Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cal Poly Mustangs 2010 Review

2010 Record: 7-4 (2-2), 3rd Great West
2010 Postseason: None
2010 Schedule/Results: Humboldt State, W 23-17; Montana, W 35-33; @ Texas State, L 21-12; @ McNeese State, W 40-14; @ Fresno State, L 38-17; @ Old Dominion, L 50-37; @ Southern Utah, L 20-7; North Dakota, W 22-21; St. Francis (PA), W 41-33; @ South Dakota, W 38-24; UC-Davis, L 22-21


     The motto for the Mustangs in 2010 should be "inconsistency kills". The Mustangs never did develop a stable identity as a football team in 2010, and therefore, even though they had the best overall record in the Great West at 7-4, their 4 game split in league play left them out in the cold. They lost those 2 games in conference play (to Southern Utah and UC-Davis) by a total of 14 points, and had they managed to find those points, they would have been playoff bound with a 9-2 record. Find wall, bang head against it.
     The spread option offense struggled last fall, and the Mustangs ended up utilizing 3 different QBs, as not one was able to put together an 11 game season. Tony Smith was the stat leader, as he played in 6 games, and passed for 572 yards, but only 2 TDs against 4 picks. He rushed for only 130 yards and 3 scores. Andre Broadous was next, but he was marginally better at best, having passed for 510 yards. He was better in the fact that he never threw a pick against his 4 TDs, and he was able to complete 64.1% of his passes. With Smith out of the way due to graduation, it's interesting to see what Broadous can do over a full 11 game campaign. Doug Shumway played in 3 games, but is merely a backup, and is likely to be the #2 behind Broadous next fall. Broadous rushed for 248 yards and 3 scores.
     Mark Rodgers and Jake Romanelli are the two threats in the run game, but both need to amp up their yardage to match their scoring abilities. Both rushed for 8 scores on the season. Rodgers was by far the rushing leader, as he piled up 839 yards on the season, while Romanelli rushed for 458. Jordan Yocum was 2nd on the team in yardage, as he rushed for 497 yards. Yocum is the lone member of this group not returning in 2011, giving the Mustangs a very experienced 2 headed backfield for next fall.
      Dominique Johnson was the premier targte for the passing game in 2010. Johnson, a junior, rolled up a line of 47-634-4. The UCLA transfer had two 100+ yard games in 2010, against Southern Utah, and against Old Dominion. With him returning as the primary go to guy in 2010, Cal Poly may have the most complete skill set on offense in the league next season. Rodgers was the only other receiver to grab 20 receptions, with all of them coming out of the backfield.
     The Mustangs only had three defenders that managed 50 or more tackles in 2010. LB Marty Mohamed, a senior, was the leader with 87. Sophomore Kenny Jackson looks to be the new leader on defense replacing Mohamed, as the young LB was 2nd on the team with 68. He'll need to amp up that number to become the new go to guy. CB Bijon Samoodi was 3rd on the team with 58 tackles. He returns as a junior next fall.
     When it came to applying pressure up front, the Mustangs had 3 major sources of power. In doing so, Cal Poly only allowed 107.4 yards rushing per game, a very decent number. Jackson was very strong against the run up front, as he collected 15 TFLs on the season, which is something for the young LB to build on as he enters his junior season. Gavin Cooper, a junior LB, was right there with him, as he collected 13 on the season. Lineman James Chen came close to joining them at 9, but he will be moving on now. Cooper led the team with 8 sacks as well, but the Mustangs were lacking from any other defender in this category, and teams were able to amp up their passing attacks on the Mustang secondary as a result to a tune of 253 yards per game.
     Asa Jackson, Nico Molino, and Samoodi were all busy making plays in the secondary. Jackson led the team with 9 passes defended, Molino had 8, while Samoodi had 5. All three of them return for next season, and they all have work to do to improve the pass defense that got shredded last fall. Mohamed led the team with only 3 picks, a number that needs major improvement.
     PK Jake West is now moving on, but that may be for the best. West only connected on 8 of his 15 FGs last season, leaving the Mustangs high and dry more times than not. James Langford, a freshman last season, is the likely replacement. Chris Pinto, also a senior, was horrible as the punter, averging just 36 yards per punt. The replacement for him is not readily known at this time, as there promises to be a major competition for that spot.


Even with some of the holes and the inconsistencies, Cal Poly seems to be in line to take the final Great West title in 2011, but it's almost by default. Every team has issues, but the Mustangs seem to have fewer questions on offense than anyone else so far. If the offense can carry the day in 2011, the Mustangs will have a shot to return to the postseason.

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