Cold Weather – Cold Offense

Posted by on November 18th, 2014  •  0 Comments  • 

It’s disappointing, maybe even more than that.  Maybe stunning that a Rocky Long coached team would collapse the way San Diego State did at Boise State on Saturday night.
Surprising too, that Rocky Long, the master of halftime adjustments, whose creative skills have led the Aztecs to so many come-from-behind victories the last couple of years, would get beat at his own game.
Boise State was getting battered, in the ice-box 9-degree cold weather.  Long’s defensive blitz scheme choked off big play Broncos QB-Grant Hedrick, and bottled up power RB-Jay Ajayi for an entire first half.  Boise could not handle the team speed, the gang tackling and the utter chaos that the Aztecs defense threw at them early.
The 3-5-5 package SDSU runs was sending people from every direction, clogging running lanes, chasing the quarterback, getting lots of hats on the physical running back.
A (20-0) lead by SDSU nearly emptied the stadium.  Boise State had no answer for anything State did in the first and 2nd quarters.
And then emerging from the warmth of of the locker room at half time, Boise State changed everything.  They went to crossing pass routes when they saw blitz.  They went to read options with the QB-RB tandem starting to chew up yards.  They ran play option off the read-option and thew deep beating single coverage.
And it was just not on the defensive side of the ball.  They stunted on defense, ran blitzes into running play gaps, chase QB-Quinn Kaehler-disrupting his passing lanes, and in turning up the heat, saw  the Aztecs offense go stone cold.  
RB-DJ Pumphrey got nothing done in the second half; the wide receivers couldn’t get open, and the brain trust that is Long and offensive coordinator Bob Toledo couldn’t answer the challenge.
It was a horrible setback, coming on the heels of another lost opportunity at Nevada-Reno, and the loss at Fresno State.  The only wins SDSU has right now are against the lower likes of 1-AA Northern Arizona, Idaho, and the bad teams in the Mountain West.
By virtue of the scheduling, SDSU hasn’t had to play some of the other power people in the league, like Colorado State, but they still have Air Force on top of what they have already played.  
They may not make a bowl game, which is a setback from where they have been.
Of bigger fears, one must ask the question, is the old school coach, Long, turning SDSU into New Mexico, running the ball, hoping to keep scores low, and stay in games with defense?   Everyone else is  throwing the ball all over the yard, big stats, big shootout wins.  But not on Montezuma Mesa.
There’s nothing wrong with all the creative things Rocky Long does in building great defenses.  Maybe they need to re-think getting more skill people on offense.  3-yards and a cloud of dust was workable years ago.  Not so much now.  HIs signature is his brilliance on defense.  The downfall the last couple of years has been triggermen on offense.
San Diego State’s legacy in college football, whether at the old Aztec Bowl, or at Jack Murphy Stadium, was quarterbacks, skill players, high scoring shootouts.  That seems to have vanished under a throwback coach.
When last did San Diego State have a throwing QB that scared the hell out of teams?  Since 1997, they have brought in only Kevin O’Connell and Ryan Lindley, who made things happen.  And Brady Hoke and Rock Long inherited them from other staffs.
Playing in second tier bowl games is a nice prize for hard-working kids and trips for alums.  Becoming a real player on the college football landscape is where this program should be headed, but it does not seem so.  This program needs more playmakers on offense, not just an occassional star running back.  Quarterbacks win games for you in college football.
What are they becoming, aside from pedestrian on offense?  You can run-run-run at Alabama, and win.  You cannot do it at SDSU if you are going to lose.
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