Keys To Beating BC - Game 1

Greetings Ladies & Gents!

The TiCats have a true test of their recent growth & increasing success as a team this Friday evening. What better way to test where they are as a team than a road trip to the left coast against the Lions!

As far as keys to the game I thought I'd break it down a little differently this time. First is preparation/travel. Second is the three phases of the game. Third is the game within the game.

I'll start with my first key to victory & add to it in later posts in order to break it up & not irritate people with its extensive length. (Or more accurately ... As Mrs. FG says ... stop writing so much! No one cares you verbose bag of verbal diarrhea!)

Key #1 - Preparation & Travel

It appears that the TiCats are getting healthy while other teams are having to now deal with injury. Continuity is something that has been mentioned by the coaching staff as well as others on this forum many times. With a relatively healthy line-up, one that should basically be the same as last game outside of perhaps one player, the TiCats can focus their practice and preparation upon expanding the playbook rather than just figuring out who can play where & what they need to know.

They're in the enviable position to continue to add wrinkles both offensively and defensively. My personal sense is that we've seen only 20 to 25% of Coach Austin & Condell's playbook offensively. On Defense, as players get used to playing beside each other more & more, they can take more chances, be more aggressive, and Coach Steinhauer can bring pressure from even more places & at different times & different angles.

I'll expand upon this later, as long as Mrs. FG doesn't lock the WiFi, but I think practice & preparation will see Hamilton continue to expand LeFevour's play package as well as other wrinkles including some on ST's. Not necessarily saying "trick" plays, just expanding and evolving the playbook. Building upon previous successes and displayed tendencies. As stated earlier, I think we've only seen a glimpse of what Coach Austin & Condell have planned this season and are being very calculated in opening it up little by little each week!

But my NUMBER 1 KEY IS ... Prepping for & traveling to & getting acclimated in Vancouver!

Hydration. Hydration. Hydration! The key is not only hydrating during the flight, (at least 8 ounces of water per hour, so 32 ounces in all or even more for Davis, Brian, Figs & Big Pete!), but the REAL key is hydrating before the flight. I know I'm sounding like my mother, or any of our mother's for that matter, but eat Bananas for the potassium & BP management in altitude. Replace electrolytes. Stay away from alcohol & caffeine (This means you Dyakowski & Wojt ... the caffeine I mean!) Hydration. Move around the cabin. Hydration. Move around the cabin. I know this sounds like mothering these guys, but this may be the first time for a lot of the young guys have had to travel 4 plus hours in the air & cross 3 time zones & play a game!

I'm assuming that the team is flying out Thursday. Conduct walk through Thursday afternoon @ BC Place. Settle in Thursday night. Go through normal game day preparation on Friday. KEY HERE IS TO GET IN A GOOD WORKOUT ON THURSDAY AFTERNOON/EVENING! Exercising in your new time zone is the best way of acclimating yourself to a new time zone.

Granted ... it's easier on your body to travel westward ... but special attention has to be paid attention since this will be a new experience for many of the rookies and young players on Hamilton's roster!

Next ... We'll look at the Game Plan & Player Match-Up Keys ...

Game Plan & Player Match-Up Keys

Offense ...

Strength of BC's Defense is in their DE's & LB's. Much like Winnipeg's DE's, K. Williams & K. Smith are very active & good at collapsing the pocket fro the edges. Keys, once again, like against Winnipeg, will be to make them think twice about pinning their ears back & gunning for Henry. Zone-Read-Option, draws, direct snaps, bubble screens, shovel passes, crack back blocks from Fantuz & B. Grant, will put these two's heads on a swivel & keep the from taking direct routes 7 yards in the offensive backfield.

Another, if not even more formidable strength of the Lion's Defense is in it's Linebacker unit. Elimimian, Bighill are studs inside while Banks is an opportunistic play-maker outside at the SAM spot. This is where I am a little torn. Elimimian is a relentless pursuer side-line to side-line and the usual theoretical game plan is to run/attack right at him. Yet Bighill is stout at the point of attack. Banks is nothing to be worried about in the run game. He's a ball hawk but tackles like Deion Sanders!

I think you'll see the two back sets, with Gable & Moore, quite a bit Friday night. This will give them cross buck play calls & misdirection opportunities. Start in the two back set, run one out as a SB, like TOR does with Durie, make the Will pursue, run the ball to the boudary side.

Bubble screens should work if you can get a seal on Elimimian from the inside. BC is weaker up the middle. Inside traps, delayed draws, allow the Oline to get up to the second level and Gable, Moore, LeFevour will get some good gains.

BC's Secondary is good but there are weaknesses. Wide or Field or Strong side is weak with Parks on the Corner. Phillips is solid on that side though. Overall, I see BC's Field/Wide/Strong Side defense as it's vulnerability. Banks isn't a tackler. Parks is the weakest of the DB's. Safety LaRose is also a liablility. Make the Lions bring LaRose up into the box and then exploit deep.

