Friday, April 24, 2015

UCD knows Cal Poly\’s offense

November 10, 2010 |

Enterprise sports editor


For No. 19/18 Cal Poly, UC Davis\’ next opponent, offensive football is a formula: Quick offensive linemen + a shifty running quarterback + a couple of speedy wingbacks + one big-play receiver = success.


The Mustangs\’ formula has them in position to possibly make the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in 2010, which would be the third time in five years for the program. To do that, Cal Poly (7-3, 1-1 Great West) would probably have to win its final two contests, including Saturday\’s 6 p.m. home contest against the Aggies (4-5, 2-1), The Battle for the Golden Horseshoe.


Last season, UCD won the annual rivalry matchup, 23-10 at Aggie Stadium, to go ahead in the all-time series 17-16-2. For the past decade, the contest has pitted the Aggies\’ high-octane passing attack against the Mustangs\’ triple-option offense.


Rich Ellerson guided Cal Poly from 2001-08 before leaving to become the head coach at Army, and now the Mustangs are led by Tim Walsh, a familiar face to UCD coaches and longtime fans. Walsh, who battled the Aggies when he coached at Sonoma (from 1989-92) and then at Portland State (1993-2006) has kept Ellerson\’s option offense alive at Cal Poly, albeit with a few additions.


“They added a shotgun look so now they have that, along with the zone read with the quarterback and the tailback,” said UCD\’s 18th-year head coach Bob Biggs. “Tim has added a few wrinkles to what Rich did, but it is still the same basic offense, the triple-option. That\’s their bread and butter.”


And the Mustangs\’ bread has been buttered with a rushing attack that averages 255.4 yards per game, good enough for fourth in the country. Last week, Cal Poly rumbled for 379 yards on the ground in a 38-24 victory over South Dakota.


The bulk of that yardage came from Mustang running back Mark Rogers, who picked up 238 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. For the season, Rogers sports a nifty 7.1 yards per carry average and has run for team bests of 780 yards and eight TDs. Rogers is joined in the backfield by two other productive runners, fullbacks Jake Romanelli (408 yds, 6 TDs) and Jordan Yocum (432-4).


“Against the option, you have to play assignment football, everybody has to trust that everybody else is going to do their job,” Biggs said. “You have to take away the fullback dive and force the quarterback to keep the ball.”


Of course in the option attack, the quarterback\’s legs cannot be overlooked and Cal Poly seems to have settled on senior Tony Smith, as its starting signal-caller. Smith has rushed for 441 yards on the season with 2 TDs and, though he passed for just 34 yards last week, he showed that he can put up numbers through the air two weeks ago against St. Francis. In that contest, Smith completed 19-of-24 pass for 231 yards, finding Cal Poly\’s top receiver Dominique Johnson eight times for 115 yards and a touchdown.


Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound transfer from UCLA — where he started nine games in two years — has caught 41 pass for 521 yards on the season, accounting for nearly half of the Mustangs\’ 1,150 total passing yards.


“They keep recruiting guys that are good for their system, so when somebody graduates there is another guy their to step in,” Biggs said. “Because they can\’t get the big huge lineman, they get the quick guys who are really good at (cut blocking). Then they get a quarterback that can run and a couple of quick wing backs and they always seem to get that one big receiver. And they have success because you can\’t duplicate their speed and execution in practice.”


The offense is designed to sustain long drives which allow Cal Poly to control the clock. This season on the average, the Mustangs have held the ball nearly five minutes more than their opponents.


On defense, Biggs expects Cal Poly to keep its safeties back trying to force everything underneath and avoid the big play. It\’s a strategy that South Dakota tried to employ on Oct. 9, but UCD redshirt freshman quarterback Randy Wright burned the Coyotes for 260 yards on 25-of-34 passing in a 17-13 victory.


— Reach Chris Saur at [email protected] or (530) 747-8049. Comment on this story at




  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery



    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12





    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery



    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5