San Diego State Aztecs
2008 CFN San Diego
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2008 SDSU Offense
2008 SDSU Defense |
2008 SDSU Depth
2007 CFN San Diego
State Preview |
2006 CFN San Diego
How can a program always be rebuilding?
San Diego State seems to have the tools to be a power. The great
weather, the fertile recruiting grounds, the decent conference,
the big city, the chance to play right away, the, uh, scenery,
but the program has never been able to put it all together on a
regular basis and it doesn't appear to be on the verge of
turning any sort of corner in year three of the Chuck Long era.
Head coach: Chuck Long
3rd year: 7-17
Off: 17, Def. 21, Ret. 0
Lettermen Lost: 22
Best SDSU Players
1. LB Russell Allen, Sr.
2. DT Siaosi Fifita, Sr.
3. FS Corey Boudreaux, Sr.
4. LB Luke Laolagi, Jr.
5. CB Aaron Moore, Jr.
6. DE B.J. Williams, Soph.
7. CB Vonnie Holmes, Sr.
8. RB Brandon Sullivan, Soph.
9. WR/KR Mekell Wesley, Jr.
10. WR Darren Mougey, Sr.
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 at Notre Dame
Sept. 13 at San Jose State
Sept. 27 Idaho
Oct. 4 at TCU
Oct. 11 Air Force
Oct. 18 at New Mexico
Oct. 25 Colorado State
Nov. 1 at Wyoming
Nov. 8 at BYU
Nov. 15 Utah
Nov. 22 UNLV
Sept. 1 at
Wash St L 45-17
Sept. 15 at
Arizona St L 34-13
Cincinnati L 52-23
Col St W 24-20
Utah L 23-7
Mexico L 20-13
Air Force L 55-23
Bad luck has been
responsible for a few of the recent down years, but you don't have one
winning season in 11 years without having a systematic breakdown and
program-wide issues. The biggest problem has been talent. The Aztecs
haven't had enough of it.
There have been plenty of good talents passing through in recent
seasons, but the lines have rarely been consistent and the skill players
and defensive backfields have suffered. One year the offense was good
and the defense lousy, another year the situation was drastically
reversed, and then there was last season when nothing seemed to work on
a consistent basis.
Things haven't been all that great so far under Long, and there haven't
been any pleasant surprises over the last several seasons. Now the team
has to hope beyond hope that it won't be as predictably bad as other
The defense was phenomenal this off-season with a change in attitude and
more overall production with nine starters returning. While that's a
positive sign considering the Aztec D was among the worst in America,
there's an ugly possibility to consider: the offense could be really,
There's no experience across the offensive board, but there's promise at
the skill positions. Unfortunately, the quarterback situation is muddled
with none of the three top prospects stepping forward to grab the job by
the horns, while the line, again, an ongoing issue for the program,
could be horrendous with one average starter coming back and a slew of
untested redshirt freshmen needing to shine.
The expectations aren't going to be all that high, again, but if there's
just a little more patience, the Aztecs could be building toward
something interesting. With so many new starters on offense, there's a
chance to blend together over the next few years. The defense, even with
all its returning starters, is still relatively young. Rebuilding isn't
a bad thing as long as there's a light at the end of the tunnel. That's
what 2009 is for.
What to watch for on offense: The line to be the key to the
season. Even with so much turnover among the skill players, the running
backs are strong and the receiving corps, even without Bret Swain and
Chaz Schilens, should be excellent. Nothing will work unless the
quarterbacks are efficient, and that's not going to happen unless the
line shocks the world. The front five was miserable last season and that
was with experience. Long and his staff have been recruiting to upgrade
the line, and it still might take a year or three for those prospects to
What to watch for on defense: An emphasis on getting to the
quarterback. It's been years since opposing passers have had to worry
about getting touched, but this year's Aztec defensive front has good
quickness all across the line. For a team that was among the worst in
America in making plays in the backfield, it has to start selling out to
make things happen. If big plays result from it, so be it. Something has
to be done.
The team will be far better if … the defensive line is
night and day better. Three starters return to a group that was carved
up like a Thanksgiving turkey by anyone who could run the ball with any
regularity. The defense finished next to last in run defense, only UAB
was worse, and that was even after holding Portland State to just 13
yards. In the final three games the Aztecs allowed 569 yards and eight
touchdowns to Air Force, 376 yards and six touchdowns against TCU, and
311 yards and four scores against BYU.
The Schedule: Long needs a break-through season, and that might be tough to come
by with road games at Notre Dame, TCU, New Mexico and BYU. Don't laugh,
but the trip to face an improved San Jose State is no layup. There can't
be any misses at home against Idaho, Air Force, Colorado State and UNLV,
and beating Utah is likely needed to have any hope of a winning record.
A stretch of three road games in four weeks over the second half of the
year means a hot start is a must.
Best Offensive Player:
Sophomore RB Brandon Sullivan. This is sort of by default as the
sophomore had a nice spring and appears ready to become a key factor in
a rotation with Atiyyah Henderson and Davon Brown. There needs to be a
few talents emerging from all the prospects, and it Sullivan isn't one
of them, the receivers, primarily Vincent Brown and Mekell Wesley, could
Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Russell Allen.
While he makes too many
plays down the field and isn't disruptive enough, he's one of the
Mountain West's best linebackers and is deserving of more recognition.
All he has done is make 268 tackles over his first three years
highlighted by a 22-stop day in last year's loss to Utah. He's the
team's unquestioned leader and star.
Key player to a
The entire offensive line. Tackles Mike Matamua, Kurtis Gunther and
Kellen Farr, guards Mike Schmidt, Ikaiki Aken-Moleta, and center Tommie
Draheim have to not only overcome their overall youth and inexperience,
but they also have to be far better than last year's veteran front line.
With a new quarterback and relatively green starters at running back and
receiver, the line has give everyone time to work.
The season will be a
... the Aztecs win six games. There are enough winnable home games,
primarily against Cal Poly, UNLV and Idaho, to demand three wins without
a question. With so much experience on defense, there has to be a
sneaky-shocker of an upset somewhere, and there has to be wins over
teams like Colorado State and San Jose State to flirt with the .500
mark. It's not going to be as easy as it appears on paper.
August 30 vs. Cal Poly. SDSU needs so much time, so much work, and so
much seasoning, it has to view the season opener against Cal Poly as a
preseason tune-up game to get everyone some real live playing time. If
by some chance this becomes a blowout considering the Mustangs went 7-4
last season with the FCS's second best offense, the Aztecs have to keep
playing the starters. They need the work.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Punt returns: Opponents 32 (8.2-yard average) – San Diego State 13
- Third quarter scoring: Opponents 125 – San Diego State 45
- Rushing yards per game: Opponents 241.5 – San Diego State 103.9