The CSU football team has seen a good variety of offensive schemes this season from its opponents.
They’ve faced some more traditional schemes from Colorado and California, spread attacks from schools like Utah, UNLV and Houston as well as a run-and-gun attack from BYU just last week.
But on Saturday, CSU (4-5, 2-3 MWC) will go up against a style of offense they haven’t seen all season – Air Force’s triple option.
Air Force (7-2, 4-1 MWC) brings to the table one of the most balanced rushing attacks in college football, with seven players having more than 225 rushing yards on the season.
Four of those athletes have over 300 yards this year and two have more than 400 yards each.
Rams head coach Steve Fairchild believes that his linebacker corps will be one of the keys to stopping the Air Force run game on Saturday evening.
“They will be very valuable because they’ve got that style of offense to get that ball out past the hash-marks and to the numbers and to the sideline, so speed is important,” Fairchild said.
“But nowadays, just in the way college football is now, you’re going to take speed over size. You got to play in space a lot nowadays.”
One of those linebackers with speed for CSU is freshman Sam linebacker Mychal Sisson.
So far this season Sisson leads the Rams with 64 tackles, six of them in the backfield, as well as a fumble returned for a touchdown just this past Saturday to give the Rams a 6-0 lead over BYU in the first quarter.
Sisson says that the defense will have to play more aggressively this weekend because of how well Air Force can run the football. “Switching to a run-oriented team, basically you gotta fill all your gaps and play more aggressive when you’re playing a team like Air Force,” said the Duncanville, Texas native. Sisson went on to explain that the entire Falcon offense is a threat, but the Rams are capable of shutting them down.
“We see everyone on their offense as a threat, but as long as we shut down each and every one of them, we shouldn’t have a problem defensively.”
While it is unlikely that CSU gets hurt by the Falcon air attack as their starting quarterback, Tim Jerrerson, has only 285 passing yards on the season, the Rams will welcome back one of the most important pieces of their secondary this week, Klint Kubiak.
Fairchild said that this is a great week to have Kubiak back due to his ability to come up on the line to help stop the run. With Kubiak back at free safety, senior Jake Galusha will be able to move back to his natural position as strong safety.
“I like being back at strong safety, I like being up in the box a little more and try to make a few more plays,” Galusha said.
“It’s gonna be tough this weekend because I’m going to go up against a lot of cut blocks, I’m going to be right on the line of scrimmage, hopefully make some plays, force a few turnovers and help us win this game.”
Football beat writer Matt Stephens can be reached at email@example.com.