SDSU’s unique defensive scheme nothing new to USD

by Ryan Posner, Asisstant Sports Editor

When most offenses line up against San Diego State’s 3-3-5 defensive formation, it’s the first time that they’ve played against that scheme.

That won’t be the case this Saturday when the Aztecs open their season against cross-town opponent University of San Diego.

That’s because the Toreros played against four teams last season that used the 3-3-5 formation.

“They’re very familiar with the scheme and they have a very good game plan against the scheme,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long said after practice Wednesday.

Long admitted he was a little nervous about USD’s familiarity with the 3-3-5, considering the Toreros return redshirt-junior running back Jonah Hodges, who led the team with 1,214 rushing yards last year.

“I like it when they haven’t seen our defense before,” Long said.  “We have no advantages because they’ve seen (the 3-3-5) so much it’s second nature to them.”

One of Hodges’ best games last season came against a 3-3-5 defense, when he set the USD single-game rushing record with 273 yards against Stetson University.

Knowing that, Long is just hoping to minimize the damage Hodges may produce come Saturday.

“When you play against good running backs you don’t stop them, you try to contain them,” he said. “If you watch him on film he gets a 50- or 60-yard (touchdown) just about every other week. ”

Christian Heyward to miss opener on Saturday

SDSU will be without starting senior defensive lineman Christian Heyward this Saturday due to a knee injury.

Long said that redshirt-freshman Noble Hall will get the start in Heyward’s place and that he will split reps with sophomore Jordan Watson.

The young defensive linemen will be going up against a USD offensive line that returns four of its five starters from last season. Long believes USD will try to “get big up front and pound (the ball).”

Heyward injured his knee in fall camp in August.

Nick Bawden will begin on special teams

One of the unique storylines coming out of SDSU’s fall camp was the transformation of sophomore Nick Bawden from quarterback to fullback.

As a true freshman last year he started against Fresno State University and University of New Mexico, throwing for 147 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, while racking up 43 rushing yards in those two games.

He was one of just 12 true freshman quarterbacks in the Football Bowl Subdivision to log a start last season.

Long expects Bawden to play on Saturday, but it won’t be at fullback.

“He’s going to start on two special team (units),” Long said. “He’s going to probably play there before he plays fullback.”