Army (0-0) will roll into Qualcomm Stadium to begin their 2012 season this Saturday by facing San Diego State (0-1, 0-0 MWC) who is coming off a 21-12 loss to Washington.
"We're playing an Army team that is very unusual on defense and they run a very unusual offense," SDSU head coach Rocky Long said. "We have not seen them play this year because they have not played a game. I think that's an advantage to both sides."
The Black Knights come in as the fresher team after having an extra week off by not playing week 1 of the college football regular season.
"They [Army] will have some new things in store for us on both offense and defense that we won't have practiced against or anticipated and will have to adjust on the run," Long said.
While Army hasn't played a game, the Aztecs have already adjusted to the speed of a live game.
"There are some things that happen in every game, substitution problems, communication between the sidelines and the huddle, or however you get that in from the press box to the sidelines, and that usually gets worked out the first week," Long explained.
Last season in West Point (N.Y), SDSU defeated Army 23-20. The Aztecs are entirely a different team while the Black Knights still have their leader and fourth-year starting quarterback Trent Steelman.
"I think they [Army] have a very experienced team," Long said. "The quarterback is the key to any option offense. He knows what he's doing."
"He [Steelman] is as good as there is at the triple offense option, reading it and running it himself. He's a big, strong guy that breaks tackles, gains a lot of yards on his own."
That triple option offense led the nation in rushing (346.50 yards/per game) this past season.
Where as Army's offense only averaged 50 passing yards a game but SDSU will still need to be prepared for the occasional pass.
"We really have to key in, though, because they will run the ball and lull you to sleep and then they will try to do a big play," explained SDSU cornerback Leon McFadden. "So we really have to pay attention to details."
How will the Aztecs defense transition from preparing for a pass happy Washington offense to Army's triple option?
"It's a difficult offense to prepare for within a week, but all we can do is go out there and work hard and try to understand it to the best of our ability," said McFadden.
Head coach Rocky Long sounded less confident than his star defensive player.
"It's impossible," Long said. "…I don't think you can stop it. On a chalkboard you cannot stop a triple option. It's the only offense in the world on the chalkboard you cannot stop."
Recently SDSU has been successful, record wise, against triple options but coach Long hasn't been pleased with their recent defensive performances.
"We haven't slowed them down, we have just kept the score down enough so that we could out score them," Long said. "But we have not slowed them down statistically. If you look at their stats, we have not slowed them down. So our offense better score a lot of points this week and not very many plays."
Army was 10th in the nation last season in time of possession (33:28) due to their triple option attack.
So what's the goal for the SDSU defense on Saturday?
Get off the field and let the Aztecs offense go to work.
Aztecs prepare for the triple option
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