Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keys to the Game- Villanova-Richmond Edition

Coming off wins in consecutive weeks against Maine and James Madison, the Villanova football team will take on The Spiders of the University of Richmond this Saturday at noon.  Richmond has run into a great deal of bad luck this season, losing their starting Quarterback, USC transfer Aaron Corp and his backup so they have been forced to start true freshman Montel White at the position (a similar siuation that Chris Whitney was in during his freshman year.)  Although UR has been relatively successful since the injuries, if Villanova doesn't win this game they are in big trouble.

Here's what Villanova needs to do to win:

  1. Stop the Run- Richmond boasts a dismal passing offense, one of the worst in the nation in both yards and efficiency.  Their offense on the whole isn't very good (averaging fewer than 20 points per game,) but they are much better at running the ball than they are throwing it.  The runner to watch is Kendall Gaskins who is big (6-1 230) and powerful and flashed against VU last year at Richmond, scoring a touchdown.  Other than running backs Gaskins, Tyler Kirchoff, Garrett Wilkins, and Jovan Smith (a committee if there ever was one) there should be no real threat coming from the Richmond offense.  If you force them into throwing the ball with White, you have about a 99 percent chance of winning. 
  2. Be Wary of The Gadget Play- Teams that are over matched will try some desperate things.  Fake punts/field goals, flea flickers, passes with people other than the quarterback etc.  I wouldn't mind a relatively conservative defensive game plan (not too conservative,) simply to account for these types of things.  That doesn't mean to call the dogs off by any means, but they should be aware of the fake (especially on special teams.)
  3. Throw Throw Throw- Richmond's passing defense is not great and Chris Whitney has been a monster so far this season.  So I think a heavy helping of the pass is in order.  stay in a four receiver set for most of the game and just chuck it around the yard.  Dorian Wells, Norman White, and Mikey Reynolds have really picked up the slack from Matt Szczur, our fearless leader since he has been out from injury.  Throwing it in the first three quarters makes for prime conditions to run the clock out in the fourth quarter.  Part of the problem last week was the coaches got too conservative with their play calling in the second half and weren't willing to use Whitney's arm to put the game away. 
  4. Don't Let Up- The 'Cats Felt like they let up a bit in the second half on offense against JMU, that has to change down the stretch.  Four quarters of inspired football every game is necessary for a successful stretch and playoff run.

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