Greetings Ladies & Gentlemen. It's that time once again to delve into the keys for the upcoming test for the TiCats. Really enjoying the discussion that ensues in these threads! It's becoming very clear that there are A LOT of very knowledgeable football fans both on this board and the league forum. It's great to see!
I'll begin with a quick summary of last week's effort which is necessary to see what it is that they have to do in order to win Saturday, get the split with BC, and get back to .500.
In my opinion the game plan, especially offensively, was not nearly as good as it had been in week's past. Is this due to playing a better opponent in the Lions? I think some what. But I would not put the loss down to just the fact that BC is better than Winnipeg & Edmonton. I give the game plan utilized last week a C grade. Execution of game plan also a C+. Effort from the players an A if not A+.
Much of what I believed to be keys to the game, especially in strategy/tactics, schemes/coverages, play calling/scripting ... did not occur last Friday evening in BC in my mind. So with that said, here's what I think needs to be done with the hindsight of last week's experience & knowledge.
Offense - Spread The Field - Horizontally & Vertically
I feel the main downfall last week, and what will be a key this week is to spread the field of play both horizontally & vertically. The Lions were too easily able to stack the box & with their front 7 and be very aggressive with their secondary. Their DB's gave no respect to Hamilton being able to throw deep. They hardly ever got out of their back-peddle and were able to close in on everything. They blitzed very well with the confidence that Henry wouldn't find the dump off/outlet or that the receivers wouldn't read and find the outlet valve route.
One thing I think Hamilton should do is utilize the "fake" waggle. The SB's should start their waggle to the LOS early in the count and hold up/stop. Make BC show their hand. Then protection and routes can be adjusted.
As far as formations and offensive sets, I'd really like to see more 2 back sets. With 2 backs in their theirs a lot more options. Both can pass block picking up blitzes. One can block while other releases. Both can release to the flats. One can run the seam while the other runs the wheel route. They can run counters in the running game, quick pitches to gain the edge. I'd really like to see Gable & Moore/Walker used in the backfield together. The best way to spread BC horizontally is with their RB's as well as the zone-read-run-option. Dan LeFevour didn't have a great impact last week, but I think the success from giving him at least a few series executing the zone-read-option is still there.
Spread the front 7 horizontally & that will open up the direct snaps inside, the draws, the shovel passes. Run some screens to give their DLine something to think about. That'll slow them down as well as spread them out.
They also need to get Henry on the roll. 5 to 7 step rolls. All the linemen down/slide block. RB/FB has to pick up whoever slips through a gap which is what happened last week. Get Henry rolling and flood that side of the field with receivers. Gotta send one guy on the deep corner or post route and make BC respect the back zone. Run the inside SB on an out underneath the deep clearing route. Let the 3rd receiver, most likely Fantuz, find the gap in the zone.
Some of the problems with stretching the field vertically is personnel related. I think that's the main reason actually. At this point they have no burner. But they need to run it all the same. Perhaps BC will underestimate it once and that long TD could be the difference maker.
Offense Summary - Spread the Lions DLine & LB's horizontally & make their secondary respect vertically. When the DB's & SAM blitz, you gotta recognize & hit the dump off route.
Defensive Keys To Come ... (Hint ... I don't think they did that bad actually!)