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Trojan2003
07-15-2008, 12:14 PM
FAU heavily favored to win Sun Belt

by Jeff Frank, Sports Analyst

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Welcome to Jeff Frank's third annual college football conference previews. Last season was a spectacular one, as I took apart all the major magazines by compiling the number one record in preseason prediction accuracy. The final tally of 130 points was five better than Athlon, seven ahead of Lindy's, and 10 in front of The Sporting News.

[...]

Florida Atlantic knocked off 16-point favorite Troy, 38-32, to win the conference championship the final week of the regular season, and then cruised past Memphis to garner its first ever bowl victory. The Owls are the heavy choice to post back-to-back Sun Belt titles, as they bring back 18 starters from last year's team. Can they do it? Let's take a closer look.

1) TROY - The Trojans outscored league opponents by an average score of 36-15, but were denied a bowl bid after losing to FAU the last week of the season.

Offense - The skill position players need to be replaced, but the cupboard is far from bare. Jamie Hampton takes over for Omar Haugabook and RBs DuJuan Harris and Maurice Greer will more than make up for the loss of Kenny Cattouse. The Trojans have the fastest set of receivers in the conference, but the strength of the "O" is the line that brings back all five starters.

Defense - Seven starters return to a defense that finished first in league play allowing 15 ppg and 317 yards per contest. Troy also held opposing Sun Belt rushers to under 4.0 ypc - the only school in the conference to do so. The only question mark is at cornerback, where first-round NFL Draft pick Leodis McKelvin and Elbert Mack must be replaced.

Outlook - Despite the losses, the Trojans are still the most talented team in the league. Expect a 6-1 conference mark and a third bowl appearance since 2004. Troy is 11-4 ATS off a SU win and 4-1 as an away favorite the last two years, and will be a good bet early in the season since most experts don't expect the Trojans to finish first in league play.

...

2-T) FAU - The Owls return over 80% of their lettermen and at least 16 starters for a second straight season, and nothing short of another bowl appearance will appease their fans.

Offense - FAU more than doubled its offensive output going from 15 ppg in '06 to 31 ppg last season, with Rusty Smith leading all conference quarterbacks with a 141.6 QB rating. On the downside, even though the Owls ranked second in league play in both scoring and total offense, they finished sixth in ypc and fifth in completion percentage.

Defense - FAU gave up 33 ppg, worst in school history, despite bringing back its top eight tacklers. Opposing Sun Belt quarterbacks nailed 62.8% of their passes last year, and now the Owls must move forward with just three of their top six tacklers returning.

Outlook - Don't believe the hype. A lot of things went right for the Owls in '07. They were number one in the country in turnover margin prior to their bowl game, and they also won four games by a combined 19 points. A 5-2 SBC record will have them tied for second with ULM. In addition, they're a great team to wager against once Sun Belt action begins, since most pundits expect them to dominate. FAU is 10-4 ATS in conference play the last two years, but 3-8 as an away dog.

[...]

-> http://www.sportsnetwork.com/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=sportsnetwork&page=cfoot/news/news.aspx?id=4164977

TroyFootball05
07-15-2008, 09:46 PM
I think that's the only media rep to pick us first. I like it :)

TU/JSU Fan
07-16-2008, 09:31 AM
This doesn't make sense.. The name of the article is FAU Heavily Favored to win SBC, but yet he has us winning it?

Sports Network usually has pretty good stuff too.. I am not so sure about this one.

Troy87
07-16-2008, 09:56 AM
This doesn't make sense.. The name of the article is FAU Heavily Favored to win SBC, but yet he has us winning it?

Yeah, but look at the last line of the paragraph before he begins reviewing the teams. He says FAU is favored, but he asks "Can they do it?". His answer is "No.".

FAU is heavily favored.....by every other sports publication thus far, and he is acknowledging that, but he is going against the trend.

