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Sea Kings not looking ahead

November 04, 2004

Rick Devereux

Two league losses in a row have not dampened Corona del Mar High

football coach Dick Freeman's outlook on the future for the Sea

Kings.

"If we win the next two weeks, we should be the third-place team

[in the Pacific Coast League]," Freeman said. The top three teams in

the league earn automatic CIF Southern Section Division IX playoff

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berths.

First on the schedule for CdM (4-4, 1-2 in league) is University

(1-6-1, 0-3) at 7 p.m. tonight at Newport Harbor High. The Trojans

are out of the playoff picture, but could become spoilers if they

upset Corona del Mar. University has made preparing difficult for the

Sea Kings by changing things on offense the last couple of games.

"[University] had been running a spread offense," Freeman said.

"The last few games they have been running a some wing-T

[formations]. We're not real sure what they've decided on because

[last Friday] against Laguna Beach, they ran almost exclusively the

wing-T."

The change is not just adjusting to and studying different

formations for the CdM defense. The offensive philosophies are almost

diametrically opposite. A spread offense is designed to create

mismatches on wide receivers and allow the quarterback to pick apart

a defenses secondary. The wing-T uses motion to confuse the defensive

line and linebackers while running the ball.

"We've played against the wing-T before," Freeman said. "If we can

remember what to do then it make things easier. The wing-T is like

defending the option: it's assignment football. The defense has to

know what its assignment is and stay in the gaps its supposed to."

University's Steve Crooks is the top quarterback in the Pacific

Coast League, passing for close to 1,400 yards. There are three

Trojan receivers that have more than 20 receptions each for more than

a combined 1,200 yards.

"Their quarterback throws the ball pretty well and they've got a

lot of guys that can catch the ball," freeman said. "[The spread

offense and the wing-T] are two completely different offenses. We've

got to be able to do all of it: defend the run and defend the pass."

Defensively, the Trojans use four linemen and three linebackers,

but one of the linebackers is close to the line of scrimmage and the

D-line shifts to make it look like a five-man defensive line with two

linebackers. This defense, also called a Bear 46 based on the success

the 1986 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears under Coach Mike Ditka and

defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, tries to confuse the offensive line

and the blocking schemes. It is particularly effective against the

run because there can be up to eight defenders close to the line of

scrimmage if a safety lends support.

"We've faced the Bear 46 before," Freeman said. "We might have to

go to zone blocking. It doesn't confuse you as much as it just

overwhelms you with the number of people that are there. But once you

get past that front line, there isn't anybody there to stop you."

Even though the Trojans have a losing record, Freeman said

University is no pushover.

"Uni always plays us hard," Freeman said. "I have a lot of respect

for Coach [Mark] Cunningham. His players will be ready to play. Our

two schools are actually very close. A lot of the kids have had

contact with each other growing up in other things. Familiarity

breeds a rivalry."

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