It's been a long week for the Toppers, who've said they're itching to get back on the field to redeem themselves at Navy. The Midshipmen are coming off a 27-14 loss at Pittsburgh, while the Toppers are looking to better last week's 28-7 disappointing loss. Each week, InsideHilltopperSports.com will compile the three biggest keys on each side of the ball to keep WKU in the game:
Kawaun Jakes Needs To Mature Quickly:
It's still a gametime decision, but Jakes, a redshirt freshman, is likely to get the start. He's been able to buy some more time than Smith, who's nursing an injured shoulder. Jakes could use the experience, as he might be the quarterback of the future. He'll need to learn quickly for the offense to get going.
Give Him Some Protection:
Granted, the offensive line has been banged up, but the onus is still on them to hold off the rush somewhat. It could be Jakes' first career start and there will probably be some jitters. The line needs to give him ample time or it could be a rough outing again.
Spice It Up:
At this point, WKU is playing for some respect along with a win. Expect some razzle dazzle plays or at least different looks. Of course, for this to happen, the basic stuff has to work too. There won't be much room for trick plays if there's too many loss of yardage plays.
It's obvious that Navy will run the option at least 75 percent of the time. With this the Toppers have to stay in their zones. If not, the cut blocks down-field will be huge to busting big runs. The linebackers and especially the defensive backs must play smart.
Be Ready For The Occasional Pass:
Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs isn't a great passer, but he can throw. The Middies have thrown for 348 yards in three games, a fairly high number of passing yards for them. This will make it especially key for the defensive backs to be smart.
Get Some Push Up Front:
While so much relies on the linebackers and secondary, if the defensive linemen can get any kind of rush, it will disrupt the rhythm of the triple option. The fullback will get a good dose of carries up the middle. Stopping the inside game can force the ball outside, where the LBs and DBs must be ready and able.
After the game, catch InsideHilltopperSports.com's extensive post-game, with a full game wrap and audio from coach David Elson
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