Frankly, if I were a sportswriter trying to predict the Sunbelt, I would have to favor FAU too. The big reason is our schedule. We have three huge OOC games and our rival on the road before traveling to Boca. That's a tall order in anybody's book, but if we take care of ourselves before going to S. FL., plus we have 10 days before the FAU game, we have a good shot at beating FAU, and largely because of the reasons mentioned.

ThePowerMan
07-16-2008, 10:37 AM
I agree. I wouldn't have us favored to win the conference based on those same things. I do like our chances though. I really believe we have better talent as far as the whole team goes. I am looking forward to going back to N.O.

Troy_Nomad
07-16-2008, 11:31 AM
The reason this guy is the only person to pick Troy is because he is the only person to consider factors from last year other than the head-to-head game. As he correctly points out, we thouroughly dominated all conference games with the exception of one, while FAU struggled in several of their wins. It took FAU playing a near perfect game and us committing several turnovers, and it still was just a 4 point game. To pick FAU based on the game last year is no different than picking Illinois to win the big ten because they beat Ohio State last year and they have some key players returning. Obviously there are other factors - FAU returning most starters, Troy having questions at QB and CB, etc. I think Troy has more overall talent. I think FAU has more experience at the important positions.

TroyFootball05
07-16-2008, 11:43 AM
The reason this guy is the only person to pick Troy is because he is the only person to consider factors from last year other than the head-to-head game. As he correctly points out, we thouroughly dominated all conference games with the exception of one, while FAU struggled in several of their wins. It took FAU playing a near perfect game and us committing several turnovers, and it still was just a 4 point game. To pick FAU based on the game last year is no different than picking Illinois to win the big ten because they beat Ohio State last year and they have some key players returning. Obviously there are other factors - FAU returning most starters, Troy having questions at QB and CB, etc. I think Troy has more overall talent. I think FAU has more experience at the important positions.

Alot of it has to do with that MONSTER TE they have Jason Harmon, who recently suffered a knee injury and will have to sit out the season. Most people outside of message boards don't know about it, as all the publications who pick FAU as #1 signal Harmon as one of the main reasons. His ability to leap over defenders was a huge weapon for them. He'll be back in 2009 though. Expect FOUR bowl eligible teams in 2009: Troy, FAU, MTSU, and UNT.

If FAU makes the adjustments they are supposed to, then they could make the kind of big improvements we made after our 2006 season. I think ours was largely due to quality depth, we recruit really well, I just don't know if FAU has been so hot recruiting lately.

As for Troy, we obviously have the best lines. Offensively, he's right, the cupboard is far from bare. We have a TON of receivers who can be playmakers that aren't even starters in Austin Silvoy and Gerald Tate. Jerrel and Silvoy both played huge games at SEC teams. We're going to be more than fine at WR, RB, and OL. That only leaves the QB position to pave itself out. A win at MTSU will go along way in how well this teams improves before facing FAU.

EDIT: The defense will be fat as usual. Expect another great Troy Defense.

TU/JSU Fan
07-16-2008, 11:53 AM
Our DL should be hands down the best in the league.. The OL? Even better.. That group is going to be something else to watch.. Sure they will give up some sacks, but I bet that those sacks they give up will be more on an inexperienced QB than our OL.

I honestly would take Troy's DL over most SEC Defensive Lines this year.. They are really going to be something special (I think).

Michael

OwlFamily
07-16-2008, 12:04 PM
Alot of it has to do with that MONSTER TE they have Jason Harmon, who recently suffered a knee injury and will have to sit out the season. Most people outside of message boards don't know about it, as all the publications who pick FAU as #1 signal Harmon as one of the main reasons. His ability to leap over defenders was a huge weapon for them. He'll be back in 2009 though. Expect FOUR bowl eligible teams in 2009: Troy, FAU, MTSU, and UNT.

