Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the San Diego State Aztecs season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: San Diego State Aztecs
Alabama might have The Process, but the San Diego State system could be the big thing of 2018.
Can we start giving Rocky Long a little bit of love in the discussion of Best College Coaches Besides The Obvious discussion?
He’s got a system. His teams are going to run the ball, play great defense, repeat. And it worked at New Mexico, until one year, it didn’t.
Forget that the Lobos went on a run of seven straight seasons with six wins or more before a clunker of a 2008, 4-8 season, Long’s plan worked.
Was he the most exciting hire by San Diego State? Not really, but the Aztecs had a slew of fun/should work head coaching ideas – hello, Chuck Long – and nothing happened.
All Long has done in his seven seasons is come up with seven straight winners, three Mountain West titles, three bowl victories, and a 64-29 record to cement the program as one of the elite among the Group of Five.
And this year, he might just have his best team in his 17 years as a head coach. If that turns out to be really true, welcome to your team that has everything in place to break down that barrier into the College Football Playoff.
For all the goofiness surrounding the delusions UCF national champions thing, at the very least, they’re making some noise and they’re blazing a trail. They weren’t even close to getting into the CFP because they didn’t beat anyone who was all that great – at least until getting by Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach – but the talent was there.
San Diego State is going to have the talent, and unlike 2017 UCF, it’s going to have the necessary big games on the schedule, with road games at Stanford, Boise State and Fresno State, and with a home date with Arizona State.
Forgetting that the rest of the slate is a breeze, and there’s always a chance that ASU and FSU might not be all that great, but at least the opportunity will be there for the program that’s on a 32-6 run over the last three seasons to make a big statement.
Star RB Rashaad Penny is gone, but again, Rocky Long has a system.
All five starters return to the offensive front, Juwan Washington appears ready to be the Next Back Up, and Christian Chapman is a 2+ year starting quarterback ready to coordinate it all.
The defense doesn’t have a whole lot of beef up front, and the pass rush has to show up after going bye-bye late last year, but the linebacking corps is phenomenal, the safeties are the best in the Mountain West, and the rotation on the front three will come through.
The kicking game? John Baron is a massive plus, but the punting game needs to be stronger.
The coaching? Terrific from Long on down.
The experience is in place, the hype will start to roll, and if the Aztecs can somehow get by Bryce Love and Stanford on the road to kick things off, this should be a special season.
And now, thanks to Long’s system, this might just be the team to buck the system.