San Diego State Has A Problem At Quarterback
Injuries and the transfer portal have impacted the QB room
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Can the Aztecs find a permanent quarterback?
When Braxton Burmeister transferred to San Diego State in January, the program believed that they found the right quarterback for the 2022 season. After five games, San Diego State’s quarterback room is far more uncertain than it was before Burmeister arrived in the offseason.
Burmeister, who played four seasons at Oregon and Virginia Tech, has not been able to stay healthy for the Aztecs in 2022. His playing time has been limited and he has left almost every game with some sort of an injury. When he has been healthy, he has not played at the level San Diego State expected him to.
On Friday, Burmeister left the game with a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit from Boise State safety JL Skinner. Burmeister did not return and the offense dissolved during Burmeister’s absence.
San Diego State had a 13-0 lead on Boise State at halftime and ended up losing the game 35-13. San Diego State surrendered 35 unanswered points and the quarterbacks failed to keep control of the game on the offensive side of the ball.
When Burmeister went down with the apparent concussion, backup quarterback Kyle Crum came in to play against Boise State. He attempted one pass and eventually left the game with a reported broken collarbone. In recent weeks, Crum became the team’s backup quarterback when former second-stringer Will Haskell entered the transfer portal three days after the Utah loss on Sept. 17. Haskell seemed dissatisfied with Brady Hoke’s decision to pull him from the Utah game for Crum.
Haskell’s departure enabled Crum to be next in line for the quarterback job behind Burmeister. Once Crum left the Boise State game, San Diego State called on third-string freshman quarterback Liu Aumavae to finish the loss to Boise State. At the start of the season, Aumavae was the fourth-string quarterback after Burmeister, Haskell, and Crum.
Aumavae was not expected to play at all this season and he was unexpectedly thrown into the Boise State game. With Aumavae in the mix, San Diego State has a problem on its hands. Time is running out to find a solution at quarterback and none of the quarterbacks have stood out as the offensive leader.
In addition to the quarterback by committee situation, San Diego State fired offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeff Hecklinski on Saturday. Hecklinski has been with the team since 2020 and had a disastrous third season in this role. Hoke is expected to appoint running backs coach Jeff Horton to the interim offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach role.
The lack of consistency with the four quarterbacks led to a 2-3 record for the Aztecs. The final seven games will determine the rest of the season for San Diego State.
Less than one year after getting San Diego State to the Mountain West Conference Championship Game, Hoke’s job could be in jeopardy if this slide continues. San Diego State will have to make a decision between Burmeister, Crum, and Aumavae.
If Burmeister and Crum’s injuries are as serious as they appeared to be on Friday, San Diego State could be forced to ride Aumavae for the rest of the season. Freshman Tobin O’Dell and sophomore DJ Ralph could become the second and third-string quarterbacks with Burmeister and Crum out of commission. Besides Aumavae, O’Dell and Ralph are the only available quarterbacks on the roster. There is a possibility that San Diego State will use every quarterback on the roster at some point this season.
The quarterback depth chart will be very thin if Burmeister and Crum are out for the foreseeable future. This could be a lost season for the Aztecs.