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Weber State football: Cal Poly option causes defensive nightmares

Mustangs one of few teams to run the option at FCS level.

First Published Oct 04 2012 11:51 am • Last Updated Oct 05 2012 12:02 am

Welcome to Jody Sears’ nightmare — with the bad dreams provided by Cal Poly and its hybrid triple-option offense.

The unbeaten and 20th-ranked Mustangs ride into Stewart Stadium at 6 p.m. Friday with one the most potent offenses in FCS football, one that grounds under defenses with an average of more than 300 yards rushing a game.

At a glance

Cal Poly at Weber State

At Stewart Stadium (Ogden)

Kickoff » 6 p.m.

TV » None

Radio » 1280 AM

Records » CPS 4-0, 2-0 Big Sky; WSU 0-5, 0-2

Series history » WSU leads 5-3

Last meeting » WSU 49, Cal Poly 14 (Nov. 21, 2009)

About the Mustangs » Cal Poly leads the Big Sky in scoring defense (18.2) and is third in the league in scoring offense (32.0). … Deonte Williams has rushed for 609 yards and six touchdowns in the four games.

About the Wildcats » WSU has committed 12 turnovers, six fumbles and six interceptions. … WSU has been outscored 110-12 in the first half of its five games this season. … The game is being played Friday because of the LDS Church’s General Conference.

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And they have forced Weber State (0-5, 0-2 Big Sky) and its head coach — who is also defensive coordinator — to reopen dusty files on how to deal with the seldom-used college offense.

"I’ve seen it up close and personal," said Sears, a one-time Army assistant who dealt with the triple option each time he prepared for the Navy or Air Force academies. "We don’t see it very often.

"These guys are a well-oiled machine and they do an extremely good job of executing and manufacturing that offense. It’s pretty cool to watch."

It’s always cool to watch when it is some other team being run over. For example, last Saturday, Cal Poly (4-0, 2-0) trailed 17-14 in the fourth quarter at North Dakota. The Mustangs, who took advantage of turnovers and a fake punt, scored three quick touchdowns for a 35-17 victory.

"You have to contain the bigger plays against it," UND coach Chris Mussman said.

Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh, a pro-style coordinator when hired four years ago, inherited the Mustangs’ traditional offense and left it in place. He has, however, tinkered with the formula.

The Mustangs, who feature the Big Sky’s leading rusher in Deonte Williams, will line up in the traditional wishbone formation. But then the Mustangs will also line up in the shotgun and go spread or option with the pass.

Success in the triple option depends on a quick-thinking quarterback, one who lets the defense determine who will receive the ball.

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Quarterback Andre Broadous makes the Cal Poly offense go to the tune of 32 points a game. It will be a challenging defensive assignment.

"You have to be simple in your approach," Sears said. "You’ve got to be very limited because you are talking assignment football. When you talk assignment football, after the ball is snapped your assignment could change to three or four different things."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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