Sam Severo makes no excuses.
Two weeks ago he watched as Merced College (0-5) was embarrassed 66-20 at home by Feather River.
It wasn't exactly the most potent offense Severo had come across in his time as the Blue Devils' defensive coordinator.
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A 19-6 haltime deficit quickly ballooned into a rout as Severo's defense was carved up by the Feather River triple option.
MC surrendered 406 rushing yards, the bulk of which came in the team's second-half collapse.
The performance came on the heels of giving up just 476 and 420 total yards to more talented San Joaquin Delta and Reedley teams.
Severo puts the blame for the non-performance squarely on the shoulders of himself and his players.
"There really isn't one thing you can put a finger on as to what went wrong," Severo said. "I think it was a combination of myself and the players not being at our best on that day.
"I don't really know what happened in the second half, but we completely fell apart."
The following week was used to put the pieces back together.
Instead of using two full weeks to prepare for today's Golden Gate Conference opener at Chabot College, Severo said the Blue Devils' bye week was used as a time to get back to basics.
"We didn't even look at film on Chabot once," Severo said. "We used the time to work on some of the things we'd been slacking on.
"We focused on tackling and positioning.
"I think it was a good week."
MC will need to be much more sound with its tackling this afternoon as it tries to slow down a different form of option offense.
Chabot (2-3) runs a shotgun-spread option, similar to what the Blue Devils have already seen from Reedley and Delta.
It's an offense that has caused MC some headaches in the past.
"We've already seen it twice, so we should have an idea of how to stop it," MC coach Tony Lewis said. "But if we have trouble picking up the quarterback -- like we did against Feather River -- it could give us trouble."
The other problem Chabot presents is a large number of players touching the ball.
The Gladiators have three quarterbacks who have thrown for over 200 yards this season, and five players with at least 25 rushes.
Lewis said all that versatility allows Chabot to present a number of offensive looks.
Severo believes his defense is up to the task.
"Their pride was hurt last game," Severo said. "We have to work on getting that back.
"I don't think you can just bounce back from 66 points, but I do think they have something to prove right now.
"We're at our best when we're arrogant and cocky, and that's what we're hoping to see."