The Pre Snap Read: Lions Offense vs. Oaklander Defense

Greetings, Lion fans, and after such a long week, it can finally be said…….IT’S GAME WEEK! Yes, after what has seemed like an eternity since we all left The Hawk late last fall after a disappointing 7-4 2021 season, it’s that time again. Much like the months of February and April in baseball this time of year, the late summer/ early fall, hope springs eternal, and the chance to erase the bitterness of the previous year begins.

2022, however, charts a new course for the Lion athletic program, having left the Lone Star Conference, of which they were a founding member, and Division 2 for Division 1 FCS and the Southland Conference. Old foes like Midwestern State, Angelo State, Texas A&M-Kingsville, and Eastern New Mexico have given way to Incarnate Word, Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State, and Lamar University. There are sure to be ups and downs along the way, but the journey begins at 7pm this Thursday night to kick off the Labor Day weekend. So, let us dive right in and take a look at the Oaklanders of Lincoln University of California.

ABOUT LINCOLN: Lincoln University is a private school established in 1919 in Oakland, California, their football program is in their second season at the NAIA Level. Desmond Gumbs is in his first season as head coach. There is extremely little information on the Oaklander team from last season. What we have been able to gather here at The Wire has been remarkably good, with full games against two opponents that Lion fans should be very familiar with: Western Oregon (the Lions traveled there and won in 2019), and UT-Permian Basin. So, while there is not a lot of information on numbers, rosters, and personnel, there is quite a bit as far as what to look for and expect.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Lincoln is beginning their third year as a football program, and they certainly look it. They are undersized and undermanned, and with only 30-35 players dressed out, suffer tremendously from a lack of depth.

The Lincoln defense operates out of a basic 4-2-5 set, often with an inverted safety playing within 5-7 yards of the line of scrimmage. The Oaklanders often line up with seven defenders or more in the box. Their defense is very quick in spots, but again, are undersized and can be gashed for big plays if the front seven can be broken through. It is unlikely that they have seen teams with the size, speed, and quickness like that of the Lions.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: In a word, consistency. The Lamborghini we were expecting in 2021 turned out to be a worn out 1958 Ford Edsel. 2022, however, looks to be vastly different. Ohio State transfer Jagger Laroe, appears to have taken over as QB1, but according to our sources, Senior Ja’iave Magalei, is playing extremely well, and seems to have gained tons of much needed confidence. The receiving corps looks to be very deep, and while San Diego State transfer B.J. Busbee, and Colorado transfer Keith Miller have been grabbing headlines, others like Kenedy Snell, and Kevin Ledee are looking to bounce back from a 2021 season that was much like the rest of the Lion offense. Some flashes, but a lot of fits and starts. Sophomore Andrew Armstrong came on strong at the end of 2021 and showed much promise during the spring.

Offensive coordinator Billy Riebock, while, like most coaches in the spring, did not show his whole hand, gave us enough of a look to see that this version of the Lion offense could be vastly different this year, with more four and five wide receiver sets, and more three step drops, and quick timing passes.

All this promise, however, goes nowhere without an offensive line to make it go. There are some holes to fill here, but Maryland transfer Mitchell Gorgas, and senior Rehoboth Chisea look to fill those gaps.

THE LIONS WIN THIS MATCHUP IF: Fans, for all appearances, this is a game that my friend Brian Pate once aptly termed a cupcake. Every team has one on their schedule. So, what do the Lions do? You eat the cupcake. By no means should the Lions take this game lightly (remember the Saginaw Valley game last year?), but if the Lions play as they are certainly capable of, they should win this on easily.

Thursday Night, 7pm, September 1st. The Hawk.

Fans, to quote the in-ring announcer for the UFC, Bruce Buffer………”IT’S TIIIIIIIIIMMMEEEE!!!”

See You at The Hawk

Roar Back Here.....

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