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A look at SDSU

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With the SDSU game only a week away (Don't you mean the Sony HD Holiday Classic? -ed  My bad.  With the  Sony HD Holiday Classic only a week away, we thought we'd take a look at the Aztecs.   Are you sure that Aztecs is culturally sensitive? -ed  Knock it off.

First, here is the resources post, so you can look at all the Bruins' opponents.

Here is CFN's SDSU preview.  CFN predicts a 4-8 season for the Aztecs, predicting wins only over San Jose State, New Mexico, Colorado State, and Wyoming.

The Aztecs were 4-7 in 2004, and return 22 offensive lettermen, 19 defensive lettermen, and lost 20 lettermen from 2004.

Here's CFN's Offensive Preview and here's the Defense.

SDSU's offense begins with Lynell Hamilton

Mick McGrane reports

When Lynell Hamilton steps onto the floor of Qualcomm Stadium for San Diego State's opener against UCLA on Sept. 3, it will have been nearly 22 months since a 1-yard gain at UNLV turned into one of the program's biggest losses.

It was the 10th game of the 2003 season. On his third carry of the game, Hamilton became just the second SDSU freshman and the 59th freshman in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 yards. With games remaining against Colorado State and Air Force, he was in hot pursuit of Marshall Faulk's freshman school record of 1,429 yards.

But then Hamilton got injured, breaking his ankle and leg, injuries that required three surgeries, a plate, and ten screws.  Ouch.

In 2003, while healthy, Hamilton rushed for 200 yards twice, made the Freshman All-American team, was the MWC's Freshman of the year, and drew numerous Marshall Faulk comparisons.

Here's an SDSU scrimmage report, and an article on SDSU's own QB controversy.  However, SDSU head coach Tom Craft isn't making the excuses made for KD (that naming a QB would allow the defense to "prepare" better).  No, Craft is on the hotseat and he named a starter, Kevin O'Connell

At WR, seniors Jeff Webb and Robert Ortiz combined for 1,591 yards and 123 catches last season. In SDSU's three-WR offense, Webb will start at split end, Ortiz will play slot, and sophomore Chaz Schilens will play flanker.

I confess to not knowing much about SDSU's defense, but CFN's preview considers senior corner Jacob Elimimian the best defensive player, and the best pro prospect.  Initially, I expected Elimimian to line up against Junior Taylor and attempt to shut him down.  In this train of thought, the Bruins' thin and inexperienced other WRs would have to rise to the challenge.  

However, further research revealed that Elimimian won't start.  According to the North County Times, "junior cornerbacks Terrell Maze and Donny Baker will start."  What gives?  Does Elimimian suddenly suck?  According to the Union-Trib, the problem is that it's not clear Elimimian will be eligible and has had to focus on that.  Is this a real benching, or just a symbolic one?  I don't know, but Elimimian appears to be genuinely talented, having led the MWC in passes defensed last year, so we'd bet Elimimian will find his way onto the field.

CFN says the DL is a "very young line with some decent potential."  The two best Aztec DL are soph DE Antwan Applewhite and junior DT Jonathan Bailes.

Here's a recent story on the SDSU depth chart.  Soph tackle Mike Kravetz won the "fierce battle" for the starting RT spot.  There will be a platoon at TE between sophomores Lance Louis and Eric Miclot.

The LB position looks thin.  According to the Union-Trib, "The certainties are senior Freddy Keiaho in the middle and junior Joe Martin at one of the outside spots. The competition for the other outside spot has been between redshirt freshman Andrew Schantz and sophomore Brett Martin."  

After the hard-to-follow CB situation, the situation at safety appears to be pretty clear-cut, as senior Marcus Demps and junior Reggie Grigsby are reputed to be form one of the better MWC pair of safeties.

Finally, some punditry.  Here's what Union-Tribune columnist Nick Canepa has to say.

UCLA is 10 days away. That's the University of California at Los Angeles. You know, the Bruins, the same football Bruins who basically have gone Rocky Marciano on San Diego State. This is not UC Davis the Aztecs are getting in their season opener. I'm surprised they didn't schedule the Patriots.

So, after SDSU completed its final scrimmage of fall drills early yesterday afternoon, coach Tom Craft was asked if his team is ready for the Bruins, who are 19-0-1 lifetime vs. the Aztecs.

"We're not close," said Craft, bubbling with confidence. "But probably nobody in the country is."

That's sort of funny.  First of all, Craft is engaging in classic coachspeak, building up the opponent so as to avoid giving any bulletin board material.  

Secondly, this emphasizes what we have repeatedly pointed out, that UCLA is indeed a program with a proud tradition and a potential powerhouse.

Canepa also notes that SDSU has been projected at 8th in the MWC, that superstar tailback Lynell Hamilton will be back this season, that the team has talent and athleticism on both sides of the ball, that the team lost many defensive players from last year's team, and that soph QB Kevin O'Connell shows promise.