Rocky Long Offers Perspective In Mountain West’s “The Summit” Podcast
The Mountain West Network’s Jesse Kurtz sits down with coach Rocky Long to talk Mountain West and San Diego State football.
“I would imagine that kind of success is starting to make San Diego State more of a national brand” – Jesse Kurtz
San Diego State University’s Rocky Long is the Mountain West Conference’s most seasoned football coach. He coached at New Mexico for a span of ten years and then moved over to the Aztecs where he now enters his eighth season as head coach.
Recently, Rocky sat down with Jesse Kurtz, host of “The Summit” podcast on the Mountain West Network.
The podcast marked 100 days until the Aztecs until kickoff in the fall season opener against Stanford. Gaining Rocky’s perspective on the Mountain West and San Diego State past, present and future, was timed perfectly.
Kurtz discussed many topics with Long about his time in the Mountain West including who were the top players Long had coached over the years. Brian Urlacher, Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny were discussed.
Jesse Kurtz also noted that Rocky Long is the personification of the Mountain West. Born in Utah, Rocky went to University of New Mexico. He coached at New Mexico, Wyoming and San Diego State. He also spends time in the off season in Colorado.
During the interview, Kurtz touched on the Aztecs’ national success,
Jesse Kurtz noted, “32 wins over last 3 seasons speaks for itself, and San Diego State is bidding for a 9th consecutive bowl appearance in 2018- this will be the 7th consecutive for you as a head coach. I would imagine that kind of national success is starting to make San Diego State more of a national brand maybe on the recruiting trail. Are you starting to see that that the Aztecs are being recognized more frequently outside the western half of the United States and maybe opening some recruiting doors for you?”
Long responded, “Well, I think people know more about us now than they did maybe 5-6 years ago and they recognize that we have a good program here. The funny part about it is it seems to me like we’re still recruiting . . . the same type of players that we did in the past and I think that’s more of a program issue. I think that we attract a certain type of player, there’s not that many people that do what we do on offense and defense so we attract a certain type of player . . . but I do think we’re getting in more doors.”
Kurtz asked about how the Aztecs program focuses on running the ball in an era when so many schools have gone to the spread offense.
“There was a devaluation of running backs there for a little while,” Long said. “That gave a chance to recruit really good tailbacks that we wouldn’t have normally gotten if it wasn’t for our style of offense.”
Also discussed in length was that because San Diego State is surrounded by Power 5 programs, his players don’t get the recognition that they deserve.
“We thought that (Penny) got maybe cheated a little bit in some of the national awards, because we think he was the best running back in the country and he wasn’t recognized that way. But he was the second running back picked in the draft and that makes him pretty darn good.”
Kurtz and Long also discussed competing with Power 5 programs. Rocky noted that the (Mountain West) league’s biggest challenge is to be better than them. Mountain West teams don’t have the locker rooms, the weight rooms, the money of the Power 5 programs to recruit with. This league’s programs have to use money more efficiently and have to produce a game play that is better to win and to out coach them, and that isn’t easy.
The Aztecs are 3-0 over the past two years in gameplay against the Pac-12. While out coaching Power 5 isn’t easy, Long and company are showing that it can be done effectively.
Can the Aztecs go 4-0 against the Pac-12? We will find out in less than 100 days.
San Diego State’s season opener takes place at Stanford on August 31