Now that the bye week has ended, the San Diego State football team is beginning to prepare for the start of Mountain West Conference play.
The bye week came at a good time for SDSU who had time to move on from the Michigan loss and start preparing for the TCU Horned Frogs. Here are some of the storylines from the first five weeks of the Aztecs’ season.
Defense still has room to improve
The SDSU defense has endured a number of ups and downs this year. When the defense had some trouble in the early goings against Army, Washington State and Michigan, the unit rebounded well in the second half to finish the game strong.
The defense also has a knack for causing turnovers this season. The Aztecs have already forced 12 takeaways through four games. Those numbers haven’t impressed head coach Rocky Long, who doesn’t think the defense is where it should be at this point of the season.
“Defense is not anywhere close to where we want it to be,” Long said. “We’re giving up too many big plays.”
Both Michigan and Washington State had a number of big plays against Long’s 3-3-5 defense. Long said the design of the defense might have something to do with the number of plays that have gone from big yards.
He also said the defense is supposed to counter with big plays of its own, but they haven’t made enough big plays.
“The style of defense we play, we do give up some big plays but we’ve been giving up too many of them,” Long said. “It’s supposed to balance out. For every big play you give up, you’re supposed to make a big play on defense. I’m not sure it’s balancing out yet.”
Bye week timing
The bye week seemed to come at a perfect time for SDSU, who had time to recoup from an emotional loss at Michigan. The extra time was also beneficial in preparing for TSU’s Horned Frogs, a team just as good as the Wolverines.
“We’re moving on and getting ready for probably a better football team,” Long said. “TCU is probably a better football team than Michigan.”
TCU lost a number of players from its Rose Bowl Champion team of a season ago, but the Horned Frogs are a contender for the MW championship this season.
The TCU game will be the beginning of conference play for the Aztecs.
Getting a bye week in to prepare for the rigors of the MW should be beneficial for the team.
“I don’t think you ever want to go into a bye week with a loss,” senior quarterback Ryan Lindley said. “But I think timing wise, it’s a good time to regroup, get ready for conference play and just kind of hone in.”
At the weekly press conference last Tuesday, Lindley, junior defensive back Larry Parker and senior defensive lineman J.J. Autele said they had no problem with Long not letting the players talk after the Michigan Loss. Lindley noted the players were upset and didn’t want the opportunity for somebody to slip up and say something they would have regretted.
According to a report by The San Diego Union-Tribune, junior linebacker Rob Andrews will be out six to eight weeks with a broken foot. Andrews has 17 tackles so far this season and is the sixth-leading tackler on the team.
Lindley said he wasn’t paying attention to the criticism from the media he received after the Michigan loss
“My freshman year is probably the last time I’ve looked at the paper,” Lindley said. “I’ve learned since then to stay away from that. Whatever you guys say, good or bad, everybody but me is looking at it.”