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SDSU’s second-team defense falls flat, Washington impresses

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SDSU’s second-team defense falls flat, Washington impresses

Patrick Carr, Sports Editor

Patrick Carr, Sports Editor

Patrick Carr, Sports Editor

by Patrick Carr, Sports Editor

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San Diego State football’s first-team defense has been praised, written and talked about a lot this summer.

And with eight starters returning from a unit that ranked 14th in the country in points allowed per game and 21st in yards allowed per game a season ago, optimism is understandably high.

But the newcomers and second-stringers on defense aren’t even close to matching the starters.

Tuesday’s practice had a scrimmage toward the end that featured mostly second-team players. It was rusty and unrefined on both sides of the ball, but that’s to be expected after just five practices.

What might not be as expected is the critical assessment by head coach Rocky Long, who said it looked like “a high school game.”

“Doesn’t look like real football to me. Great high school teams don’t play like that either,” he said.

When the first-team defense matched up against the first-team offense, one could hear the pads cracking from the sidelines. It was another story when the second team defense took the field.

“It didn’t sound the same, did it?” Long said.

Long said the key to fitting in on the defense is understanding the assignments and being smart. Since the defense is different than most and runs many different sets, there’s a lot of moving parts and it goes past just hitting.

Centers miss the mark

A scary prospect for the Aztecs is who will start at quarterback and will that quarterback have any competent receivers to throw to after Ezell Ruffin’s departure.

Those questions are still to be answered. In the meantime, SDSU hasn’t named a starting center.

And judging by Tuesday’s array of miscues, no one made a name for themselves. Projected starter junior Arthur Flores has never played a snap of college football in his life. At 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, he’s one of the smaller projected starting offensive linemen.

Flores routinely misfired snaps, which forced quarterbacks into awkward situations. A low snap to redshirt-freshman Christian Chapman during 8-on-8 drills forced Chapman to scrap the play and run. The very next snap, junior quarterback Jake Rodrigues had to jump to catch it.

The story was mostly the same for sophomore Sergio Phillips, who also took reps at center Tuesday.

If the center can’t reliably snap the ball to the quarterback, it won’t matter if senior Maxwell Smith, Chapman or Rodrigues get the starting nod.

Stamps avoids surgery, Washington impresses

Sophomore running back Marcus Stamps suffered a foot injury during Saturday’s practice. Coaches feared it was a Lisfranc injury, which would have required surgery and three months on the sidelines.

Long and company dodged their first bullet of the season when Stamps’s MRI results came back and showed no major joint or ligament damage, but a sprained foot that’ll keep the 6-foot-1, 215-pound back on the injury list for 2-4 weeks.

Stamps had eight carries for 64 yards last year.

The running back position is easily the deepest on the team, so Long shouldn’t be too concerned about losing the running back who’s No. 4 on the fall depth chart.

Freshman running back Juwan Washington broke tackles and turned a lot of heads when he broke for a 65-yard touchdown during the scrimmage toward the end of Tuesday’s practice. Washington ran up the middle, bounced off of two defenders and sprinted toward the left and didn’t get caught.

That was the icing on a fine day for Washington, who saw a lot of reps and showed off his speed and agility.

That big run, though, was against the second-string defense. Two plays later, while lining up against the first-team defense, Washington ran up the middle and was hit so hard by senior linebacker Jake Fely that Washington’s helmet came off and he suffered a cut on his head.

Injury report

Senior wideout Jemond Hazely lightly practiced Tuesday. Long said that Hazely had a minor hamstring injury and shouldn’t be out too long.

Senoir defensive lineman Sam Tai “tweeked” his left knee earlier in the week and did some workout activities on the sideline.

Quotable

Junior running back standout Donnel Pumphrey after watching Washington run up the middle, bounce off of tacklers and outrun the defense for a 65-yard touchdown.

“House call!”

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