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“AZTECS…A VERY DIFFERENT SEASON”
San Diego State opens the football season on Saturday at Ohio University,in what could be the start to a very different season.
Season openers can be really scary games, if there have been coaching changes or quarterback changes. You walk into a game wondering if what you saw on tape from a team’s games last year, will be different or not?
Brady Hoke blew up the offensive side of his coaching staff and this team will be very different this year when they have the ball. They have to be. Who can forget the dismal first half of the season, ranked behind Army, Navy, Air Force, who run the option-wishbone?
Tim Albin, the Bobcats coach, lost his do everything QB at the end of last season, and no one is revealing whether starter Kurt Rourke or his backup CJ Harris will be the starter. Both are players. They are different, so Hoke’s defense may face different challenges depending who runs the offense.
Hoke had to replace all 3-starters in his defensive front and change out linebackers, so Ohio has no idea what the Aztecs will do up front on defense, such an important part to SDSU’s dominance over the years.
Albin has tape to look at, from out of town. It’s Utah Utes game tapes and the way they run and throw to a double tight end offense. That might give him a glance at what SDSU is, in Ryan Lindley’s new look offensive package.
Both the Aztecs and Bobcats played Toledo last year, the only common opponent. State outslugged the Rockets for a win. The Bobcats went hammer and tong in playing the Rockets last year.
Both teams have a history of toughness, so this might be a field goal kicking contest before it is over. This might be a street fight too before it is over. The Aztecs have imposed their will on teams, pounding the ball and mugging quarterbacks. The Bobcats, return 16-starters from a team that beat up a very good Miami of Ohio team at the end of the season.
Hoke came from Michigan. Albin was part of a successful staff led by Frank Solich, who came to Ohio from Nebraska.
Hoke’s team needs a win for other reasons too SDSU’s season ticket base has eroded badly after just one year at Snapdragon Stadium. The coach says winning sells tickets, but San Diego fans want to see offense.
The game is important to show Hoke has not lost contact with reality about modern day offensive football, especially after last year’s QB-debacle that forced him to play five different signal callers. Thankfully for him, Jalen Mayden took the job at mid seaso and had big games statistically. SDSU needs to open it up and win.
And the first game in Week Zero is important, because UCLA and Oregon State loom just ahead before the end of September for SDSU.
So we find out Saturday at 4pm.
Can Hoke regain the personality of what made State great during his tenure, this cement tough defense? Can Maden make SDSU electric, running and throwing? Will the new ’12’ offense, with the double tight end package,open up the passing game? Will the new defensive front jell? Will 3-newcomers in the offensive line fill the holes that led to the QB mess last season? Who wins the run game fight, Keon Christon or the Ohio front?
Can Albin’s tough guy team handle the tough guy way San Diego State play’s defense? Will Ohio’s coach come up with a defensive plan to control the tight ends? Can the Bobcats overwhelm a new look OL? Will Maden be able to cope with pressure, since he did not in a couple of losing games last season?
We shall see come Saturday at 4pm, Aztecs-Bobcats in what could be a very different football season.