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Counter Intelligence: Toledo!

ToledoRocketsLogoLargeFrom time to time, OTP likes to touch base with bloggers who know our opponents best. Today’s guests are the gents at Let’s Go Rockets, your one stop shop for anything Toledo related, at least from the perspective of the blogosphere. LGR is a voting member in the CBS Sports Blogpoll and also a participant in the MAC Rountable.

We exchanged questions and answers with them about this weekend’s contest between the Rockets and the Cardinals…. and this is their responses to our questions of them. You can check out our answers to their questions at the above link. Let’s get it on…

OverThePylon:The Rockets have the 9th best passing offense in the country. That’s impressive. Is that more about the skill of Toledo or the lack of skill of the defenses they’ve been bending over?

LetsGoRockets:Both, maybe. Our skill is in exploiting the mismatches in the secondary with Eric Page and Stephen Williams, a tough combo to cover by any secondary. Also, Toledo is on track to have another 1,000 yard rusher in Collins. By implementing both the running and passing game, it helps keep the defense guessing and opens the field.

OverThePylon:Toledo seems to have been heavily penalized this season, clocking in at 93rd in the country at nearly 68 yards a game. That seems like a metric shit-ton. 12 against Colorado, 10 against FIU… that has to worry you. What is the reason for this? Can a team like BSU exploit it?

LGR:Through 4 games this season, Toledo has had 33 penalties for 272 yards, or 68 yards a game. Toledo opponents have had 25 penalties for 239 yards, or 59.75 yards a game. The Colorado game had a total of 21 penalties called, 12 against Toledo, 9 against Colorado. I remember one official saying during the game “well…. umm…. see….” and then turning the mic off and not explaining it. Fans on both sides of the ball were cracking jokes all game about the poor officiating. The total number of penalties has to drop, sure, but it’s not much of a concern at this point.

OverThePylon: You guys hire Tim Beckman, who’s background is coaching the secondary at OSU, and the offense suddenly explodes. What the hell? Who is responsible for this sort of offense-gasm in Toledo? Is this just a gimmick that is easily stoppable once people figure out what the hell is going on?

LGR:Matt Campbell, the Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach has 5 national championships as a player and coach for Mount Union. He has had great success teaching the offensive lineman. Scott Satterfield, the Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach has coached for three national championship teams and has coached a Walter Payton Award winner at Appalachian State. In those three championship seasons, the Mountaineers went 39-6, including a 34-32 win over then-No. 5 Michigan in 2007, considered by some observers to be the biggest upset in college football history. Satterfield has really mastered the spread offense.

I don’t think the spread offense is easily stoppable, unless you have superior athletes on defense like Ohio State. Toledo runs a hurry up offense, allowing for minimal substitutions that really wears a defense down.

OverThePylon: Everyone knows (or should know) about Aaron Opelt. Who else should BSU fans be concerned about?

LGR:Eric Page is a freshman wide receiver from a local high school. He is listed at 5’10, 165 lbs, but don’t let those stats fool you. Page is 8th in the country in receiving yards with 433, good for 16.7 yards a catch and 4 TD’s. He has break away speed and has already shown he can put the moves on defenders when needed. Stephen Williams has been plagued by injuries the first part of the season, but if he can remain healthy, he will be the go to guy for the toss up in the end zone. Standing at 6’5 he is a clear mismatch for most cornerbacks. Barry Church is a 3 time (will be 4 time) first team all-MAC player. He punishes opposing QB’s not looking for the blitz and has been known to get a few interceptions along the way. Church is 2nd on the team in tackles and is a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back and Bronco Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player.

OverThePylon: I’m sure you’ll predict a Toledo win. To be expected. So in the prognosticatin’ department, how about we predict something else… like how many BSU fans are going to pack the Scheu. We’re 0-4, but it’s Homecoming weekend. 22,500 is the ceiling… how many fans show up to watch BSU win their first game?

LGR: This is a tricky one because you setup one question and then asked another. How many fans will fill the stadium for Saturday’s game against Toledo? We’d love to see a ravenous homecoming crowd of 22,500. But, you ask how many fans show up to watch BSU win their first game. The first game they CAN win will be next week at Temple. How many fans show up for the first win at the Scheu? That won’t be until the end of the month against Ohio on the 31st. Halloween. Scary.

Big thanks to Let’s Go Rockets for doing this, and here’s hoping that come Saturday evening they have the arduous task about posting a recap on a game they feel they should have won… it’s only happened to us 3 times this season.


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