"Any time you switch gears and practice against a triple-option team, it's different," Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter said." We've got different calls, the fits have to be precise."
To contain the triple-option, the defense must stay assignment sound. At outside linebacker, Donavon Lewis provides experience and a strong ability to read and react to the option.
"You've got to fit, if one person doesn't fit right it could burn the whole play, they could go for 50," Lewis said. "As long as we fit right, there shouldn't be any problem with us."
The Bulldogs faced a similar offense to Cal Poly's triple-option against Air Force last season. DeRuyter explained what similarities he expects to see.
"At times they're doing very similar things as Air Force does," DeRuyter said. "There's a few plays that are indigenous just to triple-option teams that they run. Air Force creased us on a couple of them. Those are plays we anticipate we'll see from Cal Poly to see if we've straightened out those fits. We're doing a much better job of that. There is some carryover. We can show them some tape from last year."
The Bulldogs have five new starters on defense this season, but of the five, only Curtis Riley did not play against Air Force as he joined the team this fall.
"It's a lot of the same stuff," Lewis said. "A lot of guys that we have on defense right now played against [Air Force] so they know what to expect. It's just a matter of the younger guys understanding it, understanding their fits and their responsibilities."
"A lot of guys are starting to understand and adjust to it," Lewis added. "I'm glad we're playing this team early than later."
Cal Poly replaces their quarterback and running back from last year's team that ran the ball 753 times out of 906 total plays. The Mustangs lose a 1,547 yard rusher in Deonte Williams, but return Kristaan Ivory who had 728 yards and 8 touchdowns last season as a sophomore. Ivory becomes the team's feature back and opened the season with 191 yards and 3 touchdowns on 14 carries versus San Diego.
"This game will be faster, just because they are a running team. We know they're going to run the ball. They're going to run option probably 70% of the time."
The Mustangs showed they have a viable passing game as well in last week's game versus San Diego. Quarterback Vince Moraga completed 15 of 21 passes for 221 yards in his first start, which has given the Bulldogs even more to prepare for this week.
"They weren't as much triple this last game. They threw the ball for over 200 yards. We've got to split our time a little bit, part of the time against conventional offense and part of the time for triple option."