Those are two keywords Carson football coach Blair Roman repeatedly stressed to his defensive unit this week as it prepared to face the Reno Huskies today (7 p.m.) in the Division 1 regional semifinals at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex at Carson High School.
Reno coach Dan Avansino likes to give opposing defenses a multitude of looks, thus forcing opponents to prepare for a lot of different formations and plays.
“He’s like Dr. Frankenstein of high school football,” Roman said Tuesday morning. “It’s a lot of mental work; lots of reps. We have to make sure we’re lined up properly and adjust. He does this all the time. He hasn’t run a lot of that stuff against us, though, but you have to prepare for it.”
Reno will run some veer option, quarterback keepers, they will split out offensive linemen as receivers they will line up nine across with wide splits, and line up two linemen in a full-house backfield look. It certainly makes teams account for a lot, hence making sure you know what receivers are eligible and what receivers aren’t. It’s a lot of information for defenses to remember, and Roman said that’s what Avansino likes to count on... people being unprepared or the element of surprise.
Reno will run its quarterback Jeremy Smith, especially with halfback Cole Eddy allegedly out with a leg injury, quite a bit. The last time the teams played, QB Matt Young had success running against Carson, gaining 79 yards on 23 carries, and completing 17 of 23 passes for 171 yards. No doubt the Reno coaches have been looking at that film closely, and seeing how successful they were with the quarterback running. Roman believes his defensive front is better against the run than it was last year.
“Their quarterback (Smith) is a good player,” Roman said. “He throws a nice ball, mostly intermediate stuff, but again we have to take care of the deep coverage.
“We’ve got to have Brady (Rivera) and Ian (Schulz) hold down the outside, and the group of tackles hold tough up front.”
Carson will have to account for Brock Tsukamoto, the baseball standout, who has 31 catches for 378 yards and thee scores. Smith has thrown for 873 yards.
The defensive tackles need to stack up the Reno offensive line so CHS linebackers Gerardo Lobato, Ikela Lewis and Nolan Shine plus safety Asa Carter can come up and make stops. Roman praised the work of defensive line coach Vic Castro, adding the platoon system and keeping fresh players on the field has been working well.
Carson’s defense has allowed just two scores in its last four games, one of the top marks in the league.
Reno’s defense has been stingy all year, as only Inderkum, Reed and Spanish Springs have scored more than 10 points in a game. Middle linebacker Ian Cartlidge is the No. 5 tackler in the league with 97 stops.
“Teams have moved the ball between the 20s on them at times,” Roman said. “They are stingy in the red zone, and we have to be able to finish drives.”