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OGDEN — Weber State won the turnover margin in its first two football games and was competitive against the nation’s top FCS team. Last week, the Wildcats lost the turnover margin and were beaten on the road by a Sacramento State team looking to find its identity. Weber fumbled the football three times and lost all three. Now, as Weber State prepares to head to Texas to face Southland Conference member Stephen F. Austin, the ‘Cats need to focus first on ways they can improve. Not turning the ball over is a prime example, in the keys for a Weber State road victory.
Cliché, yes. Wrong, no. Again, Sacramento State scored 20 first-quarter points off of Weber turnovers, which decided the game in a 42-31 loss. In the home loss to North Dakota State, a Wildcat turnover gave the Bison an easy scoop-and-score touchdown. Winning the turnover margin on the road indicates a team has extra possessions, and Weber has the offense to turn extra possessions into points. However, the Wildcats’ offense isn’t dominant enough to make up for turnovers.
Stephen F. Austin uses a two-quarterback system to try and change the pace of a game. Two-quarterback systems can confuse both teams, and can make it hard for either team to get into a rhythm. Weber’s defense can help itself by showing different looks to both quarterbacks, and then bringing different blitz packages on similar personnel groups. This will confuse both quarterbacks and allow the Wildcats to establish the tempo they desire.
The Lumberjacks’ blitz game has been effective all season long, averaging over three sacks a game. Sacks create long down-and-distance scenarios, which are hard for road teams to repeatedly beat. One way to beat blitz packages is short pass routes, which force a defense to drop linebackers into pass coverage. However, improved offensive line play will also help the Wildcats run the ball better, after Weber failed to rush for more than 100 yards against the Hornets.
In postgame comments, Weber State coach Jay Hill said the elements have had a negative effect on the Wildcats in their road games at Arizona State and Sacramento State. Stephen F. Austin plays in east Texas, an area renowned for humidity and heat. Hydration and nutrition will be key in getting Weber ready to play.
Weber State’s Shaydon Kehano and Cam Livingston have gotten better each week of the season with Livingston leading the conference in receiving yards. Getting either of these players the ball in space puts pressure on the Lumberjacks, and it makes them decide where they are willing to let Weber succeed offensively. If Weber quarterback Billy Green can establish a pipeline to either receiver early, it will force Stephen F. Austin to rotate additional coverage onto either receiver. This is a good thing, as it will allow other athletes more space to make plays.