Finally they are here! The 2008 Mountain West Conference team football previews. These will be in order of how I feel they will finish. Sorry Aztec fans, but San Diego State will finish in the basement. The media has the Aztecs predicted to finish seventh in the league, but their conference schedule includes road games with Wyoming, TCU, New Mexico, and BYU those are all very likely loses for San Diego State.
Offense: The biggest loss here is at quarterback with Kevin O’Connell getting drafted by the New England Patriots. The replacement has finally decided by Coach Long on Wednesday and, the race was between Ryan Lindley who is a redshirt freshman, then there is junior college transfer Drew Westling, and then the only player with playing experience is Kelsey Sokolski. The winner of the competition is Lindley who will get the start against Cal Poly next Satuday. The offense will need to rely on the running game for the first few games, because the Aztecs lost two receivers to the NFL.
The running game had only 1,247 yards on the yeaer or just at 100 per game, that could be because the Aztecs were down quite often and were playing catch up. Atiyyah Henderson who was projected to be considered all-league last pre season, but was a huge underachiever and only gained 183 yards, and as of this time in camp Henderson is tied with Brandon Sullivan as the starter as of now.
Defense: They gave up 34 points per game last season, and can not be competitive by allowing that many points. The defense does return eight starters, so they should be better. The defensive line was the worst part of the defense and had a very tough time stopping the run. This year new position coach Mike Nelson started spring with a blank slate and quickly made some changes. Multiple players changed positions on the line in an effort to shore up the line.
The strength of the defensive will be the Aztecs linebackers who have multiple seniors at this position and could be one of the best in the league, and they will be lead by Russell Allen who has 36 career starts. The defensive backfield should be very strong as well, and with both starting corners returning they should be able to perform well against the leagues wideouts.
The main thing the defense needs to do is to improve in stopping the run, and force teams to pass which will play in the strength of the Aztecs.
|August 30||Cal Poly|
|September 6||at Notre Dame|
|September 13||at San Jose State|
|October 4||at TCU|
|October 11||Air Force|
|October 18||at New Mexico|
|October 25||Colorado State|
|November 1||at Wyoming|
|November 8||at No. 16 Brigham Young|
No chance… @Notre Dame, @TCU, @BYU, Utah
50/50… @San Jose State, Idaho, Air Force, @ New Mexico, Colorado State, @Wyoming, UNLV
Lock it up… Cal Poly (barely)
Projected Record: 4-8