Keys To Beating Saskatchewan – 101st Grey Cup

Keys To Beating Saskatchewan – 101st Grey Cup

Thought I'd do this week's keys in 4 segments.

1st ... Defense
2nd ... Offense
3rd ... Teams
4th ... Intangibles/Other

Let’s start on with the defensive side of the ball.

  1. Mix It Up
  2. Make Double D Read & React
  3. Make Saskatchewan Adjust

If the TiCats play a standard defensive set & alignment, they’ll get pushed around & dominated by what is a very good offensive line. Much in the same way that Hamilton has varied their offensive formations & sets & game plan, I see the same thing happening except on the defensive side of the ball. Not that this will be entirely new since we’ve seen this already from Coach Steinhauer.

I’d like to see Hamilton Mix It Up & deploy many different types of defensive alignments.

Their Standard 4-3-5.
Boudreaux, Bulcke, T. Davis, Norwood
Murray/Issac, Johnson, Lawrence.
E. Davis, Webb, Stephen, McCullough, Breaux

4-4-4 Package
Boudreaux, Bulcke, T. Davis, Norwood
Bowman, Plesius, Johnson, Lawrence.
Murray, Webb, McCullough, Breaux

5-3-4 Package
Boudreaux, Bulcke, T. Davis, Hazime, Norwood
Rico, JJ, Simoni
E. Davis, Webb, McCullough, Breaux

3-5-4 Package
Boudreaux, Bulcke, Norwood
Murray, Plesius, JJ, Bowman, Lawrence
E. Davis, Webb, McCullough, Breaux

Mix it up. Don’t let the Riders get set in their formations & blocking schemes. Give them different looks. Make their Oline call out protection schemes. Make them think on their feet. Mixing up packages allows you to bring pressure from all different angles. Make the Riders have to make adjustments to your alignments & packages rather than letting them tee-off on you out of their stances & sets.

The 4-4-4 should be stout against the run while clogging the middle passing zones.

The 5-3-4 should be even stouter against the run while taking away the interior throwing lanes for Durant.

The 3-5-4 will clog the middle of the field eliminating the intermediate routes.

Which leads me to Key #2Make Double D Read & React.

Pretty simple & straight forward & deliberately literal. If you can make Darian Durant have to read & react to YOUR defensive alignments, schemes, pressure & coverages … You’ll win … As long as you limit his scrambles. He’ll pick up 1st downs with his legs. Get used to & accept it. But you can’t let him pick up 20 & 30 yards on a scramble & shift the field position battle!

Durant’s biggest scrambles are up the middle. The 4-4-4 & 3-5-4 & 5-3-4 alignments & athletes on the field in such schemes should limit DD’s scrambles right up the middle.

Harkening back to Key #1 … Mix it up defensively in order to mix up Durant & get him out of rhythm & off his game. 5 Dlinemen blocking his passing lanes at times. 5 LB’s clogging the middle at other times. A balanced 4-4 spread that brings 6 pass-rushers at times & only 3 at others.

All of which leads to my 3rd Defensive Key … Which is in reality a summary point … Make Saskatchewan Adjust!

Use different alignments, schemes, packages, coverages, etc, etc, etc, and make Saskatchewan … Or rather George Cortez … Adjust!

We all know all too well how Curious George does not like to make, nor can make, or makes the wrong … Adjustments!

Gotta get Saskatchewan off their game-plan … just like Hamilton did to Montreal Offensively … Hamilton has to do that to the Riders Defensively!

Get Saskatchewan off their game-plan … at home … in GC101 … under all that pressure … silence the crowd … let Durant et. al. feel the pressure … If Hamilton can do that … They’re well on their way to victory!

Next we’ll look at the Offensive side of the ball for the TiCats!

:thup: Masoli and the Wildcats :twisted: :rockin: our secret weapon cold weather package from professor Austin!

Burris’s accuracy and the ability to get Gable into the game are key points from an offensive standpoint, stopping their running game will be key on defense.

It is going to be insanely loud
On Offense, hand signals will be a must.
Heck, we will need hand signals in the huddle
Coach is going to have to figure out how to communicate,
especially on the "O" Line.
Our team is peaking right now, The second half of the EDF was outstanding
I like our chances!!

Well thought out suggestions fenderguy.
Looking back on last week's game I had the distinct impression that Kent Austin (in addition to getting on the scoreboard) used the first half a lot to test the Blue team's offences and defences to see how they reacted and look for weaknesses. At the time I was not aware of that possibility and was wondering if we would be able to get a win.
When the second half started I think Austin knew precisely what he had to do....and as we saw, he did just that! I can't remember a second half where adjustments were made that successfully. What other team has managed to shut down Ricky Ray so completely?
I think we will see more of that approach against Saskatchewan. I also have this feeling that Saskatchewan will not provide any greater challenges than we have already experienced with the wins over Montreal and the Blue team.

I think getting Gable involved is key on Offence. I would also like to see Walker back there, especially on outlet passes and screens. I'd also like to see Onrea Jones instead of Tasker. Onrea is a clutch receiver. Spread the ball around...we have many weapons which we seem to underutilize. Would love to see Anderson eat any words that come out of that cocky loudmouth. Would be nice to see Stala get a few balls thrown his way. He has a nose for the yardsticks. On Defence...contain the run, blitz often to put added pressure on Durant and hope we have good contain and coverage downfield. I sure hope Breaux plays at corner. I like Webb too, but at HB, not corner...although he did make a great play to negate a TD last week. If it wasn't for that we might not be watching our beloved Ticats playing for the cup.

