Merced College football moving forward

Blue Devils eager for first win

slynch@mercedsunstar.comSeptember 19, 2013 

Jesse Jimenez and Sione Tongamoa agreed.

"Embarrassing" was the word that best summed up the Merced College football team's defensive showings in the first two weeks of the season.

The pair of sophomore defensive linemen entered the season with high expectations for the team and thought the defense would be the catalyst for success.

It's been anything but as the Blue Devils currently rank last among the 70 junior college football teams in the state, allowing 689 yards and 61 points per game.

They are numbers MC will need to turn around quickly if it's going to salvage this season. Hopefully, a visit from San Jose City (0-2) to Stadium '76 on Saturday will provide the first step toward that.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

"I think it's just a mental thing more than anything else," Jimenez said. "You look at the film, and guys weren't out of position. It was just a lot of missed tackles.

"Some of us are in it and some of us aren't on board yet. If we can get our heads right, I think we can still be good."

MC head coach Bob Casey called it a matter of desire.

Fresno City didn't use clever schemes or trick plays to run up 748 yards and 76 points against the Blue Devils last week. The Rams simply lined up and went right at MC.

"We were in position to make plays, we just didn't do it," Casey said. "They just physically beat us up.

"We can teach guys how to be fundamentally sound. We can show them how not to get hurt and get them in the right position.

"You can't teach them to want to hit somebody. That's what it comes down to. If we don't go into games wanting to tackle someone, we're not going to win a lot of games."

MC has been equally poor against the run and pass, yielding over 335 yards per game in both.

San Jose City doesn't come in with the same offensive firepower (15 points per game) as MC's first two opponents, but the Jaguars still possess playmakers that could give the Blue Devils fits.

Quarterback Brodrick Thomas has accounted for over 200 yards of total offense per game and three scores.

Running back Omari Carr (163 yards) has averaged 5.6 yards a carry and possesses breakaway speed, as does wide receiver Lydell Williams.

"They aren't just going to roll over because they're 0-2 also," Casey said. "If we tackle like we have the first two weeks, they have guys that are going to hurt us.

"I've told the guys you can't change what happened yesterday, all you can control is what you do today."

The players see the game as a must win.

"We have to come ready to play," Tongamoa said. "We're playing at home and we have a lot to prove.

"We've got to let the last two games go and just focus on getting that first win this week."

Sun-Star sports writer Sean Lynch can be reached at 385-2476 or at slynch@mercedsun-star.com.

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