College Football Preview: The 2014 San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State looks for continued success in 2014.
2014 College Football Preview
The San Diego State Aztecs look for their 5th consecutive Bowl appearance in 2014.
Overview: Rocky Long has built a successful program at San Diego State and with that success the team is getting some higher profile recruits. The team will need some of these recruits to fill a few key voids to make a return trip to the postseason.
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Offense: Adam Dingwell began 2013 as the starter under center but immediate struggles gave the job to Quinn Kaehler who never gave it back. Kaehler threw for just over 3,000 yards at 59.6% with 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The running game will miss workhorse Adam Muema with his 1,244 yards on 256 carries so the workload will fall to Donnel Pumphrey (125-752) if his 170+ pound frame can handle the hits. Top receiver Ezell Ruffin (68-1146) will be asked to do more with the next three graduating so the offense needs a few players to come through. The line returns four of the top six but the loss of All MWC LT Bryce Quigley hurts.
Defense: The defensive line has plenty of experience with five of their top six returning while the linebacking crew returns five of seven. The defense runs a 3-3-5 and was very strong versus the run so having a solid nucleus back is crucial. The Aztecs add a few highly ranked recruits to the mix as well so expect good things from the front six although OLB Nick Tenhaeff and his team highs of 15 TFL and six sacks seem impossible to replace. The cornerback spots in the secondary look to be in good shape but not so much at the safety position so San Diego State's pass defense might take a step back.
Special Teams: Punter Joe Alesi averaged just over 39 yards but Seamus McMorrow who was 0-4 on field goals is a complete unknown. Colin Lockett and Tim Vizzi's departures leaves the return game looking for help.
Outlook: I like the way Rocky Long has recruited and it should pay dividends in 2014 and beyond. The concerns are finding some bodies at the skill positions and a pass defense that needs safety help and if both get adequate replacements which they should, the Aztecs will be in another Bowl.