It's almost a perfect storm for defensive fatigue, and one Utah State is very much aware of when it faces nationally ranked Louisiana Tech Saturday for what amounts to the Western Athletic Conference title matchup.
Louisiana Tech's offensive narrative this season has been simple and deadly at the same time. The Bulldogs are one of the best teams in the country at tiring out opposing defenses. They run at a breakneck pace. They don't allow for substitutions.
Nobody has been successful at making Louisiana Tech deviate from what it's wanted to do. Not Illinois. Not Texas A&M. Nobody.
"It's hard to deal with and hard to defend," USU coach Gary Andersen said Monday. "We have to try to slow the game down, but that's going to be difficult as well. Our offense isn't nearly as fast, but we aren't a slow-it-down type of team. So they will be who they are and we will have to be who we are."
Defensively, the Aggies will work this week on running subs in and out of the game. Keeping fresh against the Bulldogs will arguably be the prevailing challenge. One strategy will be to keep drives going when quarterback Chuckie Keeton and company are on the field to achieve offensive efficiency.
Utah State's offense will almost serve as its defense in that sense. If the Aggies have a lot of quick offensive series that don't end in points, they will most likely have a tough time winning. If USU can control the ball and score points, it has a chance for a positive result Saturday afternoon.
"We know that we have to be good when we have the ball, especially in this game," Keeton said. "The defense has a huge challenge in front of them with La. Tech, and we have to help them out as much as we can."