2013 SDSU Football Season Preview: Quarterbacks

Dingwell scrambles

Quarterback Adam Dingwell (6) returns in 2013 and will try to lead the Aztecs in his first full season as the starter. (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

Who’s gone

  • QB Ryan Katz

Projected starters (2012 stats)

  • QB #6 Adam Dingwell – RS Jr., 6-foot-4, 210 pounds (83-144, 939 passing yards, 8 touchdowns, 7 interceptions ; 43 carries, 104 yards, one touchdown)

Key reserves/Players to watch

  • QB #12 Jake Bernards– RS Sr., 6-foot-5, 215 pounds – Entering his fifth season with the Aztecs, Bernards likely knows the pro-style offense better than anyone else. He has spent most of his time as the backup quarterback, but he will be in the mix during spring practices with new offensive coordinator Bob Toledo at the helm.
  • QB #11 Matt Morin – RS Fr., 6-foot-2, 220 pounds – With a powerful arm and the ability to escape pressure and scramble, Morin has the total package. Although he may have to wait until Dingwell leaves to get his chance, he will make the quarterback competition interesting for the next two years. Look for him to turn some heads in the offseason with impressive throws and nifty scrambles.
  • QB #15 Chad Jeffries – RS So., 6-foot-2, 200 pounds – Keep an eye on Jeffires throughout the offseason to see if he can make a push for the starting job. A talented three-star recruit out of high school, he has had a tough time putting the pieces together at the collegiate level, but a strong offseason could catapult him up the depth chart.

2013 Commitments
San Diego State does not have any quarterback commits in the 2013 class, but Chase Favreau, a 2012 signee, is expected to join the team in the spring after grayshirting last season. 

Analysis
Although San Diego State fans have often pointed the finger at Dingwell for the collapse against BYU, there were several factors that contributed to the loss.

Field position was arguably the difference in the game, as BYU’s punter Riley Stephenson pinned the Aztecs inside their own 5-yard line five times. Dingwell was pressured throughout the game, and although he made some mistakes, many of the painful plays were not solely his fault.

Dingwell did not play his best in the Poinsettia Bowl, but San Diego State fans should not forget the 5-game win streak that he helped orchestrate, highlighted by come-from-behind road victories against Nevada and Boise State. His performance against Nevada, coming off the bench to replace the injured Katz, proved his incredible work ethic, as he could not have played at such a high level without tireless preparation. Ending the season on a bitter note will only fuel him more in the offseason.

With a new offensive coordinator, it is likely that the staff promotes an open battle for the starting quarterback job in the offseason. Although Bernards is consistent and knowledgeable and Morin and Jeffries are skilled young players, look for Dingwell to improve his fundamentals in the offseason and retain the starting job due to his gritty demeanor, work ethic and leadership skills.

There is no substitute for experience, and this makes Dingwell the clear frontrunner. With last season under his belt, expect a new and improved Dingwell in 2013.

Prediction
Dingwell will throw for at least 2,500 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2013.


2013 Season Preview: Home
2013 Season Preview: Defensive Line
2013 Season Preview: Linebackers
2013 Season Preview: Cornerbacks
2013 Season Preview: Safeties
2013 Season Preview: Special Teams
2013 Season Preview: Wide Receivers
2013 Season Preview: Running Backs
2013 Season Preview: Tight Ends
2013 Season Preview: Offensive Line


LINKS:
Hunter Hewitt: WordPress – http://hunterhewitt.wordpress.com
Hunter Hewitt: Blogger – http://hunterhewitt.blogspot.com
Hunter Hewitt: LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: Twitter – http://twitter.com/hunterhewitt89
Hunter Hewitt: Facebook – http://facebook.com/hunterhewittSDSU
Hunter Hewitt: About.me – http://about.me/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: BrandYourself – http://hunterhewitt.brandyourself.com/
Hunter Hewitt: GoAztecs.com Player Profile – http://goaztecs.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hewitt_hunter00.html
Hunter Hewitt: SDSU News Team Story: http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news.aspx?s=73846


by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS

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2013 SDSU Football Season Preview: Offensive Line

Quigley blocks

Left tackle Bryce Quigley (78), an honorable mention all-conference selection last year, returns for his senior season in 2013. (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

Who’s gone

  • G Nik Embernate
  • G Riley Gauld
  • G/C Jimmy Miller
  • C Alec Johnson

Projected starters

  • LT #78 Bryce Quigley – Sr., 6-foot-5, 295 pounds 
  • LG #65 Japheth Gordon – RS Sr., 6-foot-3, 295 pounds
  • C #73 Jordan Smith – RS So., 6-foot-5, 270 pounds
  • RG #56 Nico Siragusa – RS Fr., 6-foot-5, 315 pounds
  • RT #64 Zach Dilley – RS Jr., 6-foot-5, 295 pounds

