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San Diego State Preview 2006 - Offense
Posted Aug 7, 2006

San Diego State Aztecs Preview 2006 - SDSU Offense

What you need to know ... New offensive coordinator Del Miller brings 25 years of experience with his most recent stint at Kansas State, but this is Chuck Long's offense. It's not going to be a night-and-day different offense with plenty of four-wide sets and plenty of spread-it-out passing. However, the focus of the attack will be on the running game with a next-level talent in Lynell Hamilton to work with. The offensive line will be a work in progress until the coaching staff figures out where to put everyone. Kevin O'Connell is one of the Mountain West's best all-around quarterbacks, but he'll have work to do with a young receiving corps that needs a little time.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Kevin O'Connell
233-375, 2,663 yds, 19 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Lynell Hamilton
190 carries, 819 yds, 9 TD
Receiving: Chazeray Schilens
34 catches, 441 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Junior RB Lynell Hamilton
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior WR Chazeray Schilens
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Mekell Wesley
Best pro prospect: Hamilton
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Hamilton, 2) QB Kevin O'Connell, 3) Schilens
Strength of the offense: Backfield
Weakness of the offense:
Wide receiver experience

The cupboard is stocked. This should be the season Kevin O'Connell becomes and all-star with the all-around talents to put up huge numbers. Darren Mougey isn't the same passer O'Connell is, but he's just as good an athlete and has a big arm. Kevin Craft, at worst, is a great number three passer to develop.
The key to the unit: Kevin O'Connell has to make his young receiving corps shine. He doesn't have Jeff Webb or Robert Ortiz to rely on anymore, so he'll have to be razor-sharp to keep the passing game moving.
Quarterback Rating: 7

Projected Starter
- Kevin O'Connell, Jr. - 233-375, 62%, 2,663 yds, 19 TD, 12 INT, 140 carries, 402 yds, 2.9 ypc, 5 TD
O'Connell started every game last year and got better and better as the season went on. He had a few rough outings, but for the most part he was consistent. He's 6-6 and 220 pounds with excellent mobility and a live, accurate arm. He's the unquestioned team leader and should be in for a huge season if he can get decent production out of his receiving corps.

Top Backups
- Darren Mougey, Soph. - 13-26, 50%, 116 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT, 17 carries, 96 yds, 5.6 ypc
Mougey has the best all-around combination of skills among the quarterbacks with 6-5, 220-pound size, excellent speed, and the smarts to handle the offense. However, he's in a battle for the number two job and needs to show that he can move the offense on a consistent basis to be considered the star of the future.
- Kevin Craft, RFr.
If the last name sounds familiar, it's because Kevin Craft is the son of former head coach, Tom Craft. He's a tall passer with a live, accurate arm. He's a smart decision maker with enough upside to grow this spring into the possible number two man.

Running Backs
Helped by the running ability of quarterback Kevin O'Connell, the Aztecs finished a respectable 54th in the nation in rushing offense. Now it's time to be better with a great stable of backs led by Lynell Hamilton, who has high draft pick written all over him if he can stay healthy. Brandon Bornes is one of the Mountain West's best number two backs, while Atiyyah Henderson will be an intriguing option because of his speed.
The key to the unit: Lynell Hamilton has to be 100% all year long meaning Brandon Bornes needs plenty of relief carries.
Running Back Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- Lynell Hamilton, Jr. - 190 carries, 819 yds, 4.3 ypc, 9 TD, 26 carries, 144 yds, 5.5 ypc
Hamilton is the total package with speed, 220-pound size, and great hands as a receiver. The only question mark is his inability to stay healthy for a full season. He looked fine coming off the broken ankle that cost him all of 2004, but he was limited in the middle of the season with only 21 carries over a key four game Mountain West span. When he's 100%, he's one of the best backs in the country finishing up 2005 with three straight 100-yard games and showed off his skills with a 161-yard, two touchdown day against BYU before getting hurt.

- Brandon Bornes, Jr. - 92 carries, 369 yds, 4 ypc, 2 TD, 12 catches, 72 yds, 6 ypc
Bornes is a very nice insurance policy to carry. He's 215 pounds, very fast, and experienced with 23 games, 947 yards, and eight touchdowns under his belt. He can run with power between the tackles or cut to the outside and make things happen. Considering the injury issues Lynell Hamilton has had over the years, Bornes will have to always be prepared to be the number one back.

Top Backups
- Atiyyah Henderson RFr.
It's all about speed for the 5-9, 180-pound Henderson. He's the team's flashiest back with great open field moves and a tremendous burst. He's never going to run over anyone, but he should be a nice change-of-pace back to Lynell Hamilton.
- Tyler Campbell, Soph.
The 210-pound sophomore is a nice power back to have in the mix. He'll play the halfback/fullback role behind Brandon Bornes, but he likely won't see more than a few carries a game.

