Nixon-Smiley can admit that last season was a struggle. But with second-year head coach Pablo Ybarra implement a few wrinkles on both sides of the field, the Mustangs hope to start the season with a higher note than 2018.
The Mustangs’ first test is against the Pettus War Eagles, a playoff team that graduated a big group, according to Ybarra.
Offensively, the War Eagles are a spread, mostly running trips and double twins.
“They like to run counters and throw the ball,” Ybarra scouted. “They got a receiver that’s 6-2, 6-3, so we’re going to key in on that so they don’t take advantage of our smaller corners.”
The Mustangs will need to focus on the quarterback as well, who the head coach notes is a good athlete.
Defensively, Pettus runs a split, with an impressive defensive line.
“Their secondary is their weaker point on the defensive side of the ball,” Ybarra said, “but overall, they’re not bad at all.”
The biggest thing for the Mustangs is to limit their mistakes. Turnovers were a problem during scrimmages, so if Nixon-Smiley can sustain drives by not fumbling the ball, the Mustangs have a shot at wearing down the War Eagles.
“[We] just have to keep attacking with some power football,” Ybarra said, “downhill, power football. IF we can get our pitches and option game going, we should be OK.”
Kickoff for the home opener is set for 7:30 p.m.