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February 3, 2012

Mailbag on the Mesa

Editor's note: Every Friday ASR Publisher Edward Lewis will answer some questions from fans about the Aztecs in this weekly mailbag. Send questions to edwardflewis@yahoo.com, @EdwardLewisASR on Twitter, post questions on the message board or put questions on ASR's Facebook page.

Dillyactive1958: I see spring football is just a few weeks away, why does it come so soon into the offseason weight lifting program? Most schools don't start spring ball 'till end of March time so that their kids can get significant results in the strength and conditioning program. Seems odd to me, what's your take?

It seemed odd to me a few years ago too when Brady Hoke started this whole San Diego State trend of February spring ball. But he made some good points as to why the Aztecs should do it, and I guess it's something Rocky Long has decided to carry on now.

Hoke said because of SDSU's spring break, which is almost always scheduled for the last week in March, he decided to bump up spring drills so the Aztecs' practices wouldn't coincide with the break. He also said he would rather move spring ball earlier so he and the coaching staff could use late March and April to better recruit, rather than focus on spring practices. Finally, his last main reason for it was guys tend to get beat up in spring ball, and if you have spring practices later in the year, and someone breaks something, they have a lesser chance of being ready for opening day. I know that happened with a couple of guys in Hoke's era, specifically Walter Kazee one year, who broke his ankle in spring practice but was ready for fall ball because of the bumped up spring training dates.

I'm sure Long has his reasons for doing it as well, one most likely being continuity, but all of those reasons are probably slight variations of Hoke's rationale.



Rick: You wouldn't by chance have a good OL coach in your back pocket would you?
Are there any Aztec alums being considered?


For the reported $150,000 salary that Dan Finn left in his wake, I'll certainly take that job. But in all seriousness, you could tell Long knew Finn was a goner when I chatted with him about it on Wednesday afternoon. So I asked, "Do you have any replacements in mind?" He said he has "two or three guys in mind," then laughed and said, "Am I going to tell you who they are? No, I'm not going to tell you. They've got jobs too, you know."

That tells me he's looking at guys from other schools, not necessarily unemployed ex-Aztecs or anything like that. But your guess is as good as mine as to who those two or three guys are. If you really wanted to start digging, I would start with some of his old staffs and old coaches. His O-line coach for a year back in New Mexico was Jason Lenzmeier, and he's back with UNM now after spending a few years in which he apparently did a pretty good job at New Mexico State. But that's purely speculation. We'll let you know when we get some concrete names.


Krish: It appears the QB position is going to be wide open. My question would be if you foresee Rocky rotating quarterbacks throughout the year? Or at least early on? Does he have a history of doing so? Or does he have a philosophy of going with one guy only?

Unless Ryan Katz wildly underperforms or is unbelievably overrated in terms of hype and recruitment, I just can't see any way he loses out on this job. Adam Dingwell and Jake Bernards have supposedly come a long way from last season, but whenever I hear those two names, I just can't get last summer's training camp out of my head where they just didn't look good at all. Heck, Long never officially named a No. 2 quarterback last year because neither of them could separate themselves from each other. So Katz I think is going to ultimately end up being the guy, and unless he struggles mightily, which I doubt a fifth-year Pac-12 senior QB will, I don't think you'll see a quarterback rotation this season.

As for your question about Long's philosophy in rotating quarterbacks, he has done it in the past. Most recently at New Mexico when they were grooming Donovan Porterie and he was going through growing pains. But I think that was mostly because he got tired of seeing bad quarterback play and wanted to try to find somebody who could solidify that position. I think he'd much rather have one guy and stick with him throughout the year.


Chase: What's the 2012 basketball recruiting scene looking like? Any updates?

This is by far the most-asked question I get in these mailbags. And I know it's been a while since I answered one of these, so I'll shoot it to you here again. That last scholarship looks like it will go to Winston Shepard, Norvel Pelle, Anthony January, or nobody.

With Shepard, he's visiting tomorrow and will be in attendance for the TCU game at Viejas Arena. I'll have a message board post up about Shepard and the visit later today, so keep an eye out for that.

As for Pelle, nothing has changed with him, even though he visited SDSU last month. It still looks like he'll take his recruitment down to the wire, and may even participate in the AAU circuit in late spring to try to pick up some more attention. So I don't anticipate anything changing with him for a while.

Finally, with January, he's an absolute animal on the court, and any school would be lucky to have him. SDSU still wants to wait and make sure his grades and eligibility are in line before it does give the offer, however.


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