Key reserves

  • G/T #70 Arthur Flores – RS Fr., 6-foot-5, 300 pounds
  • G/C #74 Austin Maass – RS Fr., 6-foot-4, 270 pounds
  • T #75 Kwayde Miller – RS Fr., 6-foot-7, 305 pounds
  • T #69 Paul Rodriguez – RS So., 6-foot-7, 285 pounds
  • G/T #67 Garrett Corbett – RS Jr., 6-foot-5, 290 pounds 
  • T #79 Terry Poole – RS Jr., 6-foot-5, 300 pounds

Players to watch

  • LT #78 Bryce Quigley – Sr., 6-foot-5, 295 pounds – In just his first season playing offensive line, Quigley had a solid year in 2012 and was an honorable mention all-conference selection. With another offseason to gain strength and improve his fundamentals, look for him to be a dominant force on the left side in 2013.
  • C #73 Jordan Smith – RS So., 6-foot-5, 270 pounds – With Johnson and Miller gone, San Diego State will need to find someone to take over the snapping duties in 2013. Often regarded as the quarterback of the offensive line, the center is a very important position that requires considerable knowledge in defensive fronts and schemes. Smith, who saw playing time in 2012 as an extra offensive lineman in short yardage situations, will be the frontrunner for the starting job.
  • G/T #67 Garrett Corbett – RS Jr., 6-foot-5, 290 pounds – Corbett entered the 2012 season as a candidate for the starting job at right tackle, but injured his ankle in fall camp and missed the remainder of the year. A versatile lineman who can play multiple positions, look for him to bounce back from his injury and compete with Siragusa for the starting spot at right guard.

2013 Commitments
San Diego State currently has four offensive lineman commits. Lenicio Noble and Braxton Isaac are two junior college transfers expected to sign, while Sergio Phillips and Antonio Rosales are high school commits. Expect all four to redshirt in 2013, as it is extremely difficult for a lineman to learn the offense and compete for playing time right away. Noble, who is expected to join the team in the spring and compete for the starting center spot, is the most likely of the bunch to see the field next season.

Analysis
Last season, San Diego State’s offensive lineman, led by newly hired offensive line coach Mike Schmidt, exceeded expectations and helped the Aztecs rush for over 220 yards per game. Next season, they will need to find replacements for Johnson and Embernate, its most experienced lineman in 2012.

Keep an eye on Smith and Maass in spring practices and fall camp, as they will likely battle to replace Johnson for the starting center spot. Both are skilled linemen, but they will need to get stronger and add weight in the offseason if they want to be effective in 2013. Noble will also be in the mix, but he will need to learn the offense quickly in the spring and gain ground on Smith and Maass if he wants a chance to play next season.

At right guard, Siragusa has a solid chance to win the job in 2013. He impressed the coaches last season, showing flashes of talent throughout fall camp. Although his youth and inexperience might be worrisome, he is one of the strongest offensive lineman and will get a ton of reps in the offseason. He and Corbett will likely be the frontrunners to replace Embernate, but don’t be surprised if some of the other young linemen get reps at the position in spring practices and fall camp.

In their first season as starters on the offensive line, Quigley, Gordon and Dilley played fairly well as a group. All three return in 2013, and will continue to pave the way for an explosive ground attack.

Pass protection will be the main focus for the offensive line in the offseason, as the Aztecs allowed 35 sacks last year, ranking them in the bottom 20 of all Division 1 FBS teams. Expect Quigley and Dilley to improve their fundamentals in the offseason and help San Diego State drastically reduce its total number of sacks in 2013.

Prediction
Quigley will be a first-team all-conference selection in 2013.


2013 Season Preview: Home
2013 Season Preview: Defensive Line
2013 Season Preview: Linebackers
2013 Season Preview: Cornerbacks
2013 Season Preview: Safeties
2013 Season Preview: Special Teams
2013 Season Preview: Wide Receivers
2013 Season Preview: Running Backs
2013 Season Preview: Tight Ends

Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview on the quarterbacks of the 2013 San Diego State Aztecs


LINKS:
Hunter Hewitt: WordPress – http://hunterhewitt.wordpress.com
Hunter Hewitt: Blogger – http://hunterhewitt.blogspot.com
Hunter Hewitt: LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: Twitter – http://twitter.com/hunterhewitt89
Hunter Hewitt: Facebook – http://facebook.com/hunterhewittSDSU
Hunter Hewitt: About.me – http://about.me/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: BrandYourself – http://hunterhewitt.brandyourself.com/
Hunter Hewitt: GoAztecs.com Player Profile – http://goaztecs.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hewitt_hunter00.html
Hunter Hewitt: SDSU News Team Story: http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news.aspx?s=73846


by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS

2013 SDSU Football Season Preview: Tight Ends

Adam Roberts blocks

San Diego State tight end Adam Roberts, who caught the game-winning two-point conversion against Nevada last season, returns in 2013. (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

