Five Keys to Beating North Texas – From the Bird’s Nest
I don't mind Tuesday games. Or Thursday games. Or Wednesday games.
But I have to say, this business of Thursday is Monday and Sunday is Thursday, yada yada yada might be fine for the team and coaching staff, but it throws me into a huge state of confusion.
Is this the day I'm supposed to write this blog?
Oh, well, I'm writing it anyway.
The Cajuns have won five straight and six of the last seven against North Texas to tie the overall series at 8-8. Since the teams aren't scheduled to play again in the foreseeable future, one of these teams is going to have some bragging rights for awhile.
If that team is going to be Louisiana, here's what needs to happen.
1. Dismiss the Chancellor--No, not the academic guy. I'm talking about Brelan Chancellor, the talented North Texas wideout. He's UNT's version of Jason Chery. He's their leading receiver. He returns punts and kickoffs. He runs on the end around. He is the quarterback in the wildcat formation. And, he can really, really run. Like the Cajuns did with Chery, North Texas will try to get Chancellor as many touches as possible. The Cajuns need to make sure he doesn't get a big play or two. Or more.
2. Flip the field--North Texas is much improved defensively. They're still working on getting all the weapons they need, however. If the Cajuns don't score on a drive, they need to at least get a first down or two in order to keep field position in their favor. Brett Baer is a master at pinning teams deep. The Cajuns need to give him that opportunity whenever possible.
3. Win first down--Actually win first and second down. North Texas is going to run the football and they're going to run it some more. Where the Mean Green can really hurt you is if they have second and intermediate and third and short. Their passing game success is built on play-action. If the Cajuns win the early downs, play-action becomes irrelevant.
4. Channel your inner Olivia Newton-John--That means you wanna get Physical, Physical. Because North Texas is going to . Unlike the teams of Todd Dodge, this North Texas team will hit you in the mouth. The Cajuns have to surpass, or at least match, their physicality for four quarters. This is no time to finesse. Hit someone. Regularly.
5. Embrace the Opportunity--The Sun Belt gets two exposures (not counting bowl games) on ESPN or ESPN2 each year. This year the Cajuns have been selected for both. There's a reason for that. The Cajuns need to remember why they've been chosen...because they're one of the best teams in the league and maybe the most fun to watch. Play that way, and you'll be fine.