Bottom line is changing it up offensively. Mix it up formation wise. Mix it up play calling. Mix it up attacking the inside and stretching the field horizontally. Establish a run game. Allow for play action pass. Stretch the field horizontally opening up routes in the soft zones.

I don't see many big plays unless theirs a breakdown in coverage. I see clock management. Time of possession. Extending drives as being the keys offensively!

Defense ...

Aggressive & Opportunistic

Along the LOS, BC's strength is in their tackles with Archibald & Olafioye. Weakness is interior with Norman at Centre, and Valli/Kabongo at the two Guard spots. Pressure up the middle by Bulcke/Hazime & Davis & pressure/blitzes will be key. You can collapse the pocket INSIDE OUT against the Lions. Key will be to contain Lulay as he rolls out to escape pressure. String him along the LOS. Make him make a bad throw.

Harris is also a key. Have to keep an eye on him out of the backfield. He doesn't run well between the tackles but is good catching passes out of the backfield. LB's need to spy him and close quickly and limit his YAC. (Not YAC Yards since that's a redundancy with the Y. YAC is YAC ... There's no such thing as YAC Yards ... This means you Glen Suitor & Dwayne Forde!)

A key will also be Arceneaux. Usually plays short/boundary side WR. Hopefully Delvin Breaux can play as I really want to see the battle between the two of them on the short/boundary/sideline. Other than Arceneaux, the Lions receivers are not that physical. They can be man-handled. They can be intimidated.

Keys in my mind defensively are to get pressure up the middle & flush Lulay. Limit/contain Harris.

Started reading on Tuesday, finished on Wednesday.....lol, but seriously I love the analysis, well thought out and presented. Love the YAC Yards comment. I've got a good feeling about this home and home series, B.C. isn't playing their best right now, we just might continue to roll in Vancouver. Wish I had something to add in regards to your post but i'm not as knowledgeable about the game as you clearly are. Oskee Wee Wee!!!!! :smiley:

I started writing on Monday but then had to run & hide from Mrs. FG! She seems to think YAC stands for Your Attention Commoner!!!

We all have something to add & we all have something that we see and are knowledgeable about. That's what makes this forum great! It's the collective wisdom.

An interesting and good break down of of what needs to be done FenderGuy.
As for the travel, it shouldn't be too hard on the players' systems. The players should start acclimating a couple days before, going to bed and hour later and getting up an hour later, over a couple days their body clocks shouldn't be too bad. It's only 3 hours, if they were flying over here, where it's a 12 hour time difference that can mess up your internal clock for a few days.

Offensively the Cats are starting to fire on all cylinders, this game will be the proving ground to determine if they are in the upper echelon or at least knocking on the door. I've liked some of the packages that LeFevour has run. He brings another dimension to the offence and although he has run more running plays than passing it really keeps the defense honest.
I also like the 2 back set that Hamilton has been using, it's a throwback to what football used to be. Two talented running backs really keeps the linebackers on their toes. Flaring the backs out of the backfield puts a lot of strain on the linebackers and with the speed of Gable, Walker and Moore, I don't think there is a linebacker in the league that could keep up with them.
BC's linebacker Salmon Aluminum is a punishing hitter, keeping him from making plays will be a key in getting a victory.

As for the defense, the secondary has shown consistent improvement in each of the last 3 victories, however, I think the biggest factor has been the defensive line. The front 4 has really taken control of the line of scrimmage and they will need to continue that dominance to win. I've said this many times in the past but the team that controls the line of scrimmage will win the game.

I'm looking forward to the game this weekend to find out if Cats are in the upper echelon club, knocking on the door or getting kicked down the stairs. I really hope they are sitting on the echelon sofa come early Saturday morning. Sitting on the sofa means this season still has promise.

Go Cats

Thanks for posting,
Love the insight, from all of you
The Cats have improved in every game so far since getting their injury problems over and a forgiving schedule.
This will be a great test on all three units of the team.
I agree that their receivers are weak,
They are obviously missing both Geroy and AB3
They will test our run defense with Harris

I look forward to this game.
I don't think BC on Offence is as good as past years for three reasons. Their receivers are not as
experienced as in the past, the o-line is weak in the middle, and Travis Lulay has stopped running with the ball.
Lulay has done a lot of damage in the past by using his feet. In the interest of self preservation he does not
take risks as often. That is a weapon they are missing.
On defence they are very strong. Good front 4. Excellent linebackers and an adequate secondary.( I think Marsh is the best cover guy in the CFL)
LaRose ( @ middle safety ) is the weak link here.
We can exploit them with a deep passing game. Delahunt, Gable and Figueroa need to pound on Eliminian on every play.
Huge challenge for the O-line and receiving core. It will be great to watch our strong offence against their strong D.
The part that has me concerned is special teams. Tim Brown is on fire and I have not been thrilled with our coverage teams
as of late. If we can come out of the special teams battle even or close in terms of yardage gained and if we can win
the turnover battle we will beat BC.