Losing the 92 catches, 1,109 yards and ten touchdowns of Jeff Webb and the reliability of top number two receiver Robert Ortiz will hurt. There are several promising prospects in the rotation, but not a true, sure-thing number one man. At least not yet. Chazeray Schilens has the potential to be the go-to guy, while DeMarco Sampson, Mekell Wesley and Roberto Wallace are great young talents that have to mature in a hurry. There aren't any returning catches at tight end, but Waika Spencer and Steve Schmidt should form a nice 1-2 punch as the year goes on.
The key to the unit: One player has to emerge from the pack, while the home-run hitting potential has to shine through on the outside.
Receiver Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- Chazeray Schilens, Jr. - 34 catches, 441 yds, 13 ypc, 2 TD
It's Schilens' show to run now that top receivers Jeff Webb and Robert Ortiz are gone. The 6-4, 205-pound junior is the only returning starter and the top returning receiver with nice skills, but not next-level ability. He had his best game of the season in the finale against Hawaii catching eight passes for 119 yards and a touchdown, but that's not going to be the norm.

- Brett Swain, Jr. - 15 catches, 288 yds, 19.2 ypc, 1 TD
Swain didn't start last year, but he was a decent reserve finishing fifth on the team in catches and first in yards per catch despite missing a few games with an injury. Mostly a possession receiver, his yard-per-catch average went through the roof with an 80-yard touchdown catch on the first play from scrimmage against Ohio State. While not a true burner, he has decent speed and is tough on the inside.

- DeMarco Sampson, Soph. - 6 catches, 60 yds, 10 ypc, 1 TD
The sky's the limit for the star-to-be true sophomore. He's 6-2 and 200 pounds with excellent speed and home-run hitting ability. However, the light has to turn on. He mostly played on special teams last year and will have to battle with Ramal Porter for the starting X job. 

- Tight end Steve Schmidt, Sr.
The 6-5, 240-pound former JUCO transfer played in ten games but didn't catch any passes. He's more of a blocker than a receiver, and now he'll have to fight off Waika Spencer for playing time.

Top Backups
- Mekell Wesley, RFr.
With decent size and great speed, the 5-10, 180-pound Wesley is a big more dynamic than starter Brett Swain at the W position. He has the quickness to eventually become a kick returner and could end up being used on the outside X position.
- Roberto Wallace, RFr.
Wallace was a top recruit last year and will eventually be one of the team's better receivers. He's 6-4 and 205 pounds with nice hands, but he'll have a hard time seeing playing time early on behind Chazeray Schilens.
- Ramal Porter, Sr. - 1 catch, 5 yds
A big play waiting to happen, it hasn't happened much yet with just one catch last year and 17 in in 2004. However, he's one of the team's fastest players and should push for DeMarco Sampson for the starting job on the outside.
- Tight end Waika Spencer, RFr.
Watch for the 6-4, 230-pound Spencer to quickly become a major factor in the offense. He wasn't heavily recruited because of a knee injury late in his high school career, but he played through it. Now he should be a top receiver in the new offense.

Offensive Linemen
Competition is the key to the line with four of the five spots still up for grabs going into fall practice. It's not like guard Brandyn Dombrowski and tackle Will Robinson aren't going to start, the question will be where? The big key will be to improve the overall consistency after struggling a bit too much to keep the running game going and allowing 27 sacks. Size won't be a problem, but finding the right combination will be.
The key to the unit: The starting five has to be settled on as soon as possible this fall.
Offensive Line Rating: 5.5

Projected Starters
- OT Will Robinson, Jr.
The versatile Robinson is one of the line's most experienced players. He saw time almost everywhere as a freshman before settling in at right tackle where he was one of the team's better all-around blockers. Now he'll start out at left tackle, but could be moved around again. He's not huge a 6-6 and 270 pounds, but he's athletic and is great on the move.
- OG Brandyn Dombrowski, Jr.
Dombrowski got over the ankle problems that plagued him as a redshirt freshman and started every game at right guard. Now he'll battle with Nick Smith for the job at left guard. He's 6-5 and 325 pounds with 17 games of starting experience.
- C Patrick Justman, Sr.
The anchor of the line with 23 games of experience, the 6-5, 305-pound senior is a smart, tough center who won't make many mistakes. A backup all of last year, he started ten games in 2004.
- OG Mike Schmidt, Soph.
The 6-2, 300-pound sophomore appears to be the only one with a lock on a job. He came out of spring ball as the starter at right guard where he's expected to be a rock for the next three years.
- OT Mike Kravetz, Jr.
Thrown to the wolves early on in his career, the 6-5, 290-pound junior has enough experience, and one start early last year, to handle the job on the right side. He got knocked out in the second game of the season, but he's back and appears to be ready to be a major contributor at either right tackle or right guard.

Top Backups
- OT/OG Nick Smith, Sr.
The former star JUCO transfer will now be a key contributor, if he doesn't take over a starting spot, at either left tackle or left guard. He's an athletic and tough 280 pounds who'll end up finding a spot somewhere.
- C Eder Arosemena, Sr.
The center position isn't a lock to go to Patrick Justman quite yet, The 285-pound Arosemena is smaller, but he showed he could handle himself well in spring. ball.
- OT Eric Rouser, Soph.
Rouser stepped in and started for three games early on at right tackle before being replaced by Will Robinson. He's an interesting pass protector at 6-8 and 250 pounds used as more of a huge blocking tight end than a true pounding type of tackle.
- OT Robert Nelson, Sr.
While he hasn't done much of anything in his career thanks to injuries, he might see more time somewhere just because of his 6-10, 330-pound frame. He started out as a tackle, moved to guard, and now will be a backup left tackle.

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