2009 San Diego State Aztecs Football Preview
2008 Record: (2-10, 1-7)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Brady Hoke (First year at San Diego State, 34-38 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Al Borges
Defensive Coordinator: Rocky Long
Other Key Returnees: G Ikaika Aken Moleta, C Trask Iosefa, TE Matthew Kawulak, DT Ernie Lawson, DT Jerome Long, CB Aaron Moore, OT Peter Nelson, LB Andrew Preston, DE Jonathan Soto, WR Roberto Wallace
Key Losses: LB Russell Allen, S Corey Boudreaux, DT Siaosi Fifita, S T.J. McKay, CB Vonnie Holmes, OT Lance Louis, WR Darren Mougey, G Mike Schmidt
Coach Brady Hoke was the man behind Ball State’s impressive 2008 season. He parlayed that success into a new coaching job with San Diego State. The Aztecs had an awful season last year, ending up with just two victories, but they were a young team and Coach Hoke has a few weapons to work with.
San Diego State's Strengths:
Coach Hoke is a solid offensive coach and he could turn what was a young and inexperienced group into something pretty good. It all starts with quarterback Ryan Lindley. As a freshman the signal caller completed nearly 57 percent of his pass attempts and threw 16 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. The touchdown to interception ratio could certainly be better, but that is not bad at all for a freshman. Lindley will certainly miss wideout Darren Mougey, but Vincent Brown, who led the team with 64 receptions, is back and Roberto Wallace is an experienced senior and a reliable target. It is on the ground where the offense really struggled in 2008. Linemen Ikaika Aken Moleta, Trask Iosefa and Peter Nelson have to do a better job paving the way for the ground game and backs Atiyyah Henderson and Brandon Sullivan have to make the most of their opportunities or the offense will be one dimensional.
San Diego State's Weaknesses:
The defense ranked near the bottom of the MWC in nearly every major statistical category last season. Coordinator Rocky Long has his work cut out for him, especially now that linebacker Russell Allen and safety Corey Boudreaux, the team’s two most reliable defenders, are gone. The front four returns everybody, but this is a team that ranked 108 th in the nation in sacks. If ends Jonathan Soto and B.J. Williams cannot get into the backfield, there is no reason to believe that the defense will be any better than it was last year. The addition of Coach Long could help, but he can only work with what he has and it will take time to get more talent into the program.
The Bottom Line for the Aztecs:
Coach Hoke has proven that he can lead a talented offense. He did it at Ball State and he will do it at SDSU as well. And that could happen right away if Lindley is ready to take the next step and a couple young receivers can emerge as reliable targets. But the real questions regarding this team are on defense. Seven starters are back on that side of the ball, so there is hope, but a few players have to take a big step up if they want to replace Allen and Boudreaux’s production.
By Joel Welser
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