Arkansas Three Keys: Colorado State

Three-keys-Arkansas

Two teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision lost two games before September even arrived. One was New Mexico State (Wyoming and Minnesota). The other was Colorado State, which lost to Hawaii and Colorado.

By Matt Zemek

The Rams hoped they could win the Mountain West Mountain Division last year but fell well short of expectations. That alone increased fan displeasure in Fort Collins, Colorado, with head coach and SEC refugee Mike Bobo, Mark Richt’s former offensive coordinator at the University of Georgia. Bobo then encountered health problems just before the season started, a possible stress reaction to the mounting pressure which is surrounding him.

Then his team lost two games and looked bad doing so.

It is easy to think that Arkansas is catching Colorado State at the right time, and that could well be true, but betting experts and anyone who thinks about “the laws of averages” knows that a team which plays a few bad games might be due for a good game at some point. Arkansas needs to be on guard, knowing that Colorado State might experience a course correction and play at a better level. The Rams can’t continue to be this bad, right?

They will certainly try to change the course of their season, and at home, they could be a wounded dog – and a wounded underdog.

Three keys:

1 – GO FOR THE KILL

A Chad Morris offense faces a defense which has hemorrhaged large chunks of yardage and big plays this season. Hawaii and Colorado were able to move the ball with great freedom and consistency, putting the Colorado State defense back on its heels. This is not a talented defense. This is not a confident defense. This is not a cohesive defense. Arkansas should be able to identify the weak spots in film study, anticipate reasonable adjustments the Rams might make, and find the kinds of openings it can regularly exploit. Arkansas should be able to put up at least 45 points in this game if not more. Take shots, land shots, finish drives. That’s the first point of focus in this game.

2 – DON’T SIT BACK ON DEFENSE

It is true that Arkansas won’t want to get beaten deep against the Colorado State passing game, so that the Rams have to steadily move the ball and aren’t able to score quickly. However, in a game which promises a lot of yards and points, and in which Arkansas might have a two- or three-touchdown lead in the third quarter, the Razorbacks’ secondary and back seven might find it hard to concentrate or attack Colorado State with ruthless perseverance. The Hogs might play very soft coverage, backing off CSU receivers, and allow the Rams to move the ball steadily down the field. Arkansas has to avoid getting lulled into that kind of complacency. Cornerbacks must test themselves in one-on-one battles.

3 – HANDLING CONDITIONS

It is very rare for an SEC team to play at a Mountain West site, especially one in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The high elevation and the reality of a foreign environment could ambush Arkansas players, causing them to get fatigued and suffer in terms of performance. Bodies need to be rotated, and players need to ask out instead of trying to be “tough-guy heroes.”

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