Simpson focusing on UTM before home debut
Stephanie Sturgis - Press Sports Editor
When the Wildcats take the field at Hardy Graham Stadium at 4:30 on Saturday afternoon, it will be their first game of the season, so Simpson and his staff have no new film of the team from Baldwin City, Kan., to scout. Baker, which finished the 2007 season with a 6-5 record, returns eight starters on each side of the football. Among those returning is two-year starter at quarterback Mack Brown, a junior, who will lead the team's multiple set.
"This will be their first game so everything we’re doing is based on last year’s stuff. We don’t know what type of new guys they’ve got transfer-wise that they’ve added to it, so it’s a little bit difficult to prepare for the unknowns," Simpson said. "So, basically, what we have to do is just try to get better, correct the mistakes that we made last week and become a better blocking and tackling football team."
Coming off a 56-7 loss to the South Florida Bulls — currently ranked 17 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll — Simpson is keying in on improving the Skyhawks defense's tackling.
"We had 26 missed tackles. Our scheme was solid. We had guys there to make the plays, but we couldn’t tackle those South Florida backs. We’ve got to be better tacklers than that, especially when due to zone blitzes and pressures we’ve got guys unblocked. I don’t care who we’re playing, if we’re unblocked we’ve got to make those tackles. That was disappointing," the third-year head coach said.
Special teams effort and intensity was also a facet that Simpson expects to improve.