SAN DIEGO STATE FOOTBALL PREVIEW
The San Diego State Aztecs were one of the biggest surprises in the Mountain West Conference during 2011, finishing with an 8-5 record overall and a 4-3 record in the MWC. It was head coach Rocky Long's first year on the job, and he certainly benefitted from a high-powered offense that supplied its own share of new NFL recruits in the draft. The Aztecs will face a much taller order this year with a series of new faces on both sides of the ball. The increased level of competition from the MWC's expansion will only make the conference much more challenging, so the Aztecs will have to take advantage of their early matchups before their late season schedule heats up.
On offense, the Aztecs will have to replace their starting quarterback and running back, but recent Oregon State transfer Ryan Katz should be able to provide consistency at the quarterback position. At running back, Walter Kazee and a stable of unproven backs will vie for playing time, while the wide receiving corps will be bolstered by another transfer arrival, Brice Butler, who came over from USC. Otherwise, returning starters Colin Lockett, Dylan Denso and Gavin Escobar will anchor a very deep group of pass catchers. The offensive line will only return two starters, center Alec Johnson and guard Nik Embernate, but the coaching staff is high on many of the underclassmen who will step into starting spots.
Five starters will return on defense from the 2011 campaign, but the biggest transitions will come on the defensive line. Jordan Thomas and Dontrell Onuoha will command attention from the defensive end spots and try to pave the way for linebackers Jake Fely, Vaness Harris and Nick Tenhaeff. Perhaps the strongest group on the Aztecs defense is its secondary, where Leon McFadden and Josh Wade lead a talented group of cornerbacks. Nat Berhe and Marcus Andrews will most likely start Week 1, but the coaching staff seems high on freshman Darius Guillory, who should provide depth at both safety and corner.
The Aztecs open up the first month of the season with tough games against the Washington Huskies and the Fresno State Bulldogs, but have many winnable games against MWC and non-conference opponents. The game that sticks out the most on the Aztecs' calendar is their November 3 matchup against MWC newcomer Boise State, which could be a great chance for San Diego State to catapult themselves into the national rankings.
SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS INFORMATION:
Location: San Diego, California
Stadium: Qualcomm Stadium
Conference: Mountain West
Rivals: San Jose State Spartans
Mascot: Aztec Warrior
Notable Alumni: Marshall Faulk, Brian Sipe, Isaac Curtis, Joe Gibbs
Notable Bowl Games:
San Diego State University began playing intercollegiate football in 1921 under coach C. E. Peterson. The 1960's and 70's saw the Aztecs' most successful football teams under coaches Don Coryell and Claude Gilbert. SDSU's football program has a long list of famous players and coaches. Marshall Faulk, Brian Sipe, and Isaac Curtis were all Aztecs. Coaches Joe Gibbs, John Madden, and Herm Edwards all either played or coached at San Diego State.
The SDSU Aztecs play share their home field with the San Diego Chargers. The stadium has a capacity of over 71,000. The Aztecs traditionally play their home games at night and wear all black uniforms with red helmets. It's an intimidating sight to see the SDSU squad take the field for a game. Buy San Diego State football tickets today and watch the Aztecs vie for a conference title and a bowl bid!
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San Diego State Aztecs Ticket Information:
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