If FAU makes the adjustments they are supposed to, then they could make the kind of big improvements we made after our 2006 season. I think ours was largely due to quality depth, we recruit really well, I just don't know if FAU has been so hot recruiting lately.



Loosing Harmon hurts no doubt.

Currently Housler is the lead for Harmons replacment this year. While he does not have the pure athetisicism of Harmon, he is actually MUCH faster. He had a huge play against FIU (Yes I know, FIU, who DIDNT have big plays against them) where he caught the ball and flew down the field 68 yards for a TD. He literally ran by the Defense as if they were standing still. Good height and speed.

If he steps up like he can, that postion will be fine. FAU's depth while not as good as others, is sufficient to get it thru. When our 2 starting DL's went down with Knee injurys, we had guys step up enough to get it done, but not dominate.

TroyFootball05
07-16-2008, 12:04 PM
Our DL should be hands down the best in the league.. The OL? Even better.. That group is going to be something else to watch.. Sure they will give up some sacks, but I bet that those sacks they give up will be more on an inexperienced QB than our OL.

I honestly would take Troy's DL over most SEC Defensive Lines this year.. They are really going to be something special (I think).

Michael

I just hope we don't have any key injuries. We were very lucky only a few got hurt last year. QB's, LB's and CB's are on the don't get hurt list.

EDIT: Dion Gales has yet to prove himself and hope fully Steve McLendon will be as good as advertised. I'm with you though, I think they'll end up being really great. SO, who is starting at DE other than Lang? Is it Sheffield or Mainor? And who's better?

TU/JSU Fan
07-16-2008, 12:14 PM
A few days back someone posted the Depth Chart and it had Sheffield as a starter at one DE and Lang at the other. Mainor was listed as the 2nd behind Lang.

It is pretty nice to have a player the caliber of Kenny Mainor as a 2nd String!

I think Lang is the best, with Sheffield and Manior being a close 2nd... Mainor has the potential to be the best, but he sometimes just plays like he really doesn't care. If he would play every down like it is his last he could be just about as good as DWare was at Troy.. I have always thought "this" is his year to breakout.. Hopefully this will be it!

All 3 will see significant playing time provided no one gets Injured..

You are dead on about injuries.. If we have an injury at QB we could really be in some trouble as I am not sold on Tanner Jones. I haven't seen enough out of Levi to know, but he has the good size.. He just doesn't seem like the prototypical "Tony Franklin" QB though.. I say Tony Franklin only because we are still going to be running his offense just with Neal Brown instead of Tony Franklin being the name people see. Levi is probably a great dropback passer, but who knows?

CBs is going to be a question mark considering we lost the #11 Drafted NFL player and Elbert Mack who had better stats (most argue that it is because people wouldn't throw to Leodis's side - I don't blame them). I think the guys coming in though should be really good though.. I am really excited about the potential of the dude from FL State.. I hear he is really good (but is he a Safety or CB?).

Defensively we should be top notch this year (as usual) and if we can stay healthy on that side of the ball we could really have a special year.

TroyFootball05
07-16-2008, 12:24 PM
A few days back someone posted the Depth Chart and it had Sheffield as a starter at one DE and Lang at the other. Mainor was listed as the 2nd behind Lang.

It is pretty nice to have a player the caliber of Kenny Mainor as a 2nd String!

I think Lang is the best, with Sheffield and Manior being a close 2nd... Mainor has the potential to be the best, but he sometimes just plays like he really doesn't care. If he would play every down like it is his last he could be just about as good as DWare was at Troy.. I have always thought "this" is his year to breakout.. Hopefully this will be it!

All 3 will see significant playing time provided no one gets Injured..

You are dead on about injuries.. If we have an injury at QB we could really be in some trouble as I am not sold on Tanner Jones. I haven't seen enough out of Levi to know, but he has the good size.. He just doesn't seem like the prototypical "Tony Franklin" QB though.. I say Tony Franklin only because we are still going to be running his offense just with Neal Brown instead of Tony Franklin being the name people see. Levi is probably a great dropback passer, but who knows?