Agreed 100% on each of your three reasons.

Agreed 100%

Disagree 100%; he got beat last game by Eric Deslauriers of all people. . .

Agreed 100%. He sure is their weak link back there; hardly an upgrade over the stiff they had at safety last year (Cauchy Muamba, who is now showing Winnipeg fans why BC let him go).

It's receiving CORPS; like the army corps of engineers, or the peace corps. Apples have cores.

Excellent PatMac! Well said!

Hey all,

I'm a Lions fan, (and will be at the game in Guelph next week) but I thought I'd add my two cents about how the Ticats can win on Friday.

Your O is fine. So long as you keep plugging along Burris et al are going to score enough points to win. I foresee a game that goes right down to the wire; thus I think it would be wise for the Hamilton offence to do as much as possible to get the Lions D-linemen moving all over the field. Jabar Westerman will be starting at the D-tackle for us now, and he's been a rotational player rather than a starter because of a lack of a non-import backup. This kid is a stud, but if Hamilton runs a lot of screens, bootlegs, etc and gets that pocket (and thus the big boys) moving, coupled with a lot of hurry-up, I think the interior of the Lions D-line will be sucking wind hard in the fourth. The Lions biggest weakness defensively is at safety, and on the deep post & corner routes. Getting Burris out of the pocket (or indeed shifting that pocket through slide blocking) will help give those routes time to open up. Furthermore, late in the fourth, if the interior of our D-line is blown, that will give Burris plenty of time to step up in the pocket.

I can't really speak to your special teams, but ours is playing with renewed confidence these past two weeks, with Brown returning two kicks for TDs. If you can get every punt out of bounds, you're going to win the ST battle.

As far as stopping the Lions offence, you shouldn't have too many troubles. The talk in Vancouver since the debacle against the Als has concentrated on two needs: 1). getting Harris the ball, and 2). quick reads and outlet passes to defeat the blitz. If I were your d-coordinator, I'd put seven or eight in the box and show blitz nearly every play and then back out of it. This will give you a really good idea about what the Leos anti-blitz package is going to look like for the rest of the evening, and then I'd adjust accordingly. The interior of our line is our weakest link, particularly our right guard, Dean Valli. Lulay knows this, and he's shown a real tendency (witness our loss to the Argos) to roll out prematurely directly into a DE coming off the edge. I'd preach disciplined pass rush, and linebackers staying in their lanes to disrupt quick reads. If Lulay feels comfortable with his first read, you're toast. If you can force him to go through two and three reads, you'll win.

This should be a really intense game: we have to keep within striking distance of the Riders & Stamps (and get the bad taste from last week out of our collective mouths) and with Ray's injury, now is definitely the time for you lot to make hay. This will be the best back-to-back series of the next two weeks.

Good luck &

Cheers,

James

Awesome Stuff James! That was a great post! Good luck as well. Should be a fantastic game!

:thup: :thup: :thup:

Wow! An entire page of comments and I enjoyed every single post - so much in-depth knowledge of the game - something I sorely lack- and insightful commentary on weak spots and advantages. Well done all of you, I learned a lot.

I hope to see the Cats establish a solid rushing game limiting the 2nd Ds to short yards - Gable looked really good last week and I hope he preforms well in this game - it's a big one for both teams. If I were a betting person, my money would be on Hank tonight. Experience, strength and that phenom arm of his puts me firmly in his camp. I really missed Dave Stala this year, he has been a perennial fav of mine - 2nd D Dave - glad to see him filling in for Sam.

For a number of reasons I can foresee a track meet tonight. Burris is hot, Fantuz, Grant, Stala, Ellingson et all not to mention Gable and Moore. On the B.C. side Lulay is due, Arceneaux (sp?) is a star and Harris is dangerous.

Both defenses are works in progress so I say 36-30 - Ticats - hey I cannot pick against my TABBIES!

My two cents,

Rev.

Think you're spot on Rev! I can see this being a high scoring game the more I think about it.

Like your prediction & hope it comes true!

My #1 Key ... C.J Gable. If they can establish the run with him and/or swing passes etc and stay in 2nd & short/mid yardage, the Cats will be in fine shape!

I miss Bob Young Fan's game threads, but Fender Guy's "Keys to Beating..." could become the next best thing.

In my humble opinion, these dirty indoor kitties should spot Eastern Division teams ten points if they insist on starting their home games at 10 pm our time.

There's way too much intelligent content here for me to add to except this: Tavoy Moore will have the breakout game 'you know who' did in 2011 in BC.

Oskie Wee Wee!