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FOOTBALL '93 : The Colleges: Cal Lutheran : Cal Lutheran Needs Stoppers to Make a Go at SCIAC Title : Hacker Returns, but CLU Must Fill Defensive Holes

September 02, 1993|JOHN ORTEGA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

As Cal Lutheran prepares for its second season in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the Kingsmen appear to have the necessary firepower on offense to contend for the conference title, but questions remain about the defense.

Cal Lutheran, 3-6, 2-4 in SCIAC play last year and 10-19 in three seasons under Coach Joe Harper, averaged nearly 400 yards and 27 points a game last season, but the Kingsmen's defense ranked sixth (407.7) in the seven-team conference.

"If our offense can approach what it accomplished last year, we should be in pretty good shape there," Harper said. "But there are some holes to fill on defense."

In particular, the Kingsmen need a "solid and consistent player" at safety and someone to replace All-SCIAC selection Ben McEnroe at defensive end.

"Defensive end is a very critical position for us," Harper said. "We need someone to step in there."

Seniors John Wilson (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) and Cory Undlin (6-2, 200), and sophomores Chris Peltonen (6-2, 210) and Tyler Blackmore (5-11, 230) are the leading returning starters on defense.

Wilson (41 tackles, two interceptions, six pass deflections) was an All-SCIAC second-team cornerback last season, and Undlin (72 tackles, two interceptions, four deflections) alternated between safety and outside linebacker.

Peltonen, an inside linebacker, had 47 tackles and two sacks as a freshman, and Blackmore, a nose guard, led the defensive front with 52 tackles.

Lance Martin (6-0, 217), a junior transfer from Northern Arizona, should give the Kingsmen added depth at inside linebacker.

On offense, senior Adam Hacker will direct Cal Lutheran's attack for the third consecutive season.

Hacker (6-3, 230) completed 170 of 274 passes for 2,096 yards and 12 touchdowns with nine interceptions last season after throwing for 1,084 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore.

He was an All-SCIAC second-team selection, ranking second in the conference in passing yardage (232.9 per game average) and passing efficiency (134.2).

"He has a real strong arm," Harper said. "He's not real mobile, he's pretty much a drop-back passer, but he can sit back there and gun it. He can really zip the ball when he wants to."

Hacker's favorite receivers last year, wide receiver Len Bradley (49 receptions for 753 yards, four touchdowns) and tight end Scott Wheeler (36 for 501 yards, six touchdowns), were lost to graduation. Senior Rob Caulfield (28 for 335 yards) returns and will be joined by freshmen Tim Hilton and Roger Morante, and junior Pete Marine, who redshirted at Arizona State last year after playing at Moorpark College.

"We don't have a lot of returning receivers," Harper said. "But that doesn't mean we aren't talented. We have a lot of guys who can catch the football."

Sophomore Ivan Moreno (5-10, 200) returns at fullback. Junior Steve Roussell (5-10, 175) will replace All-SCIAC pick Cassidy O'Sullivan (887 yards, 11 touchdowns) at tailback.

Roussell and Moreno, who rushed for 308 yards in 73 carries and caught 21 passes for 175 yards last year, will run behind a line anchored by junior tackle Kirk Cothran (6-3, 200) and junior guard John Albert (5-9, 215).

"Putting together a solid, cohesive offensive line is my biggest concern on offense right now," Harper said. "If Hacker can get some time to throw the football, we should be in good shape."

Cal Lutheran, which began practice Aug. 25, will open the season against Azusa Pacific at home on Sept. 11. The Kingsmen will begin SCIAC play against Whittier the following week.

Cal Lutheran will play Redlands, the three-time defending conference champion and preseason favorite, at Mt. Clef Stadium on Oct. 30.

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