CBs is going to be a question mark considering we lost the #11 Drafted NFL player and Elbert Mack who had better stats (most argue that it is because people wouldn't throw to Leodis's side - I don't blame them). I think the guys coming in though should be really good though.. I am really excited about the potential of the dude from FL State.. I hear he is really good (but is he a Safety or CB?).

Defensively we should be top notch this year (as usual) and if we can stay healthy on that side of the ball we could really have a special year.

Trevor Ford is the FSU transfer. All the experts say him and ricks at CB would pose little to no drop off as they both have monster potential. Though, Ford has been here at Troy in the spring, and the coaches say none of the CB's did anything to impress them. Did Trevor not play?

TroyFBFan
07-16-2008, 01:08 PM
I don't think Levi Brown would be here at Troy if not for Tony Franklin, so TF had to of thought he would work in his system. He showed in the Spring Game that he's by far the best passer of the three. I still think we'll see Jamie and Levi both early before we get into and stay into the conference part of our schedule.

TroyFBFan
07-16-2008, 01:16 PM
I'm more excited than ever about this year's D even with the people we lost last year. I think the D starts out strong this year and stays that way.

Troy87
07-16-2008, 03:05 PM
Looking at the overall team, we have good talent at every position, and good experience at many of those positions. We have as good a 1st team on both sides of the ball as probably half the teams in the country. Our problem is depth beyond the 1st team. The receiving corps and the defensive line are well stocked beyond the 1st team. I think there is very little drop off at QB after Jamie, and at RB after Dujuan.

However, at Offensive line, there might be certain positions that has significant drop off after the starters. There is no doubt from anyone's perspective the starting OL is the best in the conference, and one of the better in thne country. And, there are two or three similarly capable 2nd teamers too. But, the Offensive Line is an area where a number of injuries occur, largley knee injuries, and that may be something we have to contend with after the stretch run from LSU to Oklahoma St. Hopefully we will be healthy on Oct 1st.

The defensive secondary has some big issues with depth. Other than Boris, Bear and David McDowell, there is a tremendous drop off in skill and experience at the Linebacker positions. That's not to say we don't have some young guys waiting in the wings to step up and fill the role if needed, but it is a big question mark. It will be imperitive we come out of Oklahoma St. with our linebackers intact. The CBs and Safeties are going to be fine. We have very good safeties and capable back-ups for the safety position. The CBs may be a bit of a question mark, but the JC x-fers are expected to be comparable replacements for Leodis and Elbert, and we have some guys that can rotate there too.

The key for the defense will be for the guys up front to keep opposing offenses from getting past them early in the season, and so the LBs can rotate and get some playing time for the younger guys, and so the new CBs can get comfortable in the defense we run.

Special teams look to be a situation where we can be really, really good, or we could be really, really bad. I think it's a coin flip at this point. I call heads....really, really good.

Overall, I think we will see a very bland team early in the season, where we will possibly have more running that passing on offense, and we will use the experience of the defensive line to stop the run up front, and to keep from putting too much pressure on the secondary early on in the season. With more nickel expected to be used this season, I don't expect a lot of blitzing early on either. The one exception to all this is the MTSU game. We may actually see more wide-open offense and defense in that game than we will see in three of the four games after that. Once we get to the Conference schedule though, starting with FAU, it'll be all out.

All this being said, I think we will see a lot of self-preservation in the LSU, Ohio St. and Ok. St. games. Keeping it simple and not getting fancy or risky. Coach Blakeney's primary goal this season is to get back to New Orleans, and if the sacrifice is to be safe in the big OOC games to preserve team health for the conference games, then so be it. The caveat to that is, if any of those three games is close going into the 4th qtr, Katy bar the door......it's going to be an all out, pedal-to-the-metal, tooth and nail, fight to the finish.

