#35 Cal Poly FCS Football 2013 Preview

Cal Poly Mustangs

Overall Rank: #35
#6 Big Sky

Cal Poly Team Page#35 Cal Poly FCS Football 2013 PreviewBuy Cal Poly Football Tickets

The 2012 campaign is going to be a tough act to follow. Cal Poly came out strong, winning their first seven contests of the season. That included a 24-22 win over Wyoming. The Mustangs stumbled after that, falling at Sacramento State and Eastern Washington. However, Coach Tim Walsh did a superb job rallying his troops and his team won their final two regular season games, including a huge, and thrilling, 42-34 win at Northern Arizona that saw his team make the playoffs. In the playoffs, Cal Poly gave Sam Houston State a great game but came out on the losing end of a defensive 18-16 struggle. In the end, it was a great year for a team moving into a tough conference. The schedule is not as friendly this time though.

2012 Record: (9-3, 7-1)
2012 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Tim Walsh (26-19 at Cal Poly, 143-101 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Saga Tuitele
Defensive Coordinator: Josh Brown

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Kristaan Ivory, RB, 728 yards
Passing: Kristaan Ivory, RB, 61 yards
Receiving: Willie Tucker, WR, 517 yards
Tackles: Nick Dzubnar, LB, 107
Sacks: Sullivan Grosz, DT, 5.0
Interceptions: Alex Hubbard, DB, 2; Jordan Williams, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: DL Andrew Alcaraz, DL Jake Irwin, DL Chris Lawrence, OL Lefi Letuligasenoa,  LB Johnny Millard, LB Cameron Ontko, OL Giovanni Sani, DB Vante Smith-Johnson, RB Cole Stanford, RB Akaninyene Umoh, OL Kyle Zottneck

Key Losses: QB Andre Broadous, OL Geoff Hyde, LB Kennith Jackson, WR Brandon Michalkiewicz, DB Nico Molino, RB Deonte Williams, OL Karl Winkelman

The Cal Poly defense was up to the task of stopping some of the most potent offenses in the country last season. This year should be no different. The front four returns intact. Sullivan Grosz is one of the best defensive tackles in the nation and Chris Lawrence will again be by his side. Ends Jake Irwin and Andrew Alcaraz have not been very productive. Cal Poly ranked 11th in the Big Sky in sacks last season despite Grosz’s best efforts. At least there is depth provided by Chris Judge and Wesley Flowers, so the ends should be able to get more consistent pressure in 2013. Linebacker Kennith Jackson will be missed after four extremely productive seasons in San Luis Obispo. Nick Dzubnar will slide over to the middle after leading the team with 107 tackles as a sophomore. Johnny Millard will move over to Dzubnar’s old spot after ranking third on the team with 72 tackles. Cameron Ontko will likely move into the vacant starting spot. Most teams would have trouble replacing a player like Jackson, but not Cal Poly and not now. The unit as a whole could be even better than they were last year. The secondary boasts even more depth and experience. Alex Hubbard, Dave Douglas, Jordan Williams and Matthew Reza are all experienced safeties and corner Vante Smith-Johnson is ready to emerge as a shutdown corner. The return of Bijon Samoodi and Kevin Britt from injuries will help the depth and experience at corner.

Cal Poly’s triple option offense will always put up big numbers on the ground. But now the Mustangs must replace quarterback Andre Broadous and running back Deonte Williams. Obviously quarterbacks are always important, but they are even more important when running the triple option. Broadous did a great job orchestrating the offense and keeping Cal Poly’s offense a potent one. Heading into the spring there was a five way tie to replace Broadous under center. It has not become much clearer. Junior Vince Moraga is the most experienced option, yet not much of a passer. Sophomore Chris Brown is a great athlete who could be special if he picks up the offense. Tanner Trosin is mostly a stranger to the triple option, but he can run. Dano Graves has some experience running this offense at Air Force. It will likely be a job split by multiple quarterbacks, but the job is there to be won. If the new quarterback has an arm, he will have some talented targets down field. Willie Tucker caught 28 passes for 517 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore. Slotback Cole Stanford was second on the team with 17 receptions for 486 yards. But Stanford will have his hands full helping replace Williams. During his senior season, Williams rushed for 1,506 yards and a dozen touchdowns. Kristaan Ivory is the heir apparent after totaling 728 yards on the ground. Fullback Akaninyene Umoh is also a solid option on the ground. They will put up big numbers, but Williams was a special back and Broadous was no slouch running the ball either.

The Bottom Line:
The schedule this season is pretty tough. The Mustangs will spend back-to-back weeks playing FBS teams early in the season. Winning at Fresno State or Colorado State may be asking a bit much, but of course Cal Poly proved they could do it last year. In conference, they head to Montana, a team not on the slate a year ago. They also host strong Northern Arizona, Sacramento State and Eastern Washington squads. The good news is that three of the four conference road games are very, very winnable. The defense will keep the Mustangs in most games and the offense is developing the explosiveness to bust out a big play. Everything will have to go right for another trip to the playoffs, yet Cal Poly should stay in the conversation for a while.

Projected Postseason: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 324.17 (3rd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 125.17 (115, 13)
Total Offense: 449.33 (13, 2)
Scoring Offense: 36.67 (7, 1)
Rushing Defense: 131.58 (33, 4)
Pass Defense: 243.08 (89, 6)
Total Defense: 374.67 (57, 3)
Scoring Defense: 23.67 (44, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.33 (38, 3)
Sacks: 1.33 (99, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 0.83 (8, 2)


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