Who’s gone

  • TE D.J. Shields
  • TE Hunter Hewitt
  • TE Gavin Escobar

Projected starter (2012 stats)

  • TE #44 Adam Roberts – Jr., 6-foot-3, 235 pounds (3 catches, 23 yards, one touchdown)

Key reserves/Players to watch

  • TE #87 Aaron Boesch – RS So., 6-foot-5, 230 pounds – After using his redshirt season last year, expect Boesch to see the field often in 2013. The athleticism and skills are there, but how much he plays will depend on the strength and size he is able to gain in the offseason. If he is able to get stronger and add 10-15 pounds, look for him to be a solid contributor on offense and special teams next year.
  • TE David Wells – Fr., 6-foot-5, 230 pounds – True freshman rarely come in and play right away at San Diego State, but losing three players from a position group is just as rare. A three-star recruit, look for Wells to show up in fall camp and compete for playing time immediately next season. With an impressive skill set and a good combination of size and speed, Wells has a legitimate chance to make an impact as a true freshman.
  • TE #85 Dominique Bierria – Jr., 6-foot-5, 215 pounds – A relatively unknown recruit, Bierria comes from Santa Monica City College and Carson High School in Los Angeles. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, he is a big target, but will need to add weight if he wants to play at the Division 1 level. Bierria will join the Aztecs in the spring and participate in spring practices, and his ability to join the team immediately will dramatically increase his chances of playing next season. Keep an eye on him throughout the offseason to track his progress.

2013 Commitments
San Diego State has two tight end commits in the 2013 recruiting class. David Wells and junior college transfer Dominique Bierria are expected to sign with the Aztecs, and both will make a push for playing time next season.

Analysis
In the past, San Diego State’s offensive coordinators have relied heavily on two-tight end sets. With newly hired offensive coordinator Bob Toledo, it is unsure if this will be the case.

Toledo plans to run a pro-style offensive, similar to what former offensive coordinators Andy Ludwig and Al Borges ran, but with three tight ends leaving, he will likely cater his play-calling tendencies to his strengths.

While there is plenty of talent among the tight end group in 2013, experience is lacking, as Roberts is the only returning tight end who played last season. This will likely lead to fewer two-tight end formations and more sets with a fullback or a third wide receiver. The Aztecs won’t abandon the tight end completely, however, as Roberts, Boesch and likely one or two others will see playing time next season. Expect Wells, Bierria, and redshirt junior Mike Miller to compete for playing time in fall camp. Also, don’t be surprised if the coaches flirt with the idea of moving former tight end and current defensive lineman Robert Craighead back to his original position. If this switch occurs, look for Craighead, a redshirt sophomore, to be in the mix for immediate playing time as well.

One thing to keep an eye on is the involvement of Toledo with the tight ends from a coaching standpoint. Because it already has the maximum number of assistants, San Diego State will not be able to hire a tight ends coach once again in 2013. The Aztecs were able to get away with not having a designated tight ends coach in years past because of the depth and experience of the tight ends, but things will be different next season.

Last season, Ludwig was listed as the tight ends coach and first-year graduate assistant Dorian Keller helped out with the position. With a young and inexperienced group, it is imperative that Toledo pays close attention to the tight ends throughout the offseason, as they will need his wisdom and expertise to progress and improve.

Prediction
Wells or Bierria will see significant playing time in their first season with the Aztecs in 2013.


2013 Season Preview: Home
2013 Season Preview: Defensive Line
2013 Season Preview: Linebackers
2013 Season Preview: Cornerbacks
2013 Season Preview: Safeties
2013 Season Preview: Special Teams
2013 Season Preview: Wide Receivers
2013 Season Preview: Running Backs

Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview on the offensive lineman of the 2013 San Diego State Aztecs


LINKS:
Hunter Hewitt: WordPress – http://hunterhewitt.wordpress.com
Hunter Hewitt: Blogger – http://hunterhewitt.blogspot.com
Hunter Hewitt: LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: Twitter – http://twitter.com/hunterhewitt89
Hunter Hewitt: Facebook – http://facebook.com/hunterhewittSDSU
Hunter Hewitt: About.me – http://about.me/hunterhewitt
Hunter Hewitt: BrandYourself – http://hunterhewitt.brandyourself.com/
Hunter Hewitt: GoAztecs.com Player Profile – http://goaztecs.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/hewitt_hunter00.html
Hunter Hewitt: SDSU News Team Story: http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news.aspx?s=73846


by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS