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Are the Aztecs Built For a MWC Title? Time Will Tell

Head Coach Rocky Long met with local media on Tuesday to preview the '19-20 season.

Will Galvez
August 01, 2019 - 9:31 am

The NCAA football landscape for the 2019-2020 season is deep in the dog days of summer. For many of you crazed college football fanatics (yes, this also includes me), as the calendar flips to August, everyone is ready to be planted in their couches to consume ten-plus hours of 18 to 22-year olds competing against each other on the gridiron every Saturday until the National Championship game in early January. The sweltering heat is making its way from the Montezuma Mesa to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin down to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. The equatorial heat will not deter these teams though.


Before the season officially kicks off, San Diego State University Football head coach Rocky Long met with local sports media members via a press conference in the Fowler Athletic Center on Tuesday to discuss multiple topics. Ranging from who will be the Aztecs starting quarterback, Juwan Washington being poised for another strong season, along with the playing status of some San Diego local players. 


Per usual, Coach Long is in mid-season form in regards to his retort to the reporters asking him questions about fall camp. The former Aztec defensive coordinator who was promoted to head coach in January of 2011 is not necessarily a fan of college football’s new rules regarding the elimination of Two-a-days  & full-pad practices.



One of the more laughable quotes from Tuesday’s press-conference was Rocky’s thoughts on the lack of preseason practice times. 


“I don’t know who’s making the world softer all the time.” 


A soft statement with a thunderous connotation. This quote is nothing short of what we expect from the man who became the 18th head coach in Aztecs Football history eight years ago and who has led the scarlet and black to eight straight bowl games. One quality that sets Rocky apart from other coaches is his innate ability to adapt. Player safety is paramount and he takes it seriously. 


The biggest question looming around the locker room for SDSU is whether or not Senior quarterback Ryan Agnew will remain the starter. 


After senior Christian Chapman sustained a knee sprain in a 28-14 victory over Sacramento State last September, the Southlake Texas product replaced him down the stretch with a 6-1 record as a starter with ten touchdown passes and six interceptions. 



Rocky thwarted any uncertainty of the situation, “(Agnew) is our starting [quarterback> but the battle for the backup spot is going be to very interesting and very hard-fought.” 


The aforementioned battle for the backup spot will be between redshirt sophomore and former Rancho Bernardo High School star, Mark Salazar, who bounced around on the Aztecs depth chart last year and junior college transfer, Jordon Brookshire. A  dual-threat quarterback who led Laney College to a 2018 California Community College Athletic Association championship title last year.


Two former local players will most likely not suit up for the Aztecs this season. Junior running back Greg Bell and sophomore safety Rashad Scott both suffered undisclosed, injuries this offseason. Coach Rocky Long did not specify what their injuries were. 


“You have to anticipate some of these things,” Long said. “There’s always going to be something.”


Bell, a Chula Vista native, and Bonita Vista High School graduate played for the Nebraska Cornhuskers last fall. After eventually transferring, Bell was granted an NCAA hardship waiver which would have made him eligible to play immediately. He had surgery earlier this week. Scott, a 2017 San Diego section Defensive Player of the year, played in 11 games as a true freshman with a large chunk of snaps coming on special teams. The former Helix Highlander will sit out up to four months.


One encouraging tale for the Aztecs as they ramp up the intensity and head into the season is that they are returning a strong tailback core. Juwan Washington leads this group and looks to improve after finishing the 2018 season with 199 carries for 999 rushing yards (5.0 yards per carry) and ten touchdowns. Despite missing close to five games with injuries. Junior Chase Jasmin (592 yards, 5 TD’s) and sophomore Chance Bell (198 yards) will compete for the backup position. 


“We have a lot of running backs. There’s a lot of names on that depth chart but will we have a quality backup for Juwan (Washington)…  Two or three guys haven’t proved that to us (yet).” 


With the implementation of a spread-attack offense being concocted during the offseason, it will be entertaining to see the play-calling Jeff Horton (Offensive Coordinator) relays from the sidelines for our explosive athletes to be unleashed on Mountain West defenses. 

Approximately, thirty days from today the SDSU Aztecs will kick off the season for a home opener versus Weber State. An accurate evaluation of the team's progress through fall camp will be put on display on August 17th at SDCCU Stadium for the Aztecs Fan Fest scrimmage.