October 30, 2006

The team that gets the ball, keeps the ball

Football is a game of possessions, that's a given. The more you have, the more you win.

But with the new time clock changes instituted, more than ever, it makes the game of possessions critical, both coaches in the Big East's premier game alluded to in their comments Monday morning on the league's media teleconference.

"It's shortened the game. To be honest, I don't like it. We're averaging 61 snaps a game, We've always been over 80. That's why it's important to execute well. And that means putting points on the board in first quarter and second quarter," said Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, whose team will host West Virginia Thursday night in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

"It's more critical now that you don't dig a hole. I don't know if we could have come back last year with these same clock rules. I don't want to say you have to take more risks early, but you gotta be conscious of picking your pace up," said Mountaineer coach Rich Rodriguez.

"The high score last year (46-44 Mountaineers) is misleading. It was 24-all at the end of regulation. A high score does not bode well for us. If we're giving points, letting them run up and down in that environment, it's not good. That's why our defense has to make some stops and keep their offense off the field."

"A lot of the points were piled up in three overtimes. It was a ball-control game," Petrino added.

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