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SoCon Notebook: Eagles not the only ones with offensive twist

    Western Carolina has already had just about enough of the triple option.
    The Catamounts opened the season at Georgia Tech in a game that saw the Yellow Jackets put up 662 yards of offense and win 63-21.
    Western coach Dennis Wagner knows the principals of defending the option won't change a whole lot when his Catamounts (1-1) open their Southern Conference schedule Saturday at 6 p.m. in Paulson Stadium against No. 1 Georgia Southern (2-0, 1-0 SoCon).
    "You've still got to be responsible for the quarterback, the fullback and the pitch, and that's the bottom line," said Wagner.
    Western, which saw GSU rush for 277 yards in a 28-6 win in 2010, hasn't faced the Eagles when they run the option out of the shotgun.
    "They've got more wrinkles in their offense of course this year than they had last year," said Wagner, "and of course they got better as the season went on, had a tremendous run there into the playoffs."
    The Eagles aren't the only team doing new things. The Catamounts changed up their offensive look in the offseason with the addition of the pistol formation.
    "They've got a different offense that we've faced at any point since we've been here as a staff. Obviously if presents some challenges," said GSU coach Jeff Monken. "They scored a lot of points last week against Mars Hill, did a really good job on offense. We're concerned about their two running backs and their ability to run the football."
    The Catamounts defeated Mars Hill 52-31 before a bye over the weekend. Freshman running back Shaun Warren scored four times on the way to 203 rushing yards, and Michael Vaughn added 131.
    Both teams took last weekend off, and Monken took the time to watch some football and cheer on his old team Navy against South Carolina.
    "I love being a fan, sure. I love having the DVR to watch the replays," Monken said. "When Navy converted that 4th-and-long [in the fourth quarter], my wife and I were jumping up and down and high fiveing."

A one-man show?
    Elon (2-1, 0-0) wide receiver Aaron Mellette has caught 36 passes through three games this season - exactly half of the 74 receptions by the Phoenix offense.
    The SoCon Player of the Week and National Receiver of the Week is averaging 13 catches for 167 yards per game, and has scored once in each game so far.
    The Citadel Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1) travel to Elon Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. kick.
    "They move him around and work hard to get him the football in critical situations," said Bulldogs coach Kevin Higgins about Mellette. "That makes it challenging because you never know where he is going to line up, and the problem with double-covering him or jamming him is that they can run the football with their three running backs."

Battle for the top
    The No. 13 Chattanooga Mocs (2-1, 0-0) and the No. 3 Appalachian State Mountaineers (2-1, 0-0) face off Saturday in Boone, N.C., and the winner will improve to 1-0 in the SoCon.
    While the Mountaineers have gotten easy home wins over North Carolina A&T and Savannah State the last two weeks, the Mocs have won tough tests against Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky.
    They allowed an average of only 228.5 yards and 15.5 points in the wins.
    "The thing that's scary about it is Jacksonville State is generally a playoff contender and so is Eastern Kentucky," said ASU coach Jerry Moore. "They go up to Eastern Kentucky — that's no easy place to go play —and they play a great second half and pretty much shut them down."
NOTES: Furman, the only other SoCon program besides Georgia Southern with a conference win, plays a non-league game Saturday at home against Presbyterian (1-2) at 1 p.m. ... No. 9 Wofford (1-1, 0-0) hosts Samford (1-1, 0-1) Saturday at 7 p.m. in Spartanburg, S.C.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.