Heidelberg’s next test:?Capital and the triple option

David Bowie wasn’t singing about Ohio Athletic Conference coaches when he recorded the song “Changes” in 1971.

It probably only feels like it to Heidelberg mentor Mike Hallett and his staff.

For the third-straight week, the No. 10 Student Princes will face a conference foe that features a first-year head coach.

Craig Candeto, a Navy graduate, will bring the 1-3 Crusaders to Mayer Field today for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

Candeto’s Navy background is significant. Not only because it certifies him as a hero, but also because of the type of offense he has the Crusaders running.

“Capital in the past has been pretty much committed to running a spread offense,” Hallett said. “[It had] some prolific passing quarterbacks for a number of years. You go from (former coaches) Jim Collins to Jim Bickel to Henry Stanford, the philosophy on offense stayed pretty similar.”

That is until this year.

“With coach Candeto coming in, they’ve gone to a very radically different style of offense,” Hallett said. “It’s one we don’t see a lot. They run what’s… the Navy triple option.”

As is the usual with a team that runs any style of option, the emphasis is for the defense to be assignment sound.

But in a triple option, Hallett said it goes deeper than that.

“When teams are running mid-line, veer and all stuff, you’ve got to have somebody accounting for the dive, somebody accounting for the quarterback, somebody accounting for the pitch,” Hallett said. “And they all have to handle their responsibilities. If two guys chase the dive, the quarterback is going to kill you.”

It’ll be a challenge for the HU defense, but Hallett said the group will be prepared.

“I think our guys have gotten a great, great week of practice,” he said. “[Defensive coordinator Scott Donaldson and outside linebacker coach Corey Fillipovich] and those guys did a great job; we established two offensive scout team huddles and got as many reps as we could. Scott was telling me this morning, in two days of practice, the defense saw 155 option plays. I think we got as many reps as you can possibly get getting ready for this.”

Capital is likely to have a number of players touch the ball today. Through four games, 14 different players have ran it, four players have passed it, nine have caught it. The player to watch is quarterback Chase Longwell, who averages almost 70 yards a game rushing and 72 passing. He’s accounted for six Capital touchdowns.

While Crusaders have changed their look offensively, their base defense hasn’t changed much. Hallett said Capital still runs a 4-3 scheme with plenty of cover 4.

“They’re playing almost more of a nickel defense, a 4-2, with their outside linebacker outside the box,” Hallett said.