1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Monday “Aztecs–What I Saw-What I Think”
“Aztecs Football–What I Saw”
They’ve all opened preseason football camps.
Should be great enthusiasm at San Diego State, USC, UCLA.
The Aztecs have built a decade long run of success in the Mountain West Conference, winning a few titles, winning bowl games, and are now ready to move into a new stadium.
USC has new coach Lincoln Riley and his ‘chock full of success resume; and 20-transfer players from the portal, including key guys at every skill position on the field.
UCLA finished upbeat last year and brings back its top QB and running back for Chip Kelly.
I spent the first day on the field with the Aztecs-observations, 94-degrees in a 3-hour workout on hot turf.:
DISAPPOINTED…for a school and program that wants to be viewed big time…I counted only 7-fans, friends, students standing along the sidelines watching practice. Yes just 7-there. No talkshow radio hosts from the 3-stations in town. Not one of the TV sports anchors was there either. Do you think USC-UCLA had just 7-alums turn out for the first practice? Do you blame the Athletic Department or just the alumni-fans-community? How can this be possible?
JUST ASKING….Why would SDSU not have a preseason Media Day before camp opens, especially since the team was gone two years during the pandemic, playing all games on the road, at Carson and at MWC venues.
BLACK CLOUD…They can’t-won’t talk about it, but the San Diego police probe tnto an October alledged rape of a non student appears complete. The information has been turned over to a District Attorney, and we see if a Grand Jury hearing and indictment follows. San Diego State, asked by police initially not to conduct its own probe, has now been cleared to do its own investigation of the case. The football program says it does not know who the players are in the case. But the stain could be bad on what has been a clean program for years.
SNAPDRAGON…The program deserves this, the dazzling new stadium, and the fact they will play home games for the first time since 2019…Being a road team was emotionally draining. Carson was a stop gap measure with few fans on hand to support a group of talented kids.
QB DERBY…Virginia Tech transfer Braxton Burmeister put up really good numbers in his final year in the ACC. Will be fun to see him grow in a much easier MWC race. Powerful, looked strong throwing short passing packages…Redshirt freshman Will Harrell really stood out-strong arm-hit targets, moved pocket. and hit a 70-yard TD bomb. .Wonder if this becomes a true QB competition?
WR…There is lots of experience in this group, led by Jesse Matthews and experienced Tyrell Shavers, and now we look to who steps up as the third guy coming off the line. Now will this become more of a passing attack rather than a life time run personality?
OL..Must replace 3-starters and the group did not pass block well. There were alot of sacks, botched shotgun snaps, it was really sloppy. Work to be done.
YOUNG PUPS…Fascinated to watch 6’9-OT-Christian Jones, with a huge frame and the fact he has lost weight. Imposing is second year OG-Josh Simmons and a very active OG-Jonathon Harrison. A really good young group of recruits upfront.
RB…We know what veterans Chance Bell and Jordan Bird bring. The depth on the roster is impressive, with fireplug inside runner Kenon Christon and explosive Jaylen Armstead likely to get more and more time. This might be the deepest group on the roster.
TRANSFERS….Keep an eye on LB-Cooper McDonald, who came from Washington, a big fast rush guy, teaming with his brother Caden McDonald. The same for Hawaii transfer Justis Tavai, big and powerful, playing alongside his brother Jonah. They lost DE-Devin Lamp-the Tulsa transfer, to a sports hernia injury. Massive Washington Huskies TE-Mark Redmond could have a big impact too.
THE BACK END….QB-turned-S-Jalen Mayden seems to have all the attributes to become a big time athlete in the secondary. Will be fun to see how quickly he can make the transition to playing i the secondary.
YOUNG DOGS…State landed a load of high school backs with great upside, Lucky Sutton, Lucky Avenger, and Sheldon Canley. They are for the future.
NEXT IN LINE..Highly regarded QB-Kyle Crum and fellow recruit Lui Aumevae will redshirt.
WHO IS NEXT….There is a key job open, and Jack Browning is the first choice to replace the Ray Guy winner kicker Matt Araiza. Whether he does all three jobs, field goals, punts, and kickoffs will be determined in the next three weeks, but he is next in line to fill ‘big shoes’.