Enterprise staff writer
During the middle of the 2009 season, the UC Davis football team added a wrinkle to its offense when it put in the Gator, a version of the Wildcat formation.
Converted defensive back Nick Aprile Ñ who was moved to tailback before the year Ñ was the player tabbed to run the Gator. Aprile would line up about five yards behind the line of
scrimmage, take a direct snap and Ñ until Saturday Ñ nearly always run through whichever hole he could find.
But the Aggie coaching staff thought that was getting a little bit predictable so they decided to add a new twist to the Gator. UCD had always put a man in motion but against South Alabama, Aprile actually handed the ball off for the first time.
The AggiesÕ first touchdown, from Corbin Cutshaw, came out of the new formation Ñ which theyÕre calling the Dolphin, after the NFLÕs Miami Dolphins Ñ and later, wide receiver Stephen Dunstan went for 19 yards on his first carry of the year.
ÒI thought the offensive staff did a good job of adding some wrinkles to (the Gator),Ó UCD
head coach Bob Biggs said. ÒIt just keeps people honest. I think after a while, people are starting
to jam up the Wildcat because weÕve just been running the ball with Nick. This will open things up.Ó
UCD continues to struggle to run the ball with any sort of consistency and the new Dolphin
formation is another effort to kickstart the ground game.
The first impression was certainly a positive one.
ÒOne thing we concentrated on a lot during the bye week was trying to run the ball effectively,Ó Aprile said. ÒItÕs something that weÕre going to need throughout the rest of the season just to have a way to run the ball to keep balance.Ó
While the base formation is similar, the biggest difference is that in the Dolphin, Aggie quarterback Randy Wright stays in the game and lines up as a wide receiver. Biggs said that was done to keep the defense off balance.
Ò(In) the Dolphin, we keep the quarterback in the game so itÕs difficult for them to know that itÕs coming at them,Ó Biggs said. ÒItÕs just a different wrinkle.Ó
KelleyÕs slump: Sean Kelley will go down as one of the best kickers in the history of the UCD program.
But even the greats go through slumps and the last two games certainly qualify for Kelley.
The junior entered the South Dakota game having made all seven of his field goal attempts on the season and, after booting a 28-yarder against the Coyotes, converting 16 straight dating back to 2009.
But Kelley missed from 45 yards out later against South Dakota to snap his streak, then
was unsuccessful from 41 and 34 yards against South Alabama. The latter came as time ran out and would have sent the game into overtime.
Time of possession: While South Alabama held the ball for more time than the Aggies did, it was by the slimmest margin possible. The Jaguars offense was on the field for 30 minutes and 1 second, while UCD had the ball for 29:59.
Ñ Reach Conor Tekautz at ctekautz@davis
enterprise.net or (530) 747-8049. Comment on this story or check out The Enterprise sports
blog at www.davisenterprise.com. To view photo galleries and purchase prints of UCD football