- Stop the Run
Dartmouth gashed our defense last week on the ground and Mercer will be looking to establish the run early on in the contest to open up their offense. The success of stopping the run boils down to generating pressure up front, getting off of blocks and making tackles. Linebackers and defensive backs in particular must shed offensive linemen this week. Defensive ends and outside linebackers need to set the edge to funnel runners inside. Mercer has two great running backs with complementary styles, so missed tackles will be crippling. This isn’t simply a key to victory this week, but an area of defense that has to improve to stay in the hunt for an Ivy League title.
- As Belichick likes to say, “Do your job.”
We don’t need Superman on the field on Saturday, just a group of gritty players looking to compete and perform their duties. Yale is a better team than our .500 record shows. We saw flashes of brilliance against Holy Cross, Cornell and Maine when are players were playing as a collective unit. Let’s keep it simple this week and just execute. This is a great opportunity to improve in all facets of the game to prepare us for the difficult slate ahead.
- Limit the mental mistakes on offense
Holding penalties, dropped balls, passes into double coverage, fumbles, missed blocks and illegal touching last week were mainly the result of mental errors. It’s not as though our offense was overmatched, we consistently shot ourselves in the foot. We moved the ball and controlled the clock, but we couldn’t score when it mattered and on two occasions when we did score, penalties erased the touchdowns. Our defense likely isn’t going to shutout good opposing offenses, so we need our high-powered offense to score early and often. Limiting mental errors is the single biggest factor in finishing the season at 8-2. The best defense is a good offense.