Spring football game provides glimpse into future

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Spring football game provides glimpse into future

Sophomore running back Chance Bell carries the ball during the Aztecs spring football game on March 23 at the SDSU practice field.

Sophomore running back Chance Bell carries the ball during the Aztecs spring football game on March 23 at the SDSU practice field.

Kareem Jones

Sophomore running back Chance Bell carries the ball during the Aztecs spring football game on March 23 at the SDSU practice field.

Kareem Jones

Kareem Jones

Sophomore running back Chance Bell carries the ball during the Aztecs spring football game on March 23 at the SDSU practice field.

by Aaron Tolentino, Assistant Sports Editor

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Over 1,000 fans watched the White team defeat the Black team, 15-0, in San Diego State football’s annual spring game on Saturday afternoon at the SDSU Practice Field.

Senior quarterback Ryan Agnew and senior running back Juwan Washington did not play for precautionary reasons.

The search for Ryan Agnew’s backup

Junior Jordon Brookshire, sophomore Mark Salazar and redshirt freshman Carson Baker all took snaps under center.

Brookshire went 4-for-6 on 22 yards passing, Salazar was 10-for-17 for 61 yards and Baker finished 8-for-15 for 96 yards, recording the game’s only touchdown pass on a pass to sophomore wide receiver Kobe Smith.

Long said he saw the quarterbacks progress from an anemic first half to improvement in the second half.

“I didn’t think we threw it worth a darn in the first half,” Long said. “The quarterbacks started to throw the ball a little bit better in the first half.”

SDSU’s transition to the spread formation is an adjustment for its quarterbacks as they have gotten used to primarily lining up under center.

Brookshire is the exception because he played at Laney College last year, where he was primarily in shotgun formation.

Baker and Salazar, on the other hand, both practiced and played taking most snaps under center all of last year.

It showed early in the first quarter for Baker, who botched two snaps in shotgun formation.

That might not have helped Baker earn Long’s blessing to be Agnew’s backup.

“You’d like to go through a game or scrimmage without any turnovers,” Long said. “Obviously, when a quarterback makes a mistake like that, it hurts his chances of playing.”

Long said all the quarterbacks showed promise, but Salazar impressed him the most.

“All of them did a little something good. I thought Mark Salazar threw the ball the best out of the three,” Long said. “I thought he moved the ball well.”

Uncertainty on who will be Juwan Washington’s backup

Washington seemed to be ready to play since he was fully dressed and had his helmet on.

Instead, he watched Bell, junior Chase Jasmin, sophomore Jordan Byrd, sophomore Kaegun Williams and redshirt freshman Zidane Thomas all compete to be his backup in the fall.

Jasmin led the Aztecs with 16 attempts and 65 yards on the ground but did fumble. Bell had 38 yards on 13 carries. Byrd had eight yards on 10 carries. Williams had five carries for five yards.

None stood out in the eyes of Long.

“I don’t know. They all looked about the same to me,” Long said.

The backup situation is similar to what SDSU went through during fall camp last year, specifically when no one stood out during last season’s Fan Fest scrimmage at SDCCU Stadium.

“I wouldn’t say that any of them looked like the backup running back to me,” Long said then.

Having a stout backup rusher would end up being vital for the Aztecs, especially after Washington broke his collarbone and missed four games.

Banged-up offensive line

The Aztecs’ offensive line only had nine available players.

They were so depleted with injuries that the offensive linemen wore gray jerseys, apart from everyone else, so they can play for both the Black and White teams.

The big boys up front would often jump from one team to another, so both teams could have an offensive line.

Long said it was good the offensive line got plenty of practice, but that the extra workload for this unit is only temporary.

“It’s difficult on them,” Long said. “In the fall, we’ll have a lot more offensive linemen that are healthy, and they won’t have to do that in the fall.”

The Aztecs rushed for a total of 107 yards on 59 carries, averaging 1.81 yards per carry.

Despite those numbers, sophomore running back Chance Bell said he ran behind a tough offensive line.

“(They showed) a lot of heart,” Bell said. “I know they were working hard and they got tired out there, but they kept pushing threw it and that’s what matters.”

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