My best guess for this season is 9-3 overall, 6-1 in conference. Believe it or not, the conference game that scares me the most is N. Tx. I know we handled them last season for HC, and we are 3-1 against them, but I think they will be much improved by the time we get to them in late Oct. The bottom line is I think we will get beat by someone we shouldn't, i.e. N. Tx., and we will also beat someone we shouldn't, either LSU or Ok. St. I've looked at the Ohio St. Blue Ribbon preview, and read much about their pre-season expectations, and I just don't see us getting out of there with a win. Either of the last two seasons....maybe, but this year? I don't think so. We get LSU early, and we should be healthy. This is my number one chance at an upset. Ok. St. could go either way. They could be so blind with revenge from last season, they can't control themselves and we win, or they could get so focused, we get the tar beat out of us in their new stadium (renovated). All in all, I think we get one and give one, leaving us at 9-3 for the season. I also think the loss doesn't hurt us in the conference championship hunt, and we go back to New Orleans.

CHughes1102
07-17-2008, 09:07 AM
Looking at the overall team, we have good talent at every position, and good experience at many of those positions. We have as good a 1st team on both sides of the ball as probably half the teams in the country. Our problem is depth beyond the 1st team. The receiving corps and the defensive line are well stocked beyond the 1st team. I think there is very little drop off at QB after Jamie, and at RB after Dujuan.

However, at Offensive line, there might be certain positions that has significant drop off after the starters. There is no doubt from anyone's perspective the starting OL is the best in the conference, and one of the better in thne country. And, there are two or three similarly capable 2nd teamers too. But, the Offensive Line is an area where a number of injuries occur, largley knee injuries, and that may be something we have to contend with after the stretch run from LSU to Oklahoma St. Hopefully we will be healthy on Oct 1st.

The defensive secondary has some big issues with depth. Other than Boris, Bear and David McDowell, there is a tremendous drop off in skill and experience at the Linebacker positions. That's not to say we don't have some young guys waiting in the wings to step up and fill the role if needed, but it is a big question mark. It will be imperitive we come out of Oklahoma St. with our linebackers intact. The CBs and Safeties are going to be fine. We have very good safeties and capable back-ups for the safety position. The CBs may be a bit of a question mark, but the JC x-fers are expected to be comparable replacements for Leodis and Elbert, and we have some guys that can rotate there too.

The key for the defense will be for the guys up front to keep opposing offenses from getting past them early in the season, and so the LBs can rotate and get some playing time for the younger guys, and so the new CBs can get comfortable in the defense we run.

Special teams look to be a situation where we can be really, really good, or we could be really, really bad. I think it's a coin flip at this point. I call heads....really, really good.

Overall, I think we will see a very bland team early in the season, where we will possibly have more running that passing on offense, and we will use the experience of the defensive line to stop the run up front, and to keep from putting too much pressure on the secondary early on in the season. With more nickel expected to be used this season, I don't expect a lot of blitzing early on either. The one exception to all this is the MTSU game. We may actually see more wide-open offense and defense in that game than we will see in three of the four games after that. Once we get to the Conference schedule though, starting with FAU, it'll be all out.

All this being said, I think we will see a lot of self-preservation in the LSU, Ohio St. and Ok. St. games. Keeping it simple and not getting fancy or risky. Coach Blakeney's primary goal this season is to get back to New Orleans, and if the sacrifice is to be safe in the big OOC games to preserve team health for the conference games, then so be it. The caveat to that is, if any of those three games is close going into the 4th qtr, Katy bar the door......it's going to be an all out, pedal-to-the-metal, tooth and nail, fight to the finish.

