In just a few days, the college football season begins (friggin finally!). Our Buffaloes, along with their brand new coaching staff (except for you Cabral, we know you'll always be there for us) take the field against the Warriors of Hawaii. These are the things that I'll be watching closely.
- Running back depth vs the Hawaii offense
- One of our goals on offense will be to keep Bryant Moniz off of the field. Yes, we'll take our shots downfield, but we also want to rack up at least 45 carries in this game. Those all can't go to Rodney Stewart, so we'll see who else gets some and if they can: A) take care of the ball, B) move the chains & C) prepare themselves to take over for Speedy in 2012. Also, time to start the Speedy Carry Clock (SCC). We're going to want to watch how many carries our starter gets from game-to-game.
Follow the jump because it's the first key matchups piece all season!
- Steve Marshall's blockers vs. Hawaii & their front 7
- Remember how I said UH was moving to a 3-4? Yeah, they ended up not doing it...so, we'll see how our Buffs handle their first 4-3 alignment. We were able to run all over these DTs last year, but we don't know how we'll hold up against the rush off of the edge. Our sophomore tackles will get tested early.
- Eric Bieniemy's playcalling vs. An actual opponent
- He's never been an offensive coordinator. While most of us believe that he is very qualified to be one (and I think he'll do an excellent job and be tough to keep around for more than a few seasons), this is his first time calling a game from anywhere, let along up in the booth all by himself. I'm sure he'll be fine, but it will be something to watch.
- Our pressure vs. Bryant Moniz, Heisman hopeful
- Brant Moniz is a beast, but he's behind an entirely new (though not completely untested) offensive line and is missing last year's 1,000-yard rusher plus most of his weapons in the passing game. He's still dangerous, but we have been told about how well our defensive line is doing against the pass and how effective our linebackers have been when blitzing. We'll find out if at least some of it is true here.
- Parker Orms vs. exhaustion (and injury)
- Orms is going to be the nickelback for our defense. He's too good not to be, and he looks like he's returning at nearly full-speed from his injury. He isn't too small (ridiculous argument, by the way), and he's one of the most instinctive defensive players we've got. But he's been out a lot and may not be able to play as many snaps as we'll need him too. With Travis Sandersfeld starting outside, our only other options at nickelback (as far as I know) begin with Terrel Smith, who is good, but definitely still a safety. The Warriors will spend a lot of time with 3, 4 and 5 wideouts, so Orms will have to be able to play heavy minutes, and others will too. We can't afford for him to get tired or beat up in this game.
- Greg Brown's patchwork secondary vs. The run-n-shoot offense
- Yeah, you know he's been up at nights thinking about this matchup. Sure, Ray Polk is supposed to have improved and Anthony Perkins knows what he's doing (though he's returning from a big knee injury), but we've got new guys at both outside CB spots, plus a guy coming off of a long rehab as your nickel guy. Moniz will have targets all over the field running slants and crosses and all sorts of patterns that will get our defensive backs all turned around. We have to hope that they know where their help is, that they can recover quickly, and that some of our voverages can throw Moniz off of his Heisman-quality game.
I like how we matchup with Hawaii. This is not an easy team, but I do think we are able to beat them by a good amount. I just think the coaches have appealed to our players pride too much for them to come out and lose.