During Thursday night’s season-opening 41-3 win over Azusa Pacific, the UC Davis offense was a well-oiled, efficient machine, rolling up 384 yards on 63 plays.
The offense’s success was — in no small part — catalyzed by first-year offense coordinators Kevin Daft and Tim Plough. Daft and Plough used a variety of play calls to keep the Cougar defense off-balance. The Aggies attacked APU everywhere, deploying running backs Colton Silveria and Marquis Nicolis on all kinds of dives and counters and letting quarterback Randy Wright target his receivers on a variety of routes.
The best example of their play-calling prowess came in the first minute of the second quarter. Running a route down the seam of the defense, UCD tight end Taylor Sloat was open the moment he exploded off the line of scrimmage and caught an uncontested 37-yard touchdown pass from Wright.
Numerous Aggies benefited from similarly wide-open plays all night.
“I thought Tim and Kevin mixed things up,” said UCD head coach Bob Biggs. “We hit them on a reverse early and we got into some empty packages and used some quick screens. I think we had (the Cougars) off-balance and eventually just kind of wore them down.
“Tim is calling the plays, but really it’s a dual head. They’re talking throughout the game. One person is verbalizing (the plays), but it’s like two brains working and one person speaking. They get along so well and they’ve got the respect of the staff and the players. They’re going to be just fine (this season).”
Daft and Plough, both former UCD quarterbacks, took very different routes to their current positions.
Daft joined the Aggie coaching staff this year, after spending 2011 as the wide receivers coach for the United Football League’s Omaha Nighthawks. Prior to that, he spent seven years on the coaching staff at Cal, including three years as the wide receivers coach and one as the quarterbacks coach.
After a record-setting career at UCD, Daft was drafted in the fifth round of the 1999 NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans and was with the team during its run to the Super Bowl. He also spent time on the San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons.
In addition to helping Plough coordinate the offense, Daft also will serve as the Aggies’ wide receivers coach.
Plough, on the other hand, never left UCD. After playing quarterback for the Aggies in 2004-07, he joined the coaching staff. He is in his third year as the quarterbacks coach.
Daft is one of three new coaches on the UCD staff.
Another new mentor, Will Kofe, a former defensive lineman for Arizona State and assistant coach at Pacific, will guide the defensive line. His unit was a force throughout the preseason, and Thursday night it held the Cougars to a 3.4-yard rushing average.
Damaro Wheeler, formerly a graduate assistant at Central Washington, is also in the mix. He will coach the cornerbacks this season and has earned high praise from Biggs.
— Reach Will Bellamy at email@example.com