5 things To Watch For San Diego State Spring Football
What to expect during Aztecs spring football.
A lot of unknowns heading into spring.
With spring ball starting for San Diego State Football only about one week away, here’s five things to watch for the Aztecs this upcoming season.
1. New, offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski
After Brady Hoke was named the new Head Coach he decided to make some changes to the coaching staff. One of those moves was to hire a new offensive coordinator. He hired Jeff Heckinksi to fill that need. Hecklinski’s job is to improve an offense which was one of the worst offenses in college football in 2019. In 2019, Hecklinski was the tight ends coach for the Kansas Jayhawks under Les Miles. Hecklinski was at San Diego State in 2009-2010 when Hoke was also the Head Coach and worked as the Associate Head Coach/Running Backs Coach.
Hecklinshi has worked as an offensive coordinator before when he was at Indiana State, an FCS school from 2017-2018. The question is will the Aztecs have more creativity with Hecklinski calling the plays.
2. No more Rocky Long
With Rocky Long leaving San Diego State, there will be someone new calling the plays on defense. That guy is Kurt Mattix who was named the defensive coordinator/linebackers coach. Mattix comes to SDSU after serving as the defensive coordinator at Eastern Kentucky the past four seasons.
Since 2016, the Colonels have ranked 24th in FCS play in defensive pass efficiency, 36th in defensive rush avg.and 38th in total defense. How much will the defense look with Matrix calling the plays than when Rocky was here? Will the blitz schemes be similar or not?
3. Losing key defenders
The Aztecs lost a lot of key players on defense due to graduation. Some of those star players included Kyahva Tezino, Luq Barcoo, Myles Cheatum. Those are some very important players but the Aztecs have some great players that can replace them. For example, Sophomore linebacker Michael Shawcroft based in the hometown San Diego from Helix High is someone you can key on. Shawcroft is known to have good size at 6’2 225 and be really physical.
A defensive lineman to start and replace Myles Cheatum is Junior Connor Mitchell. Mitchell has played significant snaps at two deep the last two years so he’s someone who very capable of starting at one of the defensive ends. Another guy to replace is Luq Barcoo. Somebody who can replace Barcoo is Darren Hall who started alongside him last year. In 2019, Hall had 49 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 17 pass deflections.
4. New starting quarterback
With Ryan Agnew graduating from SDSU, the Aztecs need a new starting quarterback. Someone who is in the lead to take over is Redshirt Sophomore quarterback Carson Baker from Helix High School here in San Diego. Baker started and played in one game last year vs. BYU and played pretty well. Baker threw for 19-24 172 yards and one touchdown pass. I fully expect Baker to be the starting quarterback and play great under this new energized offense.
The trademark Win22 has been that for the last few seasons. Win22 is something the football program says in its bid of winning a conference championship. The Aztecs haven’t won a conference championship since 2016. With Brady Hoke back with the Aztecs for the second time, Brady Hoke is really looking to do that. Also, with the new changes to the coaching staff and great players like Cameron Thomas, Keshawn Banks, Darren Hall, Dwayne Johnson Jr. , Kobe Smith, Daniel Bellinger and Jesse Matthews are returning back to the Mesa their odds of doing this are really high.