The U.N.I. football team will face a tricky offensive opponent this week in the second round of the FCS playoffs against Wofford. The Terriers run a triple option offense that head coach Mark Farley says is very quick, and very tough to defend.
He says they’ve watched the video on it and there is only so much you can do about it, and it’s hard to line up and simulate it. Farley says that Wofford is definitely a run-first team, which does open some things up on rare occasion that the Terriers put the ball in the air.
He says they are only throwing the ball an average of 10 times a game, and when they do, he says they are successful because you jump on the run.
The Panther coach expects a quick game with all the running Wolford does. Farley notes that Wofford is a well rounded team on both sides of the ball. He says they are disciplined and do not do things on defense or offense that allows you to beat them.
U.N.I. has only seen the triple option a few times, including a playoff game against Georgia Southern during Farley’s playing days in the mid-1980’s. He remembers being a linebacker and says he remembers getting a lot of tackles in the game, but the guy he tackled never had the ball. Farley says that’s the hard part of the option attack.
The Panthers were ranked second in the final Sports Network FCS Poll after a 9-2 regular season and a share of the Missouri Valley Football title. Out of the Southern Conference, Wofford finished 8-3 and is ranked 11th. After reaching the quarterfinal round of the playoffs last year coach Mike Ayers says his tough had a tough opener.
Ayers calls U.N.I. a big physical team and he says one thing that will be different is playing indoors, as he says they are not used to being in that type of environment. Both teams had a week off after drawing first round byes.
Ayers says they were helped by the bye in getting people healthy who would not have been able to play if they were playing last week.
Ayers calls U.N.I. a complete football team that’s “sound as a dollar” in all three phases of the game.
Ayers says their top ranked rushing attack faces a tough challenge against the U.N.I. defense which he says is impressive with their speed and defensive front.
The Panthers and the Terriers kick it off at four o’clock Saturday in the UNI-Dome.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls