It’s Here. The week many of us thought we might never see. The week where Texas A&M-Commerce plays for the National Championship. Whenever there is uncharted territory for a team, the best thing a team can do in my opinion, is to keep the schedule the same and not let anything be distracting or take away from the focus. Former Lion wideout Billy Minor (88-92) was telling me that when the Lions made the playoffs in 1990, that being uncharted territory, the Eddie Vowell led staff kept things the same and made sure everyone was doing what they had been doing the rest of the season. This is every bit as psychological as it is physical.
In preparing for West Florida, they are a bit of an anomaly. Redshirt Sophomore Mike Beaudry leads the WF offense. He has completed 244 of his 435 attempts for 2,963 yards and 28 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. In studying the film, the best thing that the Lions might be able to do is to make this guy beat you with his arm and force him to make plays. He does not care to run or scramble too much, so bringing heat and forcing him to make plays will be key. His completion percentage tells me that he can have his accuracy rattled if he is pressured.
The Argonauts have a big and beefy running back in Chris Schwarz. The sophomore from New Port Richey, Florida has run for almost 900 yards, and had a complete field day last Saturday against Indiana College when he ran for 175 yards on 20 carries. The Argos also have a good receiving corps with two very dangerous guys on the outside. Redshirt Freshman Ka’Ron Ashley is a 6’3 165 pound speedster and having to cover him will be a little bit of a challenge. The Lion’s best cover corner is Yosuf Sterling-Lowe who is just an inch shorter, but has a little bit more bulk than Ashley does. This is the key matchup here as I am looking to see how this guy is covered, but also there has to be attention paid to the other side with Antione Griffin, who has 786 yards on 55 catches.
On defense, WF allows only 193 yards per game through the air, but they do give up 130 yards per game on the ground. Also, WF does not have a top 50 defense in giving up the pass nor the run. Again, this goes back to what has each team seen from opponents. The Lions have seen a 2-3 RPO teams and while they have not exactly dominated them, they have been able to make adjustments to slow it down. I do not think that the Argos have seen an offense like The Lions offense.
Finally, the Argos are a very young team and the fact that they have made it this far shows that they are a talented bunch. However, I believe they Lions have the greatest trump card of them all, and that is experience and a deep bench on both sides of the ball. This is a team that was fully expecting to make a run to this point, I do not know if you can say the same about West Florida. However, this is an odd opponent in so many ways, so expecting the unexpected is what you prepare for in a situation like this.