San Diego State Preview 2006
Posted Aug 7, 2006

San Diego State always appeared to be on the verge of turning the corner under former head coach Tom Craft, but it never happened thanks to little overall luck and no consistency whatsoever.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

How could a team beat Utah, come within three of TCU, and get blown out by New Mexico and Air Force? The Aztecs pounded BYU, but lost to UNLV. The talent and potential are there to win big in San Diego as long as new head coach Chuck Long and his staff can win the little ones they're supposed to while coming up with more clutch wins.

Yeah, yeah, ifs and nuts, but if just two of the four losses to non-bowl teams last year went the other way, the Aztecs would've gone bowling. Considering the team beat three teams that ended up playing in the post-season, the possibilities to dream of big things are there.

Head coach: Chuck Long
1st year
Returning Lettermen
Off. 18,  Def. 20, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 17
Ten Best SDSU Players
RB Lynell Hamilton, Jr.
2. CB Terrell Maze, Sr.
3. DE Antwan Applewhite, Jr.
4. QB Kevin O'Connell, Jr.
5. CB Donny Baker, Sr.
6. P Michael Hughes, Jr.
7. PK Garrett Palmer, Soph.
8. NT Jonathan Bailes, Sr.
9. LB Joe Martin, Sr.
10. WR Chazeray Schilens, Jr. 

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

8/31 UTEP
9/16 at Wisconsin
9/23 Utah
9/30 at San Jose State
10/7 at BYU
10/21 Air Force
10/28 Cal Poly
11/4 at Wyoming
11/11 UNLV
11/18 at TCU
11/25 at New Mexico
12/2 Colorado State

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Record: 5-7

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 UCLA L 44-21
9/10 at Air Force L 41-29
9/17 at Ohio State L 27-6
9/24 San Jose St W 52-21
10/1 BYU W 31-10
10/8 at UNLV L 13-10
10/15 at Utah W 28-19
10/22 New Mexico L 47-24
10/29 TCU L 23-20
11/12 at Colorado St W 30-10
11/19 Wyoming W 34-21
12/3 at Hawaii L 49-38

The program doesn't need the attitude change most need when getting a new coaching staff, and it doesn't need a major influx of talent to be better in Mountain West play. It needs better overall defense while keeping the offense at the same level it was at by the end of last season.

While he won't have nearly the same talent he enjoyed as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, Long has pieces in place to build around and do big things with. Running back Lynell Hamilton has next-level skills and can carry the offense if needed. Quarterback Kevin O'Connell is a productive veteran who can do a little of everything well. The cornerback tandem of Terrell Maze and Donny Baker is one of the best in the league, and end Antwan Applewhite has the potential to be the Mountain West's best pass rusher.

Can the run defense stop someone with a pulse? Can someone else help out Applewhite and get to the quarterback? Can the receiving corps overcome the loss of Jeffrey Webb and Robert Ortiz? This is hardly a complete enough team to win the Mountain West title, but it's more than good enough to be a major player in the race as long as there's a stop to those annoying misfires.

Long was a bit of a hot commodity because of his name and his growing reputation in the coaching circles. While former Oklahoma assistant coach Mike Stoops went to Arizona a few years ago, Long took a lesser job at San Diego State. Is this a stepping stone job for him? Aztec fans can only hope to finally change things around to make the program good enough to warrant calls from the big boys.

The Schedule: The non-conference slate only has one killer, at Wisconsin, but the opener against UTEP won't be a walk in the park. Playing San Jose State and Cal Poly should help pad the record. The Mountain West slate has a few breaks getting Utah and Colorado State at home, but road dates at BYU, TCU and New Mexico should kill any conference title hopes.

Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Lynell Hamilton. The only question is whether or not he can stay healthy for a full season. The best back the program has seen since Marshall Faulk has size, speed, power, and hands. He's a tough back who has had a few bad breaks, but if he can stay 100% for a full season, he has Mountain West Player of the Year capabilities.

Best Defensive Player: Senior CB Terrell Maze. Fellow corner Donny Baker and end Antwan Applewhite will also be in the mix for the honor of being the team's best defensive player. Maze is a big bigger than Baker and a bit better a coverman. All three Aztecs are good players to build a defense around.

Key player to a successful season: Junior WR Chazeray Schillens. He hasn't had to be a top target in the offense yet with Jeff Webb and Robert Ortiz doing most of the heavy lifting, but the Aztec offense needs him to be a star early until the rest of the receiving corps comes around. Once everyone gets their feet wet, Schillens will likely be lapped as a the go-to guy.

The season will be a success if ... the Aztecs win eight games. It's not that lofty a goal if the new coaching staff can get a little more production out of the run defense and more efficiency and consistency out of the offense.

Key game: Sept. 23 vs. Utah. The Aztecs stunned the Utes 28-19 in Salt Lake City last year. A win in the Mountain West opener against one of the preseason favorites for the title would set the tone for the rest of the season. It also might be necessary to avoid an 0-2 conference start with at BYU coming up two weeks later.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- San Diego State opponent first quarter scoring: 58 - San Diego State opponent second quarter scoring: 119
- Rushing touchdowns: Opponents 30 - San Diego State 17
- Punt return average: Opponents 11.3 yards - Opponents 6.3 yards

The Last Time San Diego State…
…played in a bowl game…1998 (Las Vegas Bowl vs. North Carolina)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2003 (UNLV)
…was shutout…1998 (BYU)
…scored 50 points…2005 (San Jose State)
…went undefeated…1969
…won a conference title…1986 (WAC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2002 (Adam Hall)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (Lynell Hamilton)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Jeff Webb)
…had a first-round draft choice…1998 (T Kyle Turley)

Related Stories
San Diego State Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Aug 7, 2006
San Diego State Preview 2006 Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 7, 2006
San Diego State Preview 2006 Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 7, 2006

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