The Burnette Blog: Establish your identity
It's game timeAugust 30, 2012 · @MTAthletics
How do you want to be known? This is the question surrounding many college football programs heading into the 2012 season. For Coach Rick Stockstill and his staff it is the only question for the Blue Raiders heading into tonight's home and season opener against McNeese State.
The identity of this team is yet to be determined. Fall camp officially ended less than a week ago and the focus shifted to McNeese earlier this week with heavy emphasis on the scouts and the looks each side of the ball can expect to see later tonight. But the phrase "How do you want to be known" certainly rested on the minds of the Blue Raiders last night as they attempted to sleep the night before the biggest game of the season. Why is it the biggest game of the season? The reason is simple: it is the only game they play this week.
The offense will look for a fast paced style of play mixing in the run and the pass. Fans can expect to see the Buster Faulkner offense in full swing tonight as the Blue Raiders attempt to take the field fast and leave it that way. Going with an attack style offense only seems fitting for the gun slinging quarterback Logan Kilgore who hopes to have a big opening night. Kilgore continued to look sharp as the focus shifted to McNeese just as he did all preseason camp. Even on the last day of practice his arm looked sharp and he was putting the ball in the right spot just as he has done the last several weeks. The offense will certainly start to form an identity throughout the game with the intent of wearing down the defense by hitting them in the mouth from the start and before they can get up, hitting them in the mouth again. When the air attack seems to be covered they will pound the ball with a stable of running backs, each of which is capable of carrying the load, behind a good sized and physical offensive line.
Look for defenders to be lost, tired or on the flat of their back when the Blue Raiders cross the goal line.
The defense that stepped onto the field day one of preseason practice is in no way the same defense that stepped off the field after the last practice heading into Thursday night. This defense is primed and ready to make their presence known in Floyd Stadium at game time. The identity this defense is building hopes to erupt when the ball is snapped on the first play. They now understand the schemes of Coach Nix and Coach Ellis and will lose sleep knowing they can pin their ears back against an opposing offense for the first time. The defense that left the field Tuesday afternoon looked tenacious and hungry. It was obvious it hurt their pride a little bit having to pull up on plays due to the fact they were only in shorts and helmets. This identity is something that has been preached to them since day one and that is making your presence known and making it known early.
Not only are these boys dying for the chance to hit something other than themselves but they have something to prove to their coaches and each other that they will be a force. Mediocrity will not be tolerated as said by both Coach Nix and Coach Ellis, and the players have responded both mentally and physically. Look for big hits and big plays to occur from this side of the ball as the Blue Raider defense comes alive under the lights tonight.
There is nothing like the feeling of running out of the tunnel under the lights with thousands of fans losing their minds while you and your closest friends look to wreak havoc on the opposing team. The energy felt from the stadium and the fans will be welcomed and provide a boost of extra adrenaline. Go Blue Raiders!
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