2013 San Diego State football's 10 things to know: Commitment plus geography

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Geography alone suggests that SDSU should always have at least a competitive football program. But until recently that wasn't the case. Commitment and a couple of strong hires have brought the Aztecs to a sustained level of success that they hadn't seen in almost 40 years.

Confused? Check out the glossary here.

1. Staying awake

My first 2013 preview was for a team making its FBS debut: Georgia State. In it, I said the following:

The state of Georgia produced more FBS-level players than all but four states. It produced more than Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas combined. But while Texas, California, Florida and Ohio all have a multitude of FBS programs large and small, Georgia has just two. Well, Georgia had just two. Now there are three.

Really, if you were building a FBS program from scratch, wouldn't Atlanta be just about the best possible location? Atlanta is for all intents and purposes the capital of college football, and GSU won't have to go far to locate talent.

A couple of weeks after that piece, I published a Q&A with new Colorado (and former San Jose State) head coach Mike MacIntyre and asked him why he took the SJSU job in 2010:

I wasn’t even thinking about it, and they called me. I had been out there recruiting for other schools, but I really started looking at San Jose State then. I realized there were only seven Division I [FBS] schools in California. I felt like the supply and demand, the ability to get players there, was extremely good. I felt we could recruit and be successful.

When it came time to write the San Diego State preview, these two pieces came into my mind for what are probably obvious reasons: San Diego State has almost no excuse to ever stink at football. The resources are all lined up. The school doesn't have to go far to find interesting talent, and while the Aztecs aren't going to beat out USC, UCLA, et cetera, for the top-level guys, the second-level guys are awfully good. With a decent commitment and the right hire, SDSU should be somewhere between competitive and good in most seasons.

The key word there, of course, is "should." SDSU hasn't been very good for much of its FBS history. The Aztecs caught fire in the 1970s, first under Don Coryell, then under Claude Gilbert -- they were ranked in parts of four seasons and lost one or fewer games five times between 1969 and 1977, but they went better than 6-5 just twice in the 1980s and four times in the 1990s, and between 2000 and 2008, Ted Tollner, Tom Craft, and Chuck Long combined to average 3.8 wins per season.

SDSU had been to four bowl games in its history before it hired Brady Hoke in 2009; it has now been to three in a row. Hoke stayed for only two years before moving on to Michigan, but to hire Hoke away from his alma mater (Ball State) in the first place probably required proof of improved commitment, and in replacing him with defensive coordinator (and former New Mexico coach) Rocky Long, the program found a solid combination of commitment and quality hires. It is now reaping the rewards. The Aztecs have been good, average, and good again in the last three years and have almost won more games in three seasons (26) than they had in the previous seven (28), and recruiting has picked up to an impressive degree.

This sleeping (medium-sized) giant appears to be awake. Now it has to prove it can stay awake.

2012 Schedule & Results

Record: 9-4 | Adj. Record: 9-4 | Final F/+ Rk: 44
Date Opponent Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L
1-Sep at Washington 12-21 L 27.5 - 29.2 L
8-Sep Army 42-7 W 29.7 - 17.5 W
15-Sep North Dakota 49-41 W 45.8 - 39.3 W
22-Sep San Jose State 34-38 L 36.6 - 30.2 W
29-Sep at Fresno State 40-52 L 32.8 - 40.8 L
6-Oct Hawaii 52-14 W 29.7 - 22.5 W
13-Oct Colorado State 38-14 W 39.9 - 25.1 W
20-Oct at Nevada 39-38 W 22.7 - 23.6 L
27-Oct UNLV 24-13 W 30.2 - 30.9 L
3-Nov at Boise State 21-19 W 25.9 - 19.3 W
10-Nov Air Force 28-9 W 18.7 - 16.8 W
24-Nov at Wyoming 42-28 W 39.7 - 27.5 W
20-Dec vs. BYU 6-23 L 22.4 - 16.4 W
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Points Per Game 32.8 36 24.4 43
Adj. Points Per Game 30.9 45 26.1 47

