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February 10, 2012

Mailbag on the Mesa

Editor's note: Every Friday ASR Publisher Edward Lewis will answer some questions from fans about the Aztecs in this weekly mailbag. Send questions to edwardflewis@yahoo.com, @EdwardLewisASR on Twitter, post questions on the message board or put questions on ASR's Facebook page.

Jesse: Spring ball is less than two weeks away now, and I for one will have a keen eye on the quarterback battle. But what are some of the things you'll be watching for in spring ball?

Great question, because we're planning on diving a lot deeper than the two obvious spring camp storylines: the quarterback competition and the offensive line show. Of course, we'll be all over those as well, but what I'm really interested in seeing is first and foremost Matt Morin. He's somehow become a lightning rod amongst fans and media members, and Rocky Long continues to make eye-opening comments about a possible future position change for the three-star quarterback. I've seen him play at Chaparral High plenty of times, and they ran that spread-option system there, so I never really got a great look at how he looks in the pro-style - which is the system he belongs in. So watching that and seeing how he looks will be a huge focus.

I'll also be keeping a close eye on the receivers and running backs. When you include walk-ons and the incoming freshmen, both of those positions are going to combine for a number of players somewhere in the high 20's, low 30's. Clearly, some players are going to have to switch positions. We already heard receiver David Lamar is heading toward the secondary, and if he's the only player to switch spots from those two positions, I will be absolutely shocked. We'll keep an eye on guys we think project well to other positions.

Finally, and perhaps the most obvious, we'll be looking at 2013 recruits coming to practice. The spring game and spring practices are good times for future recruits to take their unofficials to SDSU, so it'll be interesting to see who pops up at State in the next month and a half.


Mcerve: Matt Willms is a name that I haven't heard much about in the past few months due to all the focus on Norvel Pelle, Anthony January and Winston Shepard. What's the latest on him?

There's not really much to say from the SDSU end. The Aztecs liked him a lot in the fall and were going to bring him on a visit before the Armageddon power outage crippled San Diego on the days he was supposed to be in town. Then he just kind of fell out of favor, and was ready to commit to UNLV.

We've heard there were issues with transcripts, not necessarily because of grades but just because of the sheer amount of schools and cities he's lived in, and that's what held up the Vegas commitment. Now, because of his play over in Las Vegas, he's received a lot more Division I attention, so the decision is really dragging on. But either way, the Aztecs have really cooled on him and vice versa. This last schollie, in my opinion, will go to Shepard, Pelle, January or nobody at this point.



Ernie: How are the football players that had operations this offseason doing?

Short answer is we'll all find out in about 11 days. The list of guys that were hurt / had surgery after the season included 12 guys. Out of all of them, it looks like only Nik Embernate, Alec Johnson, Sam Meredith, Walter Kazee, Rob Andrews, Vaness Harris and King Holder will miss spring practices. In all, though, everyone should be ready for fall camp, when all of this really matters.


Brandon: With more than a week to digest National Signing Day, what would you grade this 2012 class and why?

This answer sort of has two parts. If you're including transfers, I don't see how you could give them anything less than a solid A. Brice Butler was a four-star receiver coming out of high school who was a top 100 recruit. Dillon Baxter was a five-star player who was rated the No. 1 all-purpose running back in the country in 2010. And Ryan Katz was a three-star who was ranked in the top 100 of California when he came out four years ago. Add in the experience and the seasoning they've received at their prior colleges, and all three should be gems for the Aztecs soon. Then when you factor in the recruits SDSU got out of high school and junior college, it all blends into an A for me.

If we're not counting transfers, which I know some people aren't when they're considering this signing class, I'd give it a B-. Up until about November, SDSU had snagged all of its top targets and things were going really well. But then it hit a lull in the last month or two of recruiting, lost out on Devian Shelton, Robert Lewis, Corey Whitaker, Marc Pouvave, Robert Lewis and Alex Jackson, and the class sort of fizzled a bit for me. Still, the guys it did get are really strong, and with the Big East on the horizon, it's a solid foundation for future years.


Matt: What are the chances that the Aztecs are able to free up another scholarship in order to land two of the following three players: Winston Sheppard, Anthony January, Norvel Pelle?

This question has been radioactive, but apparently everyone wants me to keep answering it each week. With Pelle now waffling and reportedly heading back to the AAU circuit in the spring and summer, and with January's transcript and eligibility still up in the air, it might not even be as much of an issue as we initially thought. It may very well be land Shepard and shut recruiting down. But still, like I've been saying, if two of those three ultimately do get offers and ultimately do want to commit to State, I think SDSU ponders for a long time about what it wants to do with its future roster. And I think there's certainly a few guys you can guess who that would affect.


Fisher7: I don't suppose that Rocky will be open to revealing more about the search for a new OL coach but we Aztec fans and supporters would be happy with any information at all on the subject. Have there been any interviews, offers yet, seeking older seasoned coach or younger one with solid foundation, or just plain best available at this late date?

Wish I had more information for you on the offensive line coach search, but it's just something the school is keeping tight-lipped. We did get confirmation that interviews have taken place this week, could continue into next week and a decision could come relatively soon after that. Long didn't rule out promoting from within, but if he were going to do that, I think that move would have already happened. It looks like they'll be looking for an experienced guy who's preferably held an offensive line coaching gig before. We'll see.


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