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August 5, 2011

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.

Dan: I hate to even ask this because I don't want to jinx anybody, but what is San Diego State's backup plan if Ryan Lindley gets hurt?

It's a question that most people are afraid to ask, because losing Lindley could mean losing all the winning momentum former head coach Brady Hoke brought to Montezuma Mesa these past few years. But, nonetheless, it's a question that has to be addressed, which is why I asked Lindley a little about it last week at Mountain West Conference Media Days.

The backups listed on the depth chart are Adam Dingwell, Ryne Clark and Jake Bernards. And then you have the true freshman Chad Jeffries. But Dingwell will probably be the guy to back up Lindley. The coaches love him, and Lindley does too.

"He's a good player," Lindley said of Dingwell. "I think a lot of it is in the intangibles he brings. He's tough. He's a good athlete. I have to say, especially from Texas, he's a gunslinger. He throws it around."

It isn't quite Dingwell's job to lose yet, though. Lindley said Clark and Bernards are good QBs in their own way. But if I was a betting man, I'd bet Dingwell is Plan B at QB if Lindley goes down.


Josh: What's up with Brian Carlwell and his sixth year?

I had the opportunity to chat a little with Carlwell while the Aztecs were having a little pick-up game at the ARC earlier this week. He told me things with the NCAA are still at a "standstill." He also seemed a bit annoyed at the whole process, because he said he can't apply for jobs or send out film without first knowing what his options at SDSU are.

But, a few weeks ago, an SDSU official told me they don't expect to have a ruling for a "couple weeks." Well, it's been a couple weeks since that conversation, so the NCAA's decision should come down here any day now. I would be shocked, and I would think the Aztecs would be furious, if the decision went into September.


Johnny: There are a lot of returning starters and it doesn't seem like there are a whole lot of burning questions about this year's SDSU football team, so what do you think are some storylines we should keep an eye on in camp?

This is a good question, because I've been wondering about these as well. Obviously there's the receiver situation. When the Aztecs start talking about moving their All-MW corner Leon McFadden over to receiver, the position is in pretty rough shape. But personally, with their depth at tight end, Lindley's confidence in Dylan Denso, their three incoming freshman receivers and stud playmaker Ezell Ruffin over there, I think the Aztecs are going to be fine there.

The storylines I'll be keeping an eye on will be backup quarterback (see Dan's question), kick returner and punt returner. Last year, the Aztecs got little-to-no production out of their return game. They averaged 19.3 yards per kick return (opponents averaged 25.6) and they averaged 6.0 yards per punt return (opponents averaged 9.8). That has to get better. SDSU brought in a mess-load of receivers, running backs and DBs in the 2011 class, so I wouldn't be shocked if the new return man was a true freshman. But other candidates on the team include last year's returners Brandon Davis, Walter Kazee and McFadden, and I'd say King Holder and Ruffin have a pretty good shot at the job as well. We'll see how it plays out during camp.


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