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


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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

Meet the Aztecs: Q&A with Austin Maass

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Photo Credit: Ernie Anderson/SDSU Media Relations

The fifth in a daily series of Q&A’s with the 2012 signing class.

Austin Maass is a 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive lineman from Mission Viejo, Calif. He had a very successful career at Mission Viejo High School, which is consistently one of the top high school football programs in the state. Maass was a two-time All-CIF and all-state offensive guard in high school.

Maass joins four other offensive lineman in the 2012 signing class. He and the others will be counted on following the 2012 season, as there are currently four seniors on the offensive line who will leave the program after this year.

Maass had ties to San Diego State even before joining the team, as his uncle attended the school and his brother is currently enrolled. He will wear No. 74 for the Aztecs.

GoAztecs.com player profile
Rivals recruiting page 

Q: Why did you choose SDSU?
A: I chose San Diego State because it’s pretty close to home and it was a good fit for me. I felt comfortable here.

Q: How were the summer workouts for you?
A: They were pretty rough, but it’s what I expected and it’s nothing I can’t handle. It’s definitely a lot of hard work.

Q: Have you picked your major yet?
A: I haven’t picked a major yet. I’m still undeclared but I’m leaning towards journalism.

Q: What are you most excited for leading up to your first semester at San Diego State?
A: I’m definitely most excited for the first game against Washington. Hopefully I’ll get to travel up there with the team and see what it’s like. That would be a really cool experience for me.

Q: What do you like to do during your spare time?
A: I like to go fishing during my spare time. I actually went with Seamus (McMorrow) and it was really fun. I like riding my skateboard around too.

Q: Who are your favorite professional sports teams?
A: I’m partial to the Los Angeles Clippers. I also like the Oakland Raiders.

Q: Is there any athlete that you look up to or try to model your game after?
A: I look up to Michael Phelps. I like his work ethic and how he gets the job done.

Q: If you weren’t a football player, what sport would you be playing?
A: I would be playing baseball. I played designated hitter in high school.

Q: What was it like coming from a very successful high school program like Mission Viejo?
A: It was definitely a good feeling being able to win a lot. Hopefully it will carry over here and we can win a lot of games here. I want to carry the winning attitude and mentality here.

Q: What is your most memorable sports moment from high school?
A: My most memorable sports moment was when I hit my 13th home run my freshman year and set the freshman record for my high school.

by Hunter Hewitt

GO AZTECS