Five Keys to Beating Tulsa – From the Bird’s Nest
After a win to open the season over Southeastern Louisiana, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will be taking a much bigger bite over the next two weekends.
That starts this Saturday with Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane (no "s", please) has, in all probability, the best offense the Cajuns will face this season. While many of their skill players have departed, Tulsa seems to reload in that department. Last year they had a 3,000 yard passer, a pair of 1,000 rushers and a pair of 1,000 yard receivers.
The Cajuns are a two touchdown underdog. If they're going to get the best non conference road win in the Hudspeth era, here are some things to look for.
CONTROL THE FOOTBALL--Don't get me wrong. If they have big plays that result in touchdowns, that's fine, too. But it wouldn't hurt to sustain some drives and take some time off the clock. Tulsa's offense isn't nearly as effective if it's on the sidelines.
OPEN IT UP--I think the Cajuns can, and will, score points. But they'll probably need a lot of them. Louisiana didn't show much offensively against Southeastern and that was by design. Expect to see different formations and a lot of plays you didn't see a week ago. Make the Hurricane make adjustments.
WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE--I didn't mention turnovers last week. But this week it's important. Tulsa is a very good offensive team. The last thing you want to do is give them extra possessions, especially on the plus side of the field.
CORRECT KICKING GAME MISTAKES--The Cajuns return game, obviously, was superb last week. And, the kick coverage got better once Stevie Artigue got his directional kickoffs going. But the punt game has to be better. Sam Geraci can't line drive any punts. And, when the Cajuns have a chance to pin Tulsa back, they have to take advantage. There were two punts that could have been downed inside the five or ten yard line that got into the end zone.
PLAY YOUR ROSTER--Or at least, your two deep. One thing the weather this summer did is thwart the conditioning of this team somewhat. They were gassed toward the end of the game last week. It's going to be worse this week with the uptempo style Tulsa plays. The Hurricane could run over 100 plays on offense. The Cajuns have to do what they can to keep the defense fresh.