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April 27, 2012

Cal Poly Spring Football Game Scheduled for Saturday in Spanos Stadium

TIM WALSH: MAN FIRST, FOOTBALL COACH SECOND (blog)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly's annual Green and Gold Game highlighting the 2012 Spring Football Camp will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

Admission to the Spring Game, presented by Meathead Movers, is free, but fans are asked to bring a monetary donation or non-perishable food item donation which will go to the local food bank.

Alumni Spring Day on Saturday begins with Kids Zone and Tailgating at 11 a.m., followed by the game at 1 o'clock and the Home Team barbecue immediately following the game on the Richard O'Neill Green.

Cal Poly's coaching staff has already watched a pair of Saturday scrimmages, hoping to get answers to several questions, such as finding replacements for nine of 13 departed players on the defensive line and who will replace Mark Rodgers at slot back and Asa Jackson at cornerback.

The offensive line also was hit hard by graduation as Scott Winnewisser, Art Munoz and Maurice McClure completed their eligibility last fall. Redshirt freshmen Kyle Zottneck and Stephen Sippel have impressed the coaching staff and several other linemen who weren't starters in 2011 nevertheless gained a lot of playing time, such as Giovanni Sani and Karl Winkelman.

Identifying the players who will provide depth at the linebacker positions as well as who will handle kicking duties also have been top priorities in Spring Camp.

With the 90-plus-play scrimmage Saturday, Walsh is hoping to answer other questions such as where younger players land on the depth chart and what the identity and personality of the 2012 Cal Poly football team will be.

"Most importantly will be to see exactly where the younger players will fit in," said Walsh. "They will get a chance to make their mark with 35 to 45 plays for each one.

"We also need to establish an identity and a personality that this team will have when we compete for a Big Sky Conference championship in the fall," Walsh added.

Ninety players have participated in spring drills.

Quarterback Andre Broadous returns for his final season with the Mustangs. The group of slot backs is led by senior Deonte Williams and junior Cole Stanford while a talented receiving corps is paced by sophomores Lance Castaneda and Willie Tucker, seniors Brandon Michalkiewicz, Ryan Taylor and Josh Swaney and redshirt freshmen Jordan Hines and Roland Jackson Jr.

Impressing new defensive coordinator Josh Brown on the line have been Nick Leyden, Omar Omilabu, Jake Irwin and Andrew Alcaraz on the ends and Chris Lawrence, Barrett Wangara and Sullivan Grosz at the tackle positions.

Starting linebackers Johnny Millard, Kennith Jackson and Nick Dzubnar have been challenged in Spring Camp by Xavier Ramos, Tu'uta Inoke, Chris Judge and Xavier Ramos.

Senior Bijon Samoodi is the lone returning starter in the defensive secondary and has missed most spring drills due to injury.

Alex Hubbard, a transfer from College of San Mateo, has impressed the coaching staff in the defensive backfield along with redshirt freshman Chris Fletcher. Other leading candidates include returnees Nico Molino, Vante Smith-Johnson, Justin Webber, Jordan Williams, Dave Douglas, Matthew Reza, Trevor Weis and Kevin Britt.

With the transfer of James Langford to Cal during the offseason, punter Paul Hundley and walk-on redshirt freshmen Stephen Pyle and Marco Tavecchio have been competing for kicking jobs.

The scrimmage, expected to last about 90 minutes, features the offense, dressed in green, against the white-clad defense with a point system devised for the game.

On offense, one point will be awarded for a first down and two points for plays 25 yards and longer in addition to the usual scoring -- three points for a field goal, six for a touchdown and one for an extra point.

The defense can earn points for holding the offense to no points on a drive (one), for a four-and-out drive (three), a turnover (six) and for an interception return or fumble return for a touchdown (12 or 13 points, depending on the extra-point try).

The Spring Game won't be the final practice session of the 2012 Spring Camp. Due to earlier rainouts, one final day of practice has been scheduled for Monday morning.

For more information on the Kids Zone and Tailgating, call (805) 441-5157. For information on the Home Team, call Athletic Advancement at (805) 756-0277 or visit www.gopoly.com (click here). A flyer for the 2012 Spring Game and barbecue dinner can be found by clicking here.