San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Conference championship, fundamentals a focus for Greg Bell in 2021

Kyle Betz
San Diego State football senior running back Greg Bell makes a Hawaii defender miss during the Aztecs’ 34-10 win over the Rainbow Warriors on Nov. 14, 2020 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.

When observing spring ball before the 2020 San Diego State football season, onlookers saw a swarm of running backs fighting for a starting job.

One man was held back. A freak eye injury cost him his 2019 season and valuable practice time during camp.

Did that stop senior running back Greg Bell? No. No, it did not.

Bell proceeded to rush for 637 yards on 113 carries (5.6 yards per rush) while finding the back of the endzone six times during the 2020 season.

He could’ve left after his senior season to the greener pastures of the NFL. Instead, Bell is back with his eyes on the greatest prize of them all: bringing a championship to The Mesa.

“I just think it’d be big to do it from my hometown,” Bell said. “A lot of people know me out here, and I think it’d be huge to do it out here for this school in San Diego.

So far, Bell has made up for the time he lost last season. While he is already an exceptional runner, the senior has been focusing on parts of his game that need improvement.

During a scrimmage last week, Bell made two catches on 3rd and long situations to secure first downs.

While two catches may seem trivial, they didn’t go unnoticed by offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski.

During a media presser, Hecklinski revealed that Bell had been spending extra time working on his pass-catching ability.

“Greg, at times last year, would lose focus in the passing game,” Hecklinski said. “He’s really worked hard from what I’ve seen… he really does a nice job of catching the football and he’s really focused on improving his hands and improving himself in the passing game.”

Another aspect Bell has been working on during camp: blocking, which is something that can be overlooked by other running backs.

In a heavy-RPO system, it is imperative that a running back prepares himself for the possibility of the quarterback keeping the ball to make a pass.

When that happens, the back becomes either a check-down option or, in most cases, a blocker.

Hecklinski has already praised Bell for his work, but the senior has continued to fine-tune the fundamentals.

“Fundamentals are gonna get you through stuff like blocking,” Bell said. “You can be fundamentally sound and it’s gonna make it easier to block people.”

The bond Bell shares with his fellow backs may be more important than any cut or any catch he will make as an Aztec.

The running backs aren’t just competing against each other for a starting spot — they want to make each other better through competition. Each back understands that to a T.

“No one’s hating on each other and nothing like that,” Bell said. “If someone breaks off a long run, we’re congratulating that person… it’s a great (running back) room.”

About the Contributors
Jason Freund
Jason Freund, Sports Editor
Jason Freund is a journalism major from Santee, Calif. He hopes to become a sports journalist for a Major League Baseball team or a reporter for another major sport. In his free time, Jason enjoys listening to music, going to the gym and watching baseball. Jason began writing for The Daily Aztec in October 2019 and also writes for the East Village Times. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonfreund_.
Kyle Betz
Kyle Betz, Sports Editor
Kyle Betz is a fourth-year journalism student at SDSU and 2020-21 marks his fourth year reporting for The Daily Aztec. The Lake Forest, Calif. native has covered numerous sports as a writer, editor and media contributor. An avid fan of the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Lakers, Manchester United and Anaheim Ducks, Kyle enjoys watching and attending sporting events, listening to music, going to the beach and spending time with friends and family in his free time.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Conference championship, fundamentals a focus for Greg Bell in 2021