San Diego State Position Preview: Offensive Line
The Aztecs offensive line returns five starters.
San Diego State’s offensive line is ready to hit somebody.
This time last year San Diego State was starting an entirely new offensive line. Concerns and doubts loomed over one of the inexperienced lines in school history.
Will these redshirts come together as starters? Are these guys enough to block for Rashaad Penny? Will they be in shape by conference play?
Rocky Long knew what he was dealing with and even looked at the non-conference portion of the schedule to be a test-run and tune-up for Mountain West Conference play.
Well, we knew how that went.
A hardened season with wins against Pac-12 teams and tough losses to Boise State and Fresno State cemented the Aztecs’ resolve. More experience and resolve help this line work on their inefficiencies and continue their progress together.
After sending Penny to the first round of the draft, the only doubts concerning the offensive line are how will Juwan Washington catch up to the line? And can they block Boise State’s front seven?
Starters: Tyler Roemer, Keith Ismael, Dashawn Dixon, Dominic Gugino, Zachary Thomas
Looking at their starters, the team returns all five offensive linemen. Two redshirt freshmen, left tackle Tyler Roemer and right guard Keith Ismael, each earned second-team all-conference honors in 2017 and look to build upon their achievements. Ismael at 6’3”, 310lbs is a big dude who played the most snaps for the Aztecs on either side of the ball.
Backups: Kyle Spalding, Ryan Pope, Garrison Young, Desmond Bessent, Delon Jemmot, Ladji Bagayoko, Chris Martinez, Nick Gerhard
Ryan Pope, a senior, is the most veteran of the group but looks slated to be the backup to Zachary Thomas with more of a chance to be in play for more playing time. Spalding and Gerhard have a lot of upsides and look to play some snaps throughout the season.
What needs the line needs to work on: pass protection. In games that San Diego State lost it was apparent the offensive line couldn’t get their blocks against big defensive lineman like Boise State and Fresno State. Chapman tried his best to make it work but took a lot of sacks and hits in the backfield.