AZTECS ATHLETICS PRESS CONFERENCE 8/17: A NEW SEASON

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Story by Liz Alper

Videos and quotes courtesy goaztecs.com

Click read more to see Mike Friesen's (women's soccer head coach) video

August 17, 2017 (San Diego) - A new Aztecs football and soccer season is upon us and today, head coach Rocky Long and SDSU women's soccer head coach Mike Friesen sat down with the media to give the inside scoop.

“We’re right in the middle of training camp right now. There are some signs of improvement even though we’ve got a long way to go until we’re worth me saying we are a good football team, because we are not right now.” Long warned in his opening statement.  We’ve made some improvement in some positions - our wide receivers have made good improvement, and we have a couple of safeties that are playing well and look like they might be able to play this year. That’s a good sign.

“I don’t know if we’ll come together or not, but I don’t lose any sleep over it because I’ve been (coaching) for a long time...You never know (how good you are) until you play somebody else...I’ve been through that enough now where it doesn’t make me lose sleep at night.”

Yes, Long did mention the chicken pox problem that plagued the Aztecs and canceled practice on Monday. ““I’m afraid to say because I don’t want to jinx us, but we’ve gone two straight days without any new cases. So far it looks like we’ve got it under control. We’ve still got a few guys who aren’t back to practice yet, but (the athletic training staff) thinks they will be back real soon.  It’s slowed things down for the kids who aren’t practicing, but the guys who continue to practice are obviously making progress. It’s not going to hurt our football team by any means…”

After Long gave some position updates, Friesen took the mic. “Pretty excited about this team,” he opened with. “Good group of players. We feel like we’re very talented and ready to make another run at some Mountain West championships.

“Team chemistry and their work ethic is very good...Certainly things that we’re going to have to get better at...I think this is a team that is talented, is good, and that is going to play some really good soccer. I think they’re in a really good spot right now and obviously we’re going to have to get better every game to play in order to play at the highest level. I’m excited. There’s nothing in particular that stands out right now that’s like, ‘Oh, this is a problem for us.’ In fact, it’s probably a little better than I expected from the group to this point.”

Friesen talked about the team’s identity this season. “We’re going to be a team that puts the ball on the ground and plays, so possession is a big part of who we are. We’re very athletic in a couple key areas, our center backs are very athletic, our wide strikers are athletic so we’re going to stretch the game a bit. But really our focus is on possession...we’re going to be gritty and tough, and then when we get it, we’re going to play and be creative.”

Will a win tomorrow night at UCLA set the tone for the rest of the season? “Absolutely. It really is a win-win for us. If you look at the game, where we are, right this minute