The untrained eye will look at the first three weeks of the season for the College of San Mateo football team and marvel at the numbers.
The Bulldogs are 3-0 and moved up to No. 2 in the state in the JC Athletic Bureau Coaches’ Poll. They’ve beaten College of the Siskiyous, San Joaquin Delta and American River by a combined score of 129-20, having scored 40 points or more in all three.
Yet CSM head coach Tim Tulloch believes the Bulldogs can be so much better.
“I think we have so much room for improvement. There are so many things we have to get better at,” Tulloch said. “I don’t think there is one person, coach or player, who is satisfied with anything.”
While not satisfied, CSM has to feel encouraged with its start to the season, especially with the play of true-freshman quarterback Luke Bottari. The 2019 Serra graduate has shown no jitters as he averages 206 yards passing per game.
Tulloch credited the Serra program and the caliber of competition Bottari faced in three years as a high school varsity starter for making the transition to the college game slightly easier.
“As a true freshman, three weeks into the season, [Bottari is] probably a little further along than other guys we’ve had,” Tulloch said.
Bottari’s start has seen CSM average more yardage through the air than on the ground this season, a rare occurrence for a Bulldogs’ program that has built its reputation on a punishing ground attack.
“We have some really explosive guys on the outside and we have a good decision maker under center. He’s doing a good job of taking what the defense is giving him,” Tulloch said. “But we’re not caring about rushing stats or passing stats. The only stat we care about is being 1-0 at the end of the week.”
The Bulldogs will have to work for that 1-0 record this weekend as they travel to the Central Valley for a 6 p.m. showdown Saturday with Fresno City College, ranked No. 4 in the state.
Win or lose, Tulloch just wants his team to be better.
“We still have a long way to go, but I like the way the guys are approaching everything — from weights, to the classroom, to practice. They’re learning how we work here at CSM,” Tulloch said.
“Our goal is just to be in a constant state of improvement. Today’s practice needs to better than yesterday’s practice. … We need to be consistent with things.”
CSM is off to its best start in the fourth year of the Katie Goldhahn Era, entering Coast Conference North play with a 7-4 mark and a No. 23 ranking in the state.
It’s actually a step back for the Bulldogs, however, as they dropped a pair of matches last week, falling in an upset loss to Gavilan before dropping a four-set decision to American River.
CSM still has three more non-conference matches before facing Las Positas-Livermore in the conference opener Oct. 4.
Skyline appears to have turned its season around. After starting with eight straight losses, the Trojans have won their last three in a row. They’ll face San Jose City College in a home-and-home series over the next two Wednesdays before opening conference play against Ohlone-Fremont Oct. 4.
Cañada and Skyline won’t have to wait long to see where they’ll stack up in the Coast Conference South as they’ll meet in the conference opener next Tuesday, Oct. 1.
The Colts have one more non-conference game Wednesday against Clovis before facing the rival Trojans. Since the start of the month, Cañada has stepped up its game, going 3-1-1 over its last five games to stand at 4-2-1 overall.
Skyline has struggled out of the gate, going 1-2-1 over its last four games.
Both Cañada and Skyline have struggled to start the 2019 season, going a combined 2-7-3. The Colts are still looking for their first win of the season, but they do have three ties and were competitive in a pair of losses.
It’s been feast or famine for the Trojans. In their five losses, they surrender an average of just over four goals per game, but gave up six in a shutout loss to Los Medanos. In their two wins, they’ve outscored their opponents 13-4. Skyline will be at Evergreen Valley in San Jose before going on the road against Chabot-Hayward in the Coast Conference North opener.