November 19, 2008

Inside look at Cal-Poly: Defense

MADISON, Wis. - In 2007, Appalachian State, a D-1AA powerhouse, went to Michigan and pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college football history. Knowing that was a completely different scenario, in a different year, one still cannot help but think of that when Wisconsin welcomes in No. 3 ranked 1-AA Cal-Poly this weekend.

In order for a repeat upset, the Mustangs will have to be especially sound defensively and force the Badgers offense off the field. It will be up to Cal-Poly's five returning defensive starters to lead its team in that direction.


The following is a breakdown of the Mustangs key defensive players:

Defensive line:

As arguably the best defensive lineman on the team, defensive end Sean Lawyer is third on the team with eight tackles-for-loss at this point in the season to compliment his eight sacks. Against Wyoming earlier in the year, Lawyer logged 11 tackles and 2.5 sacks during the game.

He is joined on the defensive line with sophomores Gavin Cooper and James Chen. Overall, the Mustangs defensive line has an average weight of just over 250 lbs. It will be interesting to see how it will stand up against UW's massive offensive line.

Linebackers:

Senior Marty Mohamed has made the transition from middle linebacker last season to outside linebacker this fall. On the year, he is fourth on the team with 35 tackles.

Joining him in the linebacking unit is Fred Hives II, whose 75 tackles pace the Mustang defense. Standing only 5-foot-10, 200-lbs., Hives does not possess the prototypical size as outside linebacker. Still, his stocky frame does some damage at the position.

Rounding out the unit, is Carlton Gillespie. His 10 tackles-for-loss are best on the team. He also has seven sacks and two pass break-ups.

Secondary:

Three upperclassmen anchor what is arguably the Mustangs best part of its defense. Junior David Fullerton leads the unit with four interceptions, including one that went back for a touchdown. Xavier Gardner, a fellow junior, has 25 total tackles and an interception at the corner position that benefited the Mustang defense.

Scotty Cordier holds down the free safety position and has recorded 21 tackles. Greg Francis and Asa Jackson have two interceptions of their own, too.

Recently, the UW offense has incorporated the wide receivers more so than earlier in the season. Last week against Minnesota, Isaac Anderson had the first Badger 100-yard receiving day since Paul Hubbard had one last season.

Two games ago, David Gilreath torched Indiana's defense with his instinctive vision and breakaway speed. If the Mustangs have any hope of upending the Badgers, its secondary will have to play one of its better games.



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