Another big game and they do not get any easier from here, but it you have to take it one game at a time. Eastern is always a tough out and is a top tier LSC team, so here are 5 thoughts regarding this upcoming matchup.
- I love this game, because it matches up two polar opposite offenses against each other. ENMU runs the wishbone/triple option and runs is better than just about anyone. They execute their offense better than anyone in the conference in my opinion, and they have a coaching staff and set of players that are totally sold out on their program. Our offense is not as pass happy as it once was, but the Lions still make a living by spreading the field and getting the ball to as many different skill guys as possible. Spread ’em and shred ’em versus pound ’em and ground ’em,
- ENMU is 2-0 to start the season. They defeated a ranked Southwest Baptist team to open the season in dramatic fashion and also defeated cross state foe Western New Mexico 37-34 in a game that was pretty sloppy and a game that really they should have lost. A side note, Western has a good team. In addition to almost beating Eastern, they almost beat a solid FCS Division I school to open the season. There is something brewing in Silver City. That being said, Josh Lynn is gone as Head Coach and Kelley Lee is now the head coach in addition to being the offensive coordinator. This is a good team we are playing.
- Speaking of that, I would be remiss if I did not mention what Eastern has done since Colby Carthel took over. They have had 4 winning seasons, 2 Heart of Texas Bowl appearances, and a conference title in 2013. Josh Lynn did a great job as head coach at Eastern and that is why he moved up to Nebraska-Kearney. ENMU is one of the better teams in this conference and they get overlooked and often it causes other teams to overlook them. We cannot do that.
- Now, to strategy. On offense, The Lions HAVE to score early and often. Getting the crowd into it is also important but the way you beat a team like Eastern is to just outscore them and play assignment defense. The Hounds do not have an offense that is built to play catch up. They are not going to fall behind by 2 or more scores and then abandon the stacked backfield and then just spread the entire field and have a running quarterback air it out. Knocking them out early by scoring quickly and also using the pass to set up the run is important. ENMU needs clock to bleed and score, if they do not have that time, they won’t be able to run that offense effectively.
- Finally, defending the option is all about assignment defense, and this is where I am anxious to see how well our defense can execute. Hounds running back Kamal Cass is a dynamite player and all it takes is for him get the corner and he is gone. Keying in on him will be a big part of that, but one thing this type of offense does is that it lulls you to sleep with traps, isos, counters, and options and then when faced with third and long, or even first and ten, they lure defenses into the backfield while a tight end or halfback sneaks out into the flats and is left wide open to catch the ball. The Lion Defense has to be ready for those plays as well. Assignment defense is what this game will be all about on the defensive side of the ball.