Over the last seven seasons, Ferrum has found the going tough against the Emory and Henry Wasps. Some games have been close, and others have been blowouts, but all have ended in the loss column for Ferrum. Tomorrow Ferrum will look to stop a trend that has gone on for way too long. In some circles, I think people have come to accept this as a foregone conclusion, that Emory and Henry will prevail against the Panthers, and I am guessing that they believe it will not be close.
To say Ferrum struggled last year is an understatement. Ending with a 2-8 record, Ferrum allowed 39.4 ppg, while only scoring 22.3 ppg.
While there are many statistics I can point to that would show the ineffectiveness of last season, in my opinion, it is in the past. The 2014 Panthers need to focus on this season. A new start that will, likely bring renewed optimism to players, coaches and fans. Ferrum has to approach this season, one game at a time, one possession at a time, one play at a time. For tomorrow, here is what I see as "musts" for Ferrum to win:
1. OL, and DL must dominate. Every play.
2. They have to win the turnover battle. More takeaways than giveaways.
3. Penalties must be anywhere from minimal to non existent. You cannot give this, or any team anything.
4. Tim Reynolds needs to take charge of the offense as he has shown he can, and be prepared to run the show. Let the running game set up the passing game.
5. Overall, the defense has to improve, and will ultimately be the foundation of any hope of winning.
6. There needs to be immediate improvement in kickoff and punt returns. Ferrum did not score on a single punt of kickoff return last year.
7. BFS- Ferrum needs to be bigger, faster and stronger than their opponent. Coaches should not be hesitant to play freshmen if it will accomplish this.
8. Ferrum has to be the initiator. They have to make the Wasps react to their actions. Aggressive where appropriate, keep them on their heels.
9. Listen to your coaches
10. Believe, and do not stop trying....Ever.
Ferrum can win this game, and I think they will. Go Panthers!