I know it is early in the season, but really – on paper at least – tonight’s game at Central Florida, truly could be for all the beans in the East division of CUSA. Set aside ECU’s penchant for blowing at least one game a season that we have no business blowing and you can see if the Pirates get by UCF, the schedule screams, “Ticket to the title game.”
But this will be a tall task for our boys. Not because UCF is all that special, but more because our kids don’t seem to have that gumption that past teams had. This is a chance for the roster to prove that premise wrong because everything about this game is, IMO, going to come down to what good ol Ed Emory used to call want power.
Sure, UCF holds the edge in just about every measurable that is kept – see my good friend Greg Vacek’s crunched numbers here at Bonesville – but they, too, are a team whose mental and intestinal fortitude have done them in in the past.
I wish it were a home game, but if you have to go on the road for a big game, UCF is one you would pick where the stadium is seldom full and environ smacks of sterile. This game realy at the end of the day comes down to two teams that are closely matched in talent with two similar psyches playing for what should be the inside track on the title.
If ever we wanted to call on the chip, it is this game. Here is a team that has not paid its dues and has done very little in competition to earn any kind of promotion in the college ranks leap frogging us to a bigger conference (read term bigger loosely here). Hence, they are now some how a bigger fish for us to play – the big favorite in this game. Plus it is on National TV…all are ingredients that past Pirate teams would meld into a massive chip for the world to see. Does this bunch have that? I am not sold that we do…not yet, but tonight would be a great time to unleash it if it is there.
UCF is going to bring a balanced attack that has no fear of our defense as they have played two big name teams already. They are going to bring a defense that got after the QB in every game they have played to date and forces turnovers. This will be a test. But, we have also faced big-time defenses already and will no be seeing anything like USC’s defense here. The question is, are we actually getting better. If yes, I like our chances. But the players have to step it up…play with urgency…play with WANT POWER.
Shane Carden’s watering in is officially over. He must now lead this team in a big fashion if he is to underscore that he is the man. The offensive line has no more mulligans. They have played together too long and have been in the program too long to not stand up and show whether they are the team that lined up against UTEP or the one that lined up against UNC.
The receivers no longer get the touting of talent despite the drops. They are experienced, but until they all catch like Justin Hardy, I am putting a moratorium on praise for their talents.
The defensive front has gotten stronger each game in terms of pressure…but you are only as good as your last effort…go prove that you can do it with the game on the line.
The linebackers…looking good against the run and shabby against the pass. We’ll see if they are capable with it all on the line. Secondary produced 3 INTs last week…was that luck? Gonna need those tonight.
Finally…the coaches. Will this be the game that Ruff and crew show that they have an answer for any contingency?
GAME 6…we are at the midway point. If we are not locked in tonight, will we ever be? I know, every game is the biggest one, but this one, on paper is HUGE. I hope the kids see it that way and are well prepared.
Go Pirates, Go!