Mustangs' makeover kicking in

FOOTBALL: First-year Costa Mesa coach believes his team has drive to succeed.

August 29, 2006|By Dave Thorpe

"The whole idea is to send the seniors out with a winning season," first-year Costa Mesa High football coach Jeremy Osso said. "That's the main goal."

The Costa Mesa roster boasts 19 seniors who would like nothing better, especially after coming off a pair of two-win seasons.

But it won't be an easy task for a team with just 13 returning lettermen and 30 new varsity players trying to get used to a new offense and a new coach.


The Mustangs will try to run a power-run, West-Coast style offense out of the I-formation. Osso, 29, helped run a similar offense at Corona del Mar last season as a co-offensive coordinator.

The Mustangs were primarily a double-wing run offense before Jay Johnson took over last season and installed a spread offense.

Former Costa Mesa assistant Bill Lux returns to run the Mustangs' offense. Lux was an assistant under former Mustangs coach Dave Perkins and is a Costa Mesa alum.

Osso switches his focus to the defense, where he'll primarily run a four-three.

No matter the scheme, the Mustangs are hoping to steadily progress throughout the season with a group of guys hungry to experience victory.

Costa Mesa's schedule should be conducive to winning.

Costa Mesa's 10 regular-season opponents had a combined record of 33-68-1 last year.

The Mustangs have not been to the playoffs since 2002 and have not won a playoff game since 1997.

Here's a position-by-position look at how the Mustangs stack up:

Quarterback: Leading the way is 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior Cody Waldron, who has been in the program for four years. Waldron was the backup to Ryan French last year, when he was three of 23 for 19 yards and three interceptions in the spread offense. He also caught 10 passes for 88 yards at receiver.

Osso said Waldron, who also plays baseball and basketball, has done a good job of picking up the new offense.

"He's a good roll-out passer with a strong arm," Osso said. "He's a heck of an athlete."

Backing up Waldron will be junior John Slayer and sophomore Brett Farthing.

Running backs: Shifty senior D.J. Lepper is slated to start at running back after a productive season on the junior varsity team.

"He had to play junior varsity last year because he was a transfer from Estancia," Osso said. "He's dying to get out there."

Lepper has moves and he's not afraid to use them.

"I tell him not to cut too much," Osso said. "Eventually he has to run straight."

Osso is big on senior Asa Hawks.

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