San Diego State football head coach Rocky Long knows playing the University of Washington, followed by Army, will be tough. Actually more than tough.
“It’s impossible,” Long said. “I don’t think you can stop it. On a chalkboard, you cannot stop a triple option. It’s the only offense in the world on the chalkboard you cannot stop.”
The Huskies and Black Knights offer extremely differing offensive and defensive formations from each other. Army runs a triple option offense and a very unorthodox defense. It is an offense the Aztecs see only two or three times a year at the most.
“If you look at our recent games against triple option teams, we haven’t slowed them down,” Long said. “We have just kept the score down enough so that we could outscore them. If you look at their stats, we have not slowed them down. So our offense better score a lot of points this week and not very many plays.”
SDSU’s secondary preparations
Last season against SDSU, Army quarterback Trent Steelman attempted four passes, connecting on two for 43 yards. Conversely, he rushed 21 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns.
What the secondary will need to do against Army is something it struggled with against Washington: tackling.
“We just have to be prepared to make a lot of tackles going into this game and that’s basically it,” senior defensive back Leon McFadden said. “We really have to key in, though, because they will run the ball and lull you to sleep and then they will try to do a big play. So we really have to pay attention to details.”
Offensive improving, but still a concern
Senior center Alec Johnson was one of two starters returning to the offensive line this season. Long and Johnson knew there would be growing pains, which were apparent during the Washington game.
“We were all right,” Johnson said. “We were shaky at times. (There was) way too much pressure and four sacks is not acceptable. But there were times where our protection was pretty good and that’s something to build on and something to learn from in the film and work on for next week.”Johnson knows the offensive line, which features three new starters, will need to step up to give the Aztecs a chance to keeppossession of the ball.
“We were decent at running the ball last year,” Johnson said. “We landed a couple passes early last year that got us a lead. But we really stalled offensively. We have to get the run game going to this week.”
Aztes have success against the service academies
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, SDSU is 4-0 against the service academies, including two regular-season wins against Air Force, last season’s victory against Navy.
Long is not convinced the Aztecs dominate the service academies.
“Last year, if you remember the game, they were running up and down the field, and if they don’t fumble a bunch, we are in deeptrouble,” Long said. Army turned the ball over three times, leading to a close win for the Aztecs.
News and notes
•This is the second time SDSU and Army are meeting in football. The Aztecs won last season’s meeting, 23-20.
•The Black Knights are playing on the West Coast for the first time since playing at Washington on Sept. 23, 1995.
•Army’s last win in California wasa 17-13 victory against Stanford in Palo Alto on Sept. 22, 1979. •The Black Knights outgained the Aztecs 446 yards to 292 in last season’s matchup.
•As a high school senior, Long was recruited to play basketball at Army by head basketball coach Bob Knight. Long instead chose to play football at the University of New Mexico.