The Rams are getting ready to travel to Las Vegas, New Mexico to play the Cowboys from New Mexico Highlands University on Saturday.
In last week’s 29-13 loss to Millsaps in the season’s home opener at Farrington Field, the Rams showed improvement in several areas over their season opener, according to head coach Joe Prud’homme.
This week the Rams want to play their hardest, said linebacker coach Michael Rosas.
The Rams plan to beat the Cowboys by:
- Pushing through the second quarter.
The Rams have to fight through the second quarter and stay calm and focused, Rosas said.
“For whatever reason that’s been the bane of our existence right now,” he said. “If we can manage the second quarter and get through it, then I think we’ll have a better opportunity of doing what we need to do this week.”
The team has given up some big plays in the second quarter in both the McPherson and Millsaps games, he said.
“I think it’s just an idea of getting more familiar with everybody out there,” he said. “It’s something about the second quarter where maybe the field position gets flipped and there’s some pressure situations that we’ve had to deal with.”
- Eliminating basic mistakes.
The biggest improvement the Rams can make is perfecting basic plays, he said.
“I mean, the biggest thing is just eliminating mistakes,” he said. “I mean if you look at last week, Millsaps specifically, they came out and ran the same play at us a couple different times. The first time we were right with making that play and making that adjustment, but just being disciplined enough to get out there and do it again.”
- Playing the best personnel for the situation.
“I think personnel is one of the biggest focuses right now, and trying to find out who is going to put us in the best position to win,” said cornerback Jordan Sutherlin.
The team has been trying different people at each position during practice to find out the best combination of guys to play against NMHU, said defensive end Ucheoma Oparaochaekwe.
- Defending against big plays.
The Rams are installing a lot of new plays since last week didn’t give them the outcome they wanted, Sutherlin said.
“We just kept getting beat deep on the same play,” he said. “It wasn’t a bad game overall for us. But it was basically three big plays that messed up the whole game. We’re changing some stuff up so hopefully that doesn’t happen.”
The team allowed a big play during the second quarter against Millsaps that can be fixed by perfecting some basic fundamentals and keeping calm during high pressure plays, Rosas said.
“At the end of the half the punt snap got snapped out of the end zone [by the Rams],” he said. “There was a safety there. And then, on the ensuing kickoff [Millsaps] got decent field position, then in the final minute they were able to get into field goal position and that’s five points that you’d love to get back. [Millsaps] made the most of that opportunity. Maybe its experience, whatever you want to chalk it up to. But I think it’s just trying to be better in those specific situations.”
- Combatting the Cowboys’ offense.
Most of the Cowboys are bigger than most of the Rams. The Cowboys have receivers that are 6 feet 4 inches and 6 feet 5 inches, and most of the Rams’ linebackers are around 6 feet tall.
“They’re really shifty running backs,” Sutherlin said. “That’s going to be a little hard for our linebackers. They’re slow, they’re not that quick, that’s something we hold against them.”
The Rams have been watching film on NMHU to learn their favorite play combinations, he said.
“They run a lot of mesh to kind of try to get us to run into each other,” he said. “Right now, we’re just working on stuff to just let it pass by and basically letting them to come to us instead of running all over the field.”
Offensively NMHU is one of the more vulnerable teams the Rams will face, Oparaochaekwe said.
“They’ve got some big guys but they don’t know how to move,” he said. “I feel like our defense is fast enough to where we can really expose that. But I feel like out of any team we’ve played so far this is the team that we should be the best against.”
The game can be livestreamed through NMHU’s StretchInternet portal that can be accessed through the game schedule at ramsports.net
The game is at 2 p.m. Saturday, in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
Tickets will be for sale at the gate. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and children five and up; there are also family packs.