My best guess for this season is 9-3 overall, 6-1 in conference. Believe it or not, the conference game that scares me the most is N. Tx. I know we handled them last season for HC, and we are 3-1 against them, but I think they will be much improved by the time we get to them in late Oct. The bottom line is I think we will get beat by someone we shouldn't, i.e. N. Tx., and we will also beat someone we shouldn't, either LSU or Ok. St. I've looked at the Ohio St. Blue Ribbon preview, and read much about their pre-season expectations, and I just don't see us getting out of there with a win. Either of the last two seasons....maybe, but this year? I don't think so. We get LSU early, and we should be healthy. This is my number one chance at an upset. Ok. St. could go either way. They could be so blind with revenge from last season, they can't control themselves and we win, or they could get so focused, we get the tar beat out of us in their new stadium (renovated). All in all, I think we get one and give one, leaving us at 9-3 for the season. I also think the loss doesn't hurt us in the conference championship hunt, and we go back to New Orleans.

I say go all out against every team you play or not show up at all. Winning the league is good and all, but we wont get recognized by anybody unless we play one of the tough OOC foes down to the wire or beat them.

TU/JSU Fan
07-17-2008, 09:27 AM
I see both sides to that argument.. We went 8-4 last year and didn't make a bowl game.. Had we not lost to FAU we are in a bowl. Did we lose that game because Brandon Lang was out with an injury that happened during an OOC 'big boy' game? No one knows that for sure, but the brutal schedule could hurt us in the long run if you don't play it safe.

Say we win at MTSU and then play LSU tough, but lose a close one, drill Alcorn, and then go up to Columbus and get a ton of people (including stars) hurt prior to the FAU game then what? We lose that game more than likely we don't bowl again.. We keep people healthy after the LSU/OSU and lose the worst thing that could happen would be we have a shot at the NO Bowl..

I want to win all games.. Don't get me wrong, but I just think you have to be careful with the way you play these "Anywhere.. Anytime..." games. You have to remember that the Sunbelt is going to get 1 bowl bid except in those rare years that something strange happens and you need to put your eggs in that basket because honestly people will forget that Troy beat Ohio State a lot quicker than they would if Troy won the conference and a bowl game. I still think the thrashing of Rice is still a better win than beating Missouri... Maybe I am crazy, but I think that bowl win did more than a home game win against a team that ended up being rather overrated.

CHughes1102
07-17-2008, 09:42 AM
I see both sides to that argument.. We went 8-4 last year and didn't make a bowl game.. Had we not lost to FAU we are in a bowl. Did we lose that game because Brandon Lang was out with an injury that happened during an OOC 'big boy' game? No one knows that for sure, but the brutal schedule could hurt us in the long run if you don't play it safe.

Say we win at MTSU and then play LSU tough, but lose a close one, drill Alcorn, and then go up to Columbus and get a ton of people (including stars) hurt prior to the FAU game then what? We lose that game more than likely we don't bowl again.. We keep people healthy after the LSU/OSU and lose the worst thing that could happen would be we have a shot at the NO Bowl..

I want to win all games.. Don't get me wrong, but I just think you have to be careful with the way you play these "Anywhere.. Anytime..." games. You have to remember that the Sunbelt is going to get 1 bowl bid except in those rare years that something strange happens and you need to put your eggs in that basket because honestly people will forget that Troy beat Ohio State a lot quicker than they would if Troy won the conference and a bowl game. I still think the thrashing of Rice is still a better win than beating Missouri... Maybe I am crazy, but I think that bowl win did more than a home game win against a team that ended up being rather overrated.

I say that you cant worry about people getting hurt. Heck we had about just as many people hurt in Sunbelt games as we did Arkansas, Florida, and Georgia. This is football and guys are going to get hurt regardless, but if you worry too much about injuries than you are worrying about something that might not even happen and you end up losing for it. Ok say we get some stars hurt at OSU before FAU...yeah that would be bad, but heck we could have just as many or more hurt during a game against any other opponent. I say you cant go around playing big teams being scared about injuries when they may not even happen at all. We could have had the whole darn team hurt after any one of those games last year, but we still went after them. We may not have the depth this year as we did last year, but that just means that a few players will need to step up. Oh and another thing....playing conservative against big OOC teams shows them that you are vulnerable and would make them smack you around more for their enjoyment. There will still be hard hitting tackles in every single game that you play which means the only way to avoid injuries is to not play at all. I say go out there bust every opponent in the mouth and show them who's boss.

