I got with new contributor Big Red to try to release a post on our site highlighting 3 players or facets of our teams’ opponents and how our respective teams So let’s take a look into three weapons on Idaho and just what Tom Allen and the Hoosiers may have in store to respond. Just some short thoughts on what to look out for from the Vandals (one of my favorite nicknames). So here we go…
#1 Gevani McCoy
Week 1 stats: 21-32 passing, 212 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs.
The first weapon highlighted isn’t the best on the Idaho Vandals’ team, but when doesn’t the opposing QB have potential to devastate you?
Last year Gevani McCoy started his season following a two game stand as the team’s true-freshman Quarterback. While some of his decisions were immature and over zealous in their matchup against Washington State, McCoy is young based on the tape he’s put is still getting his game together. The young QB is often times forcing the ball, looking to thread the needle with arm strength that just isn’t there. While his stats may not show it, many out of Idaho are claiming this kid will put it together and become a problem for the Big Sky Conference. My answer to that, a Big Sky Problem should just be a Big Ten annoyance. Our competition week to week and the caliber of player throughout the Big Ten should trump anything the Big Sky is bringing to the table. Pressure from our line is key, if our linebackers can worry about coverage while the defense is still bringing consistent pressure, the inexperienced McCoy will fold. Next weapon.
#2 Jermaine Jackson
Week 1 stats: 6 catches, 113 yards.
Standing at 5’ 7” (Short King), 165 pounds, redshirt Junior Jermaine Jackson (not that one) was McCoy’s top target. And while one would usually say, “well what’s he going to do to us?”, us Hoosiers who can remember breakout games by the likes of Shane Wynn know that a short king can still go out and win you a battle. In order to limit his speed and big play potential from the slot position, see above. A strong defensive showing from the Hoosiers would have Indiana not overcommitting linebackers to the blitz and relying on the big uglies on the defensive line to get pressure on their own. I am most afraid of Jermaine Jackson breaking one off to really hurt us on a minor inside post from the slot, much like how we gouged Illinois for our largest plays last week.
Speed is enough to win a college game. For this reason I believe Jermaine to be the deadliest weapon come Saturday night. It’ll be a tough test of our second layer’s speed, but I think we are up for it, and I also think if we give up some plays to him, it may help us address shortcomings in our game plan before facing off against top competition while still not losing to an opponent that would torch us for each and every mistake.
#3 Fa’avae Fa’avae (did not mistype)
Week 1 stats: 11 tackles, 1 sack, 1 deflection, and one hurry
Fa’avae Fa’avae is a senior linebacker for Idaho and the heart of their defense. Last week he led the defensive unit to 3 takeaways from the Washington State Cougars, which is cruel considering he transferred from WSU two seasons ago. No real answer to him, but to play our own game, and look to get to him quickly on our blocks. Just wanted to highlight him as a dog to look out for.
Fa’avae Squared won the honors of Big Sky defensive player of the week. If our line can protect Bazelak long enough to nullify any pressure that Fa’avae frequently brings on the blitz, then he will be no issue for the size, speed, and strength of Big Ten competition.
All in all, this is Big Sky competition. While we shouldn’t overlook any opponent, we should absolutely go out and dominate opponents from the lesser conferences in the country.
Whatever the schemes we are facing, I’m sure that Tom Allen will have an answer. A counter punch for anything that Idaho can throw at us! Here’s to our general!
If you think I overestimate the strength of teams in the Big Ten comparatively to these smaller conferences, take a second. Let’s be real. The detractors love crapping on Indiana for being the bottom of the Big Ten historically, but the Big Ten is still comprised of the top competition in the nation (apart from the SEC). they just get the recruits the other guys don’t, Yes even IU. The fact of the matter is… Big Sky vs. Big Ten, Big Ten better win that matchup 19 times out of 20. And this better not be that 1 time. I’m not arrogant, I’m realistic.
Thank you for taking the time to read my often incoherent musings.
Come back tomorrow for our preview of the Indiana Idaho clash this weekend!
LUX ET VERITAS