BleedTechBlue - Three Keys to Victory | Mississippi State
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Three Keys to Victory | Mississippi State

My gosh. What a glorious feeling this Friday morning... I watched a whole bunch of college football last night, but that was just the hors d'oeuvres. You know how you can eat a little snack and then realize, "Holy crap, I'm HUNGRY!" That's what happened last night. I WANT SOME BULLDOG FOOTBALL!

Lucky for us, the BULLDOGS ARE BACK!! With just a few hours left until kickoff, let's take a look at what the Blue and Red Dogs can do to break their four-game losing streak against Mississippi State:

Get everything clicking… and fast

The first key to beating Mississippi State would be the same if we were playing Starkville Junior High. Tech’s got a TON of new faces on both sides of the ball, but especially the offense. If the re-tooled Offensive Line, new running back room, and fresh signal caller can’t get on the same page early on, it’ll be a long game. For Tech to have a chance, the offense will have to come out guns blazing... without making any critical mistakes. I’m especially interested in how the new running backs (Keyon Henry-Brooks and Marcus Williams Jr.) will fare against a Mississippi State run defense that ranked 23rd in the nation last season. If they can put up anywhere close to 175 yards on the ground, Tech has a very good chance to keep this game close.

Find a defensive identity

Last year, the Bulldog defense wasn’t terrible… But it lacked consistency outside of the Linebacking corps. With returning talent (I’m SUPER excited to see Tyler Grubbs and Trey Baldwin suit up again), I’m not concerned about that position. But what’s sort of a mystery to me is… Who’s going to step up and rush the passer? Tech’s best returning player in providing pressure is… Safety Khalil Ladler. We’re going to need someone like Willie Baker, Deshon Hall, or Keivie Rose to step up BIG TIME in this game (and this season!). That’s mostly because Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack historically struggles against Zone defense. But dropping 7 or 8 guys in coverage won’t help us if MaroonDog QB Will Rogers has 7 seconds to throw. We've got to generate pressure from the front 4, especially early in this game to get in the young QB's head.

Who's the Trent? Carlos...? Teddy......? Adrian......????

There are some promising players in the wide receiver group right now. I’m very excited to see newcomers Samuel Emilus and Bub Means … But they’re not proven commodities in a Bulldog uniform yet. In the returning group, we’ve got:

Smoke Harris - who is great, but can be an every down threat?

Griffin Hebert - who makes big plays from time to time, but hasn’t shown consistency week to week

Isaiah Graham - who’s got a lot of potential, but will he shine now that there’s no one else in the spotlight?

The point is, someone has to step up and be a threat that the defense has to keep their eyes on every single play. I’d love to see one of these guys get 7 or 8 catches here in week one.

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Evan is also a contributor to gtpdd.dog, a lighthearted Louisiana Tech blog. Be sure to check out @gotechplsdntdie on Twitter, play the gtpdd Contest and CUSA Pick'Em, and listen to the gtpdd Podcast!