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
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."