Play Walker-On Kick return and in backfield

Austin seems to have a thing against both Walker and Stala...they've been overlooked all season. Walker had a great game at the end of the season and hasn't been used since.

Totally agree with your assessment regarding Walker and Stala. Seems to have been totally overlooked this season.
In games like this, you not only have to play the players who helped get you there, but pull out all the stops and play all your resources. Chevy is basically an open field runner so we would have to create space for him but Stala is the go-to guy when that we can depend on to find the open space. I'd like to see both of them get some action on Sunday, but I doubt we will see either.

Good points lots if fans agree Chevy and Stala should be used also I would run the Wildcat package could be usefull as a different run option depending on conditions

run the ball with gable and he must protect it go north and south no dancing on the slippery feild
must have the good hank
Stala over tasker simply for his vetern presence and knowledge of what needs to be done in the big game

front 4 be aggresive on durant let ur dbs do there thing against the receivers once they switch to the run swith to a 3 4 and contain

Special teams win the feild control battle

As a whole team stay focused forget the noise forget the weather go out and battle for 60 full complete minutes

He wants one of his DI's to be a punt returner. Walker is not one.

Somehow score more points than you allow!

Why can't Walker be a punt returner?

Let’s now turn our attention to the Offensive side of the football.

  1. Manage, Manage, Manage

There is only one significant key offensively in my mind. Manage the game. Manage the conditions. Manage the crowd.

As we’ve seen in the last few momentous victories for the TiCats, one of the main factors in these wins has been in managing the overall game offensively. Whether it be by dictating the speed & pace of the game, controlling the clock, controlling the ball, winning the time of possession. This will remain to be key for the TiCats to obtain a victory in the 101st Grey Cup.

In my mind, managing the game & controlling the ball & winning the time of possession involves presenting a mix of formations, personnel & play calling that results in long, sustained, time consuming offensive drives for the TiCat offense.

I believe Hamilton should continue to mix it up offensively. Use both Burris & LeFevour & perhaps even Masoli in varied sets & formations & personnel groupings. Don’t let the Riders get set in their standard defensive scheme. Use 7 man OLine formations. Run the zone-read. Run the spread-triple-option. Run the “wildcat?. Key Saskatchewan off balance. Make them react, adjust & substitute to your personnel groupings. Make them change their responsibilities on the fly.

Manage game by managing & dictating the flow of the game.

Secondly, when we’ve seen Henry at his best in the 2nd half & late stages of the last 2 games, he has distributed the ball quickly & efficiently with short passes that allow the players to make plays. Henry has used his legs & scrambled at key moments in order to extend drives.

Short passes. Dink & dunk. Run for 1st downs. This is the key in my mind for Henry. Don’t try to bite off too much. Take what they’re giving you. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Spread the ball around. Use all the weapons. Use Gable out of the backfield down the seam. Use Ellingson when they double up coverage on Fantuz. Use Grant’s size advantage on shorter DB’s. Use Tasker, if playing, across the middle just like the Riders use Dressler.

Henry doesn’t have to throw for 400 yards or be extraordinary, but he does have to manage himself … manage the ball … manage the game.

As far as managing the conditions, once again this comes down to dictating. The affect of whatever conditions are present on Sunday in my mind comes down to footing. A real deep freeze thus far during the week has frozen the ground significantly & even though the temperatures are on the rise, the ground & turf will remain very hard & treacherous. With more difficult footing, its always easier to dictate rather than react. Tough footing favours the offense. They know where they’re going. Defense has to react.

Hamilton’s speedsters need to plan their approach accordingly. That includes both choice of footwear as well as running style and approach. In fact, I would be hesitant in dressing more/all the “finesse? players. Their speed advantage is negated with the conditions present this time of year. I’m sorry, I know many will disagree but this to me means no Walker & perhaps no Tasker. I’d rather have Jones in there since he is reliable & dependable in returning punts/kicks & his blocking ability in “max protection? formations.

The last point is sort of obvious. If the TiCats can manage the game by managing the ball & time of possession … they’ll manage the hostile environment & take the crowd out of the game. Grey Cup Sunday is a very, very, very long day. Many spectators will have had more than their usual intake & imbibing! Control the ball & control the clock & control the game & the crowd will grow tired & restless & frustrated & will quickly become a disadvantageous & disruptive 13th Man!!!

Next we’ll look at the 3rd Phase of the Game … Special Teams!

From day 3 Friday indoor practice

Drew Edwards @scratchingpost
#Ticats safety Courtney Stephen is not practicing. If he can't go it could create ratio issues vs. #Riders #101GC #CFL
Drew Edwards @scratchingpost
#Ticats OT Brian Simmons, G Greg Wojt and DB all practicing on day 3. All key contributors. #101GC #Riders #CFL
Drew Edwards @scratchingpost
#Ticats practice underway in Moose Jaw. Field is regulation and it's gloriously warm

Not having Stephen would be huge. Wonder if Breaux is a go? Kinda rhymes.

I just read on Drew's blog that Breaux has been practicing. Best news of the week. I hope he gets to play against Taj Smith again. That will be a great battle to watch.

If I had a choice, I would take having Breaux at corner over Stephens at Safety. Webb can play safety. It only creates a ratio issue. I'd take Jones over Tasker as well...maybe Stala would get his chance...we can get by with Stala, Giguerre, Fantuz, Ellingson and Grant.

Reading how cold it is -34 with the wind chill! Fortunately able to practice in an indoor facility, don't want to lose anyone to frostbite.