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: Wide Receivers

Lockett runs with ball

After nearly posting a 1,000-yard season in 2011, Lockett saw a drop in his numbers last year. He will be back in 2013 for final season, and will be looking to go out with a strong senior campaign. (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

Who’s gone

  • WR Dominique Sandifer
  • WR Brice Butler

Projected starters (2012 stats)

  • WR #24 Colin Lockett – RS Sr., 6-foot, 180 pounds (20 catches, 293 yards, two touchdowns ; 4 carries, 44 yards)
  • WR #3 Ezell Ruffin – RS Jr., 6-foot-1, 205 pounds (17 catches, 319 yards ; 4 carries, 21 yards)

Key reserves (2012 stats)

  • WR #10 Dylan Denso – RS Sr., 6-foot-2, 205 pounds (4 catches, 63 yards)
  • WR #41 Tim Vizzi – RS Sr., 5-foot-10, 175 pounds (9 catches, 99 yards, one touchdown ; one carry, 17 yards)
  • WR #80 Larry Clark – RS So., 6-foot-4, 210 pounds (N/A)
  • WR #86 Jemond Hazely – RS So., 6-foot-1, 185 pounds (One carry, 5 yards)

Players to watch

  • WR #10 Dylan Denso – RS Sr., 6-foot-2, 205 pounds – After having a breakout season in 2011, Denso was unable to match his prior production in 2012. Much of it was due to a broken finger suffered at the end of fall camp, which hindered him all season. That, along with the return of Sandifer and the addition of Butler, made it tough for Denso to replicate the 49 catches for 634 yards and three touchdowns he recorded in 2011. Don’t be surprised if Denso finds his way into the starting lineup next season, and even if he doesn’t, he will still see loads of playing time and have several balls thrown his way as the third wide receiver.
  • WR #80 Larry Clark – RS So., 6-foot-4, 210 pounds – A physical specimen, Clark was given the nickname “Babytron” last season by a teammate because his frame resembles that of NFL All-Pro wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. After two seasons of development, expect Clark to finally break through in 2013 and be a solid contributor for the offense. A big target with strength and speed, Clark will likely come in on spread packages as the fourth receiver, and may be used in certain situations where his height and athleticism can cause matchup problems for opposing defenses.

2013 Commitments
San Diego State currently has one wide receiver commit, Julius Wilson from Culver City, Calif. Although it is likely he will redshirt due to the depth at his position, don’t be surprised if the talented three-star wide receiver finds his way onto the field as a true freshman.

Analysis
Although the Aztecs seemed to have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position in 2012, they relied heavily on their run game and tight end Gavin Escobar, who was their leading receiver with 543 yards (Butler recorded the second-highest total with 347 yards).

San Diego State loses Butler and Sandifer, but Lockett, Ruffin and Denso have started multiple games over the last two seasons and should not have any issues stepping up as the main targets. Lockett is the leader of the group, with career totals of 78 catches for 1,263 yards and 11 touchdowns. Similar to Denso, Lockett had lingering injury issues in 2012, as he suffered an ankle sprain early in the season and was often not at full strength. Look for him to bounce back next year and be a deep threat like he was in 2011 when he recorded 970 receiving yards.

Ruffin finally hit the scene in 2012, and broke out in the second game against Army with 5 catches for 152 yards. Following his breakout game, it seemed that the young wide receiver from Long Beach, Calif., was poised for a big season, but it ended up being his only 100-yard game of the year. Like Denso and Lockett, Ruffin also played through an injury in 2012, as he broke a bone in his hand near the middle of the season. Look for him to show his playmaking abilities even more in 2013 and have a solid year.

Newly hired offensive coordinator Bob Toledo said in an interview with the U-T San Diego that he wants to “throw the ball a little bit more than before,” and this will mean more production from Lockett, Ruffin and Denso. With Escobar and running back Walter Kazee gone, expect San Diego State to depend less on its running game and tight ends and more on its wide receivers.

Redshirt freshmen wide receivers Eric Judge and Lloyd Mills will likely need another year to mature and develop their bodies before they start climbing the depth chart. Both will be determined to see some action after redshirting last season, so keep an eye on these two, along with Paul Pitts III, to see if they can find their way onto the field as special teams contributors.

Prediction
After failing to have a wide receiver surpass 400 receiving yards in 2012, San Diego State will have three wide receivers with over 500 yards 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

Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview on the running backs 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: Special Teams

McMorrow kicks off

Seamus McMorrow, who recorded 33 touchbacks in 2012, will resume kickoff duties, and possibly more, in 2013. (Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations)

Who’s gone

  • K Chance Marden

Projected starters (2012 stats)

  • K/P #17 Seamus McMorrow – So., 5-foot-11, 190 pounds (Punting: 41.7 yard average, 13 punts inside 20 ; Kickoffs: 33 touchbacks)
  • LS #60 Jeff Overbaugh – So., 6-foot-2, 240 pounds (52-52 on PATs, 14-14 on field goals, 48-48 on punts)
  • KR #24 Colin Lockett – RS Sr., 6-foot, 180 pounds (30 kickoff returns, 777 yards, two touchdowns, 25.9 yards per return)
  • PR #41 Tim Vizzi – RS Sr., 5-foot-10, 170 pounds (13 punt returns, 95 yards, 7.3 yards per return)

Key reserves/Players to watch

  • P #77 Joel Alesi – RS Jr., 6-foot, 235 pounds – If punting and kicking duties appear to be too much for McMorrow, expect Alesi to take over as the punter. Alesi saw action in two games in 2012 and punted six times for an average of 43.5 yards per punt, so he is a very reliable option if needed.
  • K #49 Wes Feer – Sr., 5-foot-11, 205 pounds – Similar to the Alesi option, San Diego State could try the combination of McMorrow at punter and Feer at kicker. A junior college transfer, Feer joined the team in the spring of 2012, and he will be determined to compete for the kicking job in his final season.
  • KR #33 Brandon Wright – RS So., 5-foot-11, 205 pounds – In the final three games of the 2012 season, teams were often afraid to kick the ball to Lockett due to his big playmaking ability. Keep an eye on Wright, as he will likely be on the field for kickoff returns as the second return man. Opposing teams may look to kick the ball in his direction to play it safe and avoid Lockett.

2013 Commitments
Currently, San Diego State has no commitments at punter, kicker, or long snapper.

Analysis
For a team replacing its entire kicking and snapping unit, San Diego State exceeded expectations with above average special teams play in 2012. McMorrow and Overbaugh proved to be great finds by the coaching staff, as both came in and played extremely well as true freshmen.

McMorrow was nearly flawless on kickoffs in the second half of the season, recording a touchback almost every time. Look for him to keep the kickoff job in 2013, and possibly be the starting punter and kicker as well. If all three appear to be too much for McMorrow, expect the coaching staff to flirt with the combination of Alesi at punter and McMorrow at kicker or McMorrow at punter and Feer at kicker.

In the return game, playmakers Lockett and Vizzi return in 2013 to lead what should be a key component of the Aztecs’ special teams. Lockett nearly broke the school record for most kickoff return yards in a season in 2012, but was rarely kicked to in the final three games and missed opportunities. He is just 51 yards shy of surpassing the record of former San Diego State receiver Monty Gilbreath (1986-1989) for most career kickoff return yards in school history.

Prediction
McMorrow will have over 40 touchbacks on kickoffs in 2013.


2013 Season Preview: Home
2013 Season Preview: Defensive Line
2013 Season Preview: Linebackers
2013 Season Preview: Cornerbacks
2013 Season Preview: Safeties

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

by Hunter Hewitt

GO 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