Pre-game hype can be a tricky slippery slope. You want to talk about a fine line to try to balance on? Try this one…
1. Be the loudest hype voice for a fanbase that would be considered a large enough market that a Steinbrenner would be proud of.
2. Accurately explain why you fully believe your team is the best one come gametime.
3. Stay true to the unwritten code of avoiding anything that the other team’s coaches could cut-out, put a pin in and slam it into a bulletin board for every one of his players to stare at and see.
Which of these three do you think is the toughest to adhere to?
Well, here is the best I can do in print. Wish me luck. Larry Madden said to call it like it is so, here we go. If you want the things I can’t print because of number three above, then come see me at the class of 1992 tailgate tomorrow at Yukon. Look for the 44 Drywall setup.
OFFENSE – Collinsville is not the best offense that the Bulldogs have tried to defend this year. I watched every game on their schedule I could find online. I desperately wish I had access to that Mac game. Unfortunately, I don’t and that film is the kink in my analysis of this team going in. The nine games that I watched leave me confident in the Bulldogs chances to keep this Cardinals’ attack in check. They bring the plays in from the sideline on every snap into a loose huddle as they interchange running backs and receivers on every down. The loose huddle looks like a group that isn’t surprised at the play calls coming in. They get close enough to confirm and they don’t really break the huddle like an old school tight unit. They are unique from other teams this year in that they will line up in the spread shotgun and you will see them under center as well. They run the ball much more than they throw it. It looks near a 75/25 percentage split. Every running back they have is fast. Blake Burd (22) is a big 6’, 200 lb. fleet-footed runner. He is the most effective rusher by a wide margin for the Cardinals. He doesn’t have a carry in the playoffs yet. He may be injured. If he plays, he will get the bulk of the carries. He was in the lineup in the early season, disappeared for five games, played in the last three regular season games and no playoff action. I don’t like their offense. Collinsville is lacking any true “go to” player to move chains and chew clock and they don’t look comfortable or confident throwing the ball. Seth Boomer, the Collinsville quarterback, is effective running when he gets flushed from the pocket and he does get flushed often. Actually, he is a very effective runner. Boomer has some wheels. I’m confused as to why this aspect isn’t a feature for them. The Cardinals’ line is very big. I said “very”. They have an obvious technique issue that I’m not going to mention. It’s obvious. The Bulldogs will certainly look to take advantage of it on every snap.
– Altus comes in to the title game riding a locomotive engine of offensive confidence. This offense pretty much owns every school record and this isn’t new news. Jayden Benway is a mega-star. I’m just going to call it like I see it Larry. Benway is the best quarterback the Bulldogs have ever had. I certainly don’t discount all the efforts of past Bulldogs. Scotty Mckee, Blake Stepanovich, Matt Terry and all the others a tip of the hat to all of you. I admit that I don’t know many that I can list here. Jason Thomas was fantastic. The Bulldogs have had great field Generals in the past. However, statistically, emotionally and for 10 or more other reasons, I would take Benway. The kid’s game is exploding as we speak. He oozes an “ahh shucks” confidence and ducks any attention. It’s not fake either. With Benway taking snaps, there is a palpable sense that all is well. I certainly hope all of us appreciate what we have seen this kid do. His back up is Jake Vargas. If Benway’s graduation concerns you for the Bulldogs’ future, it shouldn’t. Behind Benway is player #33. Taven deserves a big soft hug from a distance from the Bulldog Nation. This kid has achieved the impossible in his senior season. He lived up to the hype. Taven, I say thank you. He has given us so much. Yes, the Bulldogs very well may be right where they are now even if Taven would have stayed in Florida. Why in the world is this still a topic of discussion for people around here? Anyone see what IMG did this year even after they lost their entire starting backfield from a year ago? Taven came home, HOME to lineup with the same kids he went to kindergarten with and bleed for the blue and white. The other back they had went to South Bend, Indiana to lineup with his Notre Dame teammates as they beg their way into a chase for the National Championship. When IMG ended the 2014 season, Maxpreps listed them the number 17 team in the nation. They finished this season number one in Florida and number nine in the country. However, they don’t get to play for state championships. Taven and his friends, his brothers, his classmates, his boys from back home that he goes all the way back with, his Bulldogs get to play for the title tomorrow at 1 p.m. I promise you this… I will be there to witness it. I feel a rant coming on so I’m going to get back to the title game. Shortly after things settle into winter sports I will finish my full explanation of why Taven Birdow is a legend. That explanation may run into a chaptered novel that won’t even mention football until volume two. He has done everything better than any of us could have asked for and he isn’t even near his peak. The best of Taven is ahead of him. As soon as the season ends late afternoon tomorrow in Yukon, Taven enters his wrestling season as the front runner for the 220 lb. 5A wrestling state title. That entire wrestling team is chomping at the bit ready to go and out of respect for football, they and every AHS, AJH and city league activity is on pause as to not upset the balance. Even keel must be adhered to until football ends. If Taven claims the 5A wrestling title, then he will start the sport that he actually may be the best at. Which is very scary to consider. His durability is super hero quality. Even on downs he doesn’t carry the ball, He gets hammered as the decoy.
Those are two of the offensive starters. They aren’t even the best part of it either. The offensive line coached by Dusty Davis is the reason for we are headed to Yukon tomorrow. Tomorrow they will be undersized against their opponent. However, this will be to the Bulldogs’ advantage. The same technique flaw of Collinsville’s lineman on offense is their same kryptonite on the defensive line. Again, the Bulldogs will look to take advantage of it on every snap. It’s obvious. I agree with Larry Madden’s assertion that Sha’Quan French (3) grew up some in Lawton last week.
Updates coming all day. . .