Discophobia
07-17-2008, 11:22 AM
PLAY TO WIN EVERYTIME YOU STEP ON THE FIELD! Laying off to win the conference is crap! Taking it easy sounds like some kind of liberal democrat loser talk! I dont see LB with this kind of mentality. It is great to win the conference, but I think we play full out hardnose everytime. In the end a couple of out of conference wins would do more for recruiting, name recognition etc. then winning the Crap Belt. Combine the two and you have hit the motherload! LB knows what a victory against LSU, OH State etc would mean to this program, I dont think e plays to win.

TU Rob
07-17-2008, 11:26 AM
PLAY TO WIN EVERYTIME YOU STEP ON THE FIELD!

It starts at the kickoff, and doesn't end until the clock reads 0:00 in the 4th. Unless there is OT. But you get the picture. Play hard, every play. Make the tackles. Make the blocks. Throw the pass, make the catch. Just do all of the little things right every play, and if at the end of the day you've done that and still come up short, then you were not the better team that day. But for anyone to suggest that the team throw a game against a "Power" school just to win the conference is absurd. Do you think the Trojans quit against Florida last year when they were down early? They played just as hard as they did against FAU when the conference championship and bowl game were on the line. The opponent and score shouldn't matter. Play hard, every down. And that is what I've seen from the Trojans, and nothing else.

Troy87
07-17-2008, 02:47 PM
All right.....some of you have spun what I said into something that wasn't implied. When I said not play risky and play for self preservation, ya'll have taken this as to lay back and not play hard.....that's bull#$%, and not what I said!

What I said was to not play fancy or risky, especially early in the season when there is no experienced depth at Linebacker and the CBs are still learning the defense. These guys are all going to play hard, and no one would expect any less, but there's no point in risking players' health when it is not necessary, or trying to make big plays if you're not in a position to do it because the personnel on the field aren't experienced enough.

Don't leave starters in if we're down by 4 TDs going into the 4th qtr. Early in the season, there's no point gambling on a lot of blitzes if you're leaving young LBs, new CBs and Safeties on an island to get burned. Don't blitz if you've got 2nd or 3rd team LBs in the game, because if the play gets beyond the front line, the secondary could get into trouble and give up the big play.

No where did I say "don't play to win". What I basically said was if it ain't there, don't expect us to cut off our nose to spite our face. Some say, "What about the Florida game last year?". Not a good comparison....we had the most experience in the exact opposite ares from what we have this year. We had excellent experience in the areas we could afford to make risky play calls, like blitzes on defense, and lot's of "go-for-broke" plays on offense. Does anyone think the same offensive calls would have been made without Omar at QB? Or would the defense have been as aggressive without Leodis and Elbert anchoring the corners? I don't think so.

I will say that if we go out with reckless abandon against LSU and Ohio St, we could potentially lose games by much bigger margins than we should, and possibly lose players to unecessary and avoidable injuries. I think we will know where we stand with the QB and the defensive secondary before we get to Oklahoma St., and we could see a little more wide open play against them, since we played them last year, and we wouldn't expect them to play much differently than they did then.

Our strengths are the OL and DL for sure, plus the WRs and RBs. We have to play to these strengths early on until the QB, LBs and CBs get caught up. And don't start in with, "that's what the fall camp is for". Until these new guys have real game speed play, it's all theoretical.

And, one of the things I also said was that if it's close going into the 4th qtr (or if we're ahead), then playing safe will go out the window. And this only applies to the LSU, Ohio St. and Ok. St. games. All the other games are wide open, because I think we have the personnel to be risk-takers against our conference opponents.