2. The game changed

When SDSU won nine games in 2010, it was powered by a dynamic, balanced offense that ranked 18th in Off. F/+. The Aztecs regressed on both sides of the ball in 2011 but bounced back last fall, from 66th to 56th in Off. F/+ and from 64th to 36th in Def. F/+. Midway through the 2012 season, however, the balance of a given SDSU game shifted from shootout to grind-it-out.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 5 games): SDSU 34.5, Opponent 31.4 (plus-4.1)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 8 games): SDSU 28.7, Opponent 22.8 (plus-5.9)

Following three straight explosive games (a 49-41 win over North Dakota and losses of 38-34 and 52-40 to SJSU and Fresno State), the Aztec defense began to find its way in the sixth game of the season. Meanwhile, quarterback Ryan Katz was lost for the year early in the Nevada game, and the offense lost its consistency. The result: a few defensive-minded wins over the last half of the season. SDSU beat UNLV by just a 24-13 margin, shut down Air Force, 28-9, and lost the bowl game with former MWC rival BYU by a 23-6 score.

But despite offensive issues, SDSU also scored a program-defining win of sorts: a 21-19 win at Boise State. No, the Boise State of 2012 was not the Boise State we have come to know, but this was still just the second home loss for the Broncos on the blue field since early 2001 (third if you count a 2005 bowl loss to Boston College on that field). It's a big deal. And it showed that, even when beset by a pretty significant injury, the SDSU program was deep enough to not only compete, but potentially beat good teams away from home.

Offense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 61 41 36 48
RUSHING 20 25 20 35
PASSING 107 56 55 56
Standard Downs 36 37 33
Passing Downs 65 24 84
Redzone 65 56 74
Q1 Rk 66 1st Down Rk 37
Q2 Rk 31 2nd Down Rk 63
Q3 Rk 33 3rd Down Rk 44
Q4 Rk 60

3. Doubling down on the run

Despite the loss of running back Ronnie Hillman to the Denver Broncos, SDSU went extremely run-heavy in 2012. They did so even more in the latter half of the season, with the backup quarterback in charge and an improved defense in their back pocket. The Aztecs' nearly 50-50 run-pass split on passing downs was one of the highest ratios in the country; among non-Flexbone teams, SDSU ran less frequently than only four teams (New Mexico, Oregon, Ohio State, Northwestern) on such downs. With explosive running back Adam Muema leading the charge, SDSU was able to protect its backup and stay out of third-and-long disasters, surviving to see another possession.

It's not immediately clear that things will be any different this time around. That improved defense could be even better in 2013, and Muema returns. Plus, SDSU's top two safety-valve receiving options -- tight end Gavin Escobar and receiver Brice Butler -- are gone.

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2013 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Ryan Katz 99 163 1,348 60.7% 13 4 23 12.4% 6.5
Adam Dingwell 6'4, 210 Jr. ** (5.4) 83 144 939 57.6% 8 7 12 7.7% 5.6
Chad Jeffries 6'2, 200 So. *** (5.7)






Darryl Richardson 6'5, 220 Fr. *** (5.5)






4. Do your line some favors

For SDSU's system, Ryan Katz was a pretty good quarterback. He wasn't great, but he was safe in the passing game, with a suitably low interception rate, and he chose good times to tuck and run with the ball, averaging 9.1 yards per carry over about six to seven carries per game (not including sacks). He was solid in the play-action, and he seemed to be a good fit overall.

But wow, did he take a lot of sacks. If he hadn't broken his ankle against Nevada, he'd have quite possibly ended up getting sacked a Tino Sunseri-esque 40+ times. When Dingwell took over, he dropped that sack rate a bit, but he was also a lot less effective throwing the ball, and any sack rate over about five percent means you're taking too many hits. His sack rate was still 7.7 percent.

It appears Dingwell will be the starter this fall, and despite the presence of a new offensive coordinator (Bob Toledo; yes, that Bob Toledo), one can expect another heavy dose of the ground game. But Dingwell is still going to have to pass, and his ability to avoid sacks and prevent disasters will be a determining factor in just how much SDSU can get away with running the ball and moving the chains. SDSU's line had downright awesome rankings on the ground -- this may have been the best mid-major line in the country in terms of run-blocking -- and awful rankings in pass protection, but when the ranks are that far apart, you can probably pin some of the Sack Rate, for better or worse, on the quarterback. For SDSU in 2012, that was very much worse.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
TD Adj.
POE
Adam Muema RB 5'10, 205 Jr. *** (5.6) 237 1,458 6.2 6.1 16 +24.8
Walter Kazee RB 161 822 5.1 4.0 8 -2.5
Ryan Katz QB 46 417 9.1 9.1 4 +15.7
Adam Dingwell QB 6'4, 210 Jr. ** (5.4) 31 170 5.5 3.4 1 +0.6
Chase Price RB 5'8, 200 So. ** (5.4) 29 114 3.9 2.8 1 -3.3
Dwayne Garrett RB 6'0, 205 So. *** (5.5) 7 30 4.3 1.5 0 -1.0
Donnell Pumphrey RB 5'9, 170 Fr. *** (5.5)





Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Yds/
Target
Target
Rate
%SD Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Gavin Escobar TE 67 42 543 62.7% 8.1 22.9% 65.7% 8.0 87.3
Brice Butler WR-X 50 24 347 48.0% 6.9 17.1% 54.0% 7.1 55.8
Colin Lockett WR-Z 6'0, 180 Sr. ** (5.1) 38 20 293 52.6% 7.7 13.0% 47.4% 8.3 47.1
Ezell Ruffin WR-X 6'1, 205 Jr. ** (5.4) 34 17 319 50.0% 9.4 11.6% 67.6% 9.0 51.3
Dominique Sandifer WR-X 31 22 247 71.0% 8.0 10.6% 58.1% 7.8 39.7
Chad Young FB 5'10, 230 Sr. NR 18 18 108 100.0% 6.0 6.1% 77.8% 6.1 17.4
Tim Vizzi WR-Z 5'10, 170 Sr. ** (5.3) 11 9 97 81.8% 8.8 3.8% 36.4% 11.1 15.6
Dylan Denso WR-Z 6'2, 205 Sr. NR 10 4 63 40.0% 6.3 3.4% 50.0% 6.3 10.1
Adam Muema RB 5'10, 205 Jr. *** (5.6) 9 9 147 100.0% 16.3 3.1% 100.0% 9.9 23.6
Walter Kazee RB 9 6 41 66.7% 4.6 3.1% 77.8% 4.2 6.6
D.J. Shields TE 8 6 56 75.0% 7.0 2.7% 75.0% 6.4 9.0
Adam Roberts TE 6'3, 235 Jr. ** (5.4) 4 3 23 75.0% 5.8 1.4% 100.0% 3.5 3.7
Chase Price RB 5'8, 200 So. ** (5.4) 3 1 -2 33.3% -0.7 1.0% 33.3% -1.2 -0.3
Julius Wilson WR 6'1, 175 Fr. *** (5.7)








David Wells TE 6'5, 220 Fr. *** (5.5)








5. A more explosive passing game?

When SDSU did pass in 2012, there were basically two options: dump short to Escobar, receiver Dominique Sandifer, or fullback Chad Young; or go long to Brice Butler, Colin Lockett, or Ezell Ruffin.

Escobar, Sandifer, and Young: 8.9 targets per game, 71 percent catch rate, 11.0 yards per catch
Butler, Lockett, and Ruffin: 9.4 targets per game, 50 percent catch rate, 15.7 yards per catch

Two-thirds of the efficiency options (Escobar and Sandifer) are now gone, and while Young returns, there is a chance that Locket and Ruffin are the leaders of the new receiving corps. In players like Tim Vizzi (82 percent catch rate in 2012), Dylan Denso (61 percent in 2011), and potentially tight end Adam Roberts, there are still some efficiency options, but there is at least a chance that, between the experience on hand and the new coordinator in the booth, SDSU's passing game goes longer, more frequently, in 2013. Of course, aggressive passing means more sacks, so ... we'll see.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 110.9 3.21 3.83 44.7% 79.6% 17.9% 60.3 9.6% 12.3%
Rank 21 19 11 10 7 45 117 122 118
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Career Starts/Honors/Notes
Nik Embernate RG 46 career starts; 2012 1st All-MWC
Alec Johnson C 42 career starts; 2012 2nd All-MWC
Bryce Quigley LT 6'5, 295 Sr. *** (5.5) 25 career starts
Zack Dilley RT 6'5, 295 Jr. *** (5.6) 13 career starts
Riley Gauld LT 7 career starts
Japheth Gordon LG 6'3, 295 Sr. NR 7 career starts
Jordan Smith OL 6'5, 270 So. *** (5.5) 1 career start
Jimmy Miller RG
Paul Rodriguez RT 6'7, 285 So. ** (5.4)
Nico Siragusa RG 6'5, 315 RSFr. *** (5.6)
Kwayde Miller LT 6'7, 305 RSFr. *** (5.6)
Austin Maass C 6'4, 270 RSFr. *** (5.5)
Arthur Flores RT 6'5, 300 RSFr. ** (5.3)
Lenicio Noble OL 6'2, 285 Jr. ** (5.3)

Defense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 39 48 51 46
RUSHING 29 31 31 33
PASSING 66 55 83 46
Standard Downs 40 54 30
Passing Downs 67 60 70
Redzone 71 84 63
Q1 Rk 46 1st Down Rk 31
Q2 Rk 51 2nd Down Rk 77
Q3 Rk 68 3rd Down Rk 70
Q4 Rk 70

6. Opponents knew to pass

Two things were certain in SDSU games: SDSU was going to run, and opponents weren't. The Aztecs and their 3-3-5 attack were stout on the ground, reeling in Top 40 rankings in Rushing S&P+ and all of its breakout components, but while they were also able to rush the passer pretty well, their bend-don't-break pass defense bent quite a bit. And while SDSU returns almost everybody -- seriously, this front six could be really, really good -- the primary losses are at corner, where both Josh Wade and, more importantly, third-round draft pick Leon McFadden must be replaced. McFadden defensed 15 passes in 2012, while returning CBs managed just six. If the secondary was a bit passive with McFadden, it probably will be without him, too.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 109.3 2.72 3.06 35.7% 75.0% 22.5% 118.8 5.6% 8.3%
Rank 30 32 44 27 106 25 34 31 33
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Sam Meredith DT 6'4, 275 Jr. *** (5.5) 13 28.5 3.9% 5.5 1 0 1 0 1
Cody Galea DE 6'3, 265 Jr. ** (5.4) 13 17.5 2.4% 3.5 2.5 0 0 0 0
Jon Sanchez DE 6'2, 265 So. *** (5.5) 13 16.0 2.2% 2 0 0 1 0 0
Jordan Thomas DE 6'1, 255 Sr. *** (5.5) 13 14.5 2.0% 5.5 1 0 0 1 0
Dan Kottman DT 6'1, 245 So. ** (5.3) 10 9.0 1.2% 1.5 0 0 0 0 0
Everett Beed DE 6'3, 255 Jr. *** (5.5) 10 8.5 1.2% 4.5 2 0 0 0 1
Dontrel Onuoha DE 6'2, 265 Jr. *** (5.6) 4 7.0 1.0% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Frederick Trujillo DE 10 5.0 0.7% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Robert Craighead DT 6'3, 265 So. ** (5.3) 8 2.5 0.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Alex Barrett DE 6'3, 245 RSFr. ** (5.4)



Teddy Queen DE 6'1, 245 RSFr. *** (5.5)


Malcolm Jackson DT 6'3, 255 RSFr. ** (5.4)


Fred Melifonwu DE 6'5, 210 Fr. *** (5.6)







7. Slice and dice

SDSU was undersized up front in 2012 -- in a three-man line, you typically want your primary tackle to be bigger than 275 pounds -- and it showed: in short-yardage situation, you could push SDSU around pretty well (106th in Power Success Rate).

But the Aztecs had a quickness advantage that got them out of facing too many short-yardage situations. SDSU was 25th in Stuff Rate (negative plays against the run) and 27th in Opportunity Rate (downfield opportunities allowed for opposing running backs), and almost every reason for these stellar rankings returns. Of the 12 players who logged at least 2.5 tackles for loss in 2012, an amazing 11 return, including active ends Sam Meredith, Jordan Thomas, and Everett Beed and what might be the most effectively active set of mid-major linebackers in the country.

Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Jake Fely MLB 5'10, 210 Jr. *** (5.5) 13 79.0 10.8% 11.5 7 0 2 2 2
Derek Largent OLB 6'4, 235 Jr. NR 13 49.5 6.8% 9.5 6.5 2 3 1 3
Nick Tenhaeff OLB 6'2, 225 Sr. ** (5.1) 13 45.0 6.2% 13 3 0 0 1 0
Vaness Harris OLB 6'2, 255 Sr. ** (5.3) 13 28.0 3.8% 6 3 0 1 1 0
Josh Gavert OLB 6'2, 220 Jr. *** (5.5) 13 21.0 2.9% 4 2 1 0 1 1
Rob Andrews MLB 13 16.0 2.2% 1 0 0 1 0 0
Scott Graves MLB 5'10, 210 Sr. NR 13 8.5 1.2% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jacob Driver MLB 6'2, 220 Sr. ** (5.3) 12 7.5 1.0% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Jack OLB 6'0, 215 RSFr. *** (5.5)
Micah Seau OLB 6'3, 235 RSFr. *** (5.5)
D.J. Hunter OLB 6'0, 210 RSFr. NR

Marcus Stamps LB 6'1, 195 Fr. *** (5.5)






8. Attack, attack, attack

SDSU's top three backup linebackers recorded 11 tackles for loss in 2012. Honestly, I've seen worse totals from some of the starters for the teams I've previewed so far. But SDSU's three starters combined for a downright ridiculous 34 TFLs, 17.5 sacks, seven passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries. This unit has experience and depth, and now it has some interesting three-star youngsters waiting in the wings as well. This front six is all sorts of exciting.

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Nat Berhe AZTEC 5'10, 190 Sr. *** (5.6) 13 81.0 11.1% 2 0 2 5 0 1
Eric Pinkins WAR 6'3, 215 Sr. *** (5.6) 13 55.5 7.6% 7 2 3 2 0 1
Leon McFadden CB 13 53.5 7.3% 2 0 3 12 1 0
Josh Wade CB 13 34.0 4.7% 2.5 0 0 1 1 1
King Holder CB 5'10, 165 Jr. ** (5.4) 13 31.5 4.3% 2.5 1 1 5 0 0
Gabe Lemon WAR 5'10, 195 Sr. ** (5.3) 12 26.5 3.6% 2.5 1 0 2 0 0
Rene Siluano WAR 5'10, 180 Sr. ** (5.4) 8 23.5 3.2% 2 0 1 1 1 0
Marcus Andrews WAR 6'0, 190 Sr. ** (5.4) 13 23.0 3.1% 0 0 1 4 0 1
Pierre Romain CB 5'8, 165 So. NR 13 8.0 1.1% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Darius Guillory AZTEC 5'10, 185 So. *** (5.5) 13 7.0 1.0% 0 0 0 0 0 0
David Lamar CB 6'2, 180 Jr. *** (5.5) 13 6.0 0.8% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brandon Wright WAR 5'11, 205 So. *** (5.7) 12 2.0 0.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Damontae Kazee CB 5'11, 175 So. ** (5.4)

Kendrick Mathis WAR 6'0, 195 RSFr. ** (5.4)

Kalan Montgomery DB 6'1, 170 Fr. *** (5.5)

Tyler Morris DB 6'3, 205 Fr. *** (5.5)

9. Experience, I guess

The "5" part of SDSU's 3-3-5 defense is the most worrisome. You've got basically a fourth linebacker in WAR safety Eric Pinkins doing linebacker things (seven tackles for loss, five passes defensed), but while the safety position as a whole seems to be in good shape, the losses of McFadden and Wade could be tough to overcome. King Holder was actually more aggressive and interesting than Wade last year, but the only other returning corners combined for just 14.0 tackles in minimal playing time. It's impossible to know what SDSU has here, but whatever it is, it might hold the defense back as a whole.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Seamus McMorrow 5'11, 190 So. 41 41.7 7 9 13 53.7%
Joel Alesi 6'0, 235 Jr. 6 43.5 0 4 1 83.3%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB TB%
Seamus McMorrow 5'11, 190 So. 68 62.8 33 48.5%
Wes Feer 5'11, 205 Sr. 5 54.0 0 0.0%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Chance Marden 51-52 8-10 80.0% 2-4 50.0%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Colin Lockett KR 6'0, 180 Sr. 30 25.9 2
Brandon Wright KR 5'11, 205 So. 10 20.8 0
Tim Vizzi PR 5'10, 170 Sr. 13 7.3 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 41
Net Punting 76
Net Kickoffs 61
Touchback Pct 38
Field Goal Pct 65
Kick Returns Avg 24
Punt Returns Avg 76

2013 Schedule & Projection Factors

2013 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
31-Aug Eastern Illinois NR
7-Sep at Ohio State 10
21-Sep Oregon State 25
28-Sep at New Mexico State 123
4-Oct Nevada 74
10-Oct at Air Force 91
26-Oct Fresno State 60
2-Nov New Mexico 122
9-Nov at San Jose State 72
16-Nov at Hawaii 100
23-Nov Boise State 12
30-Nov at UNLV 110
Five-Year F/+ Rk 77
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 86
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* +1 / +3.4
TO Luck/Game -0.9
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 16 (7, 9)
Yds/Pt Margin** -3.1

10. Book the fourth straight bowl

When the 2013 season ends, it is quite likely that SDSU will have attended as many bowls since 2010 (four) as it did from 1969 to 2009. This is going to be a good team. It will be limited by its passing game and pass defense, but the run and run D will be good enough to fend off what is, as customary in the MWC this year, a schedule loaded with what I will politely call winnable games. SDSU plays six teams projected 90th or worse this season and plays host to four of the six teams projected better than that. Beat Oregon State on September 21, and you're potentially looking at a run toward a 10-win season, but even with a loss, seven or more wins is quite likely.

It's impressive how quickly we've become used to this. In terms of five-year averages, SDSU has already established itself as the Mountain West's No. 2 program behind Boise State, and momentum and recent history suggest that the Aztecs aren't really in the mood to go any lower than that. Brady Hoke planted the seeds, Rocky Long has managed the garden nicely (he's even thrown in some algorithm work just to melt my heart cockles), and the future is, like San Diego itself, quite sunny.

More from SB Nation:

Tommie Frazier finally makes College Football Hall of Fame

SB Nation spends NFL Draft night with a first-rounder’s agent

Everything you should know about the SEC Network

The state of the spread: SB Nation with Ole Miss and Mississippi State

National recruiting coverage

Today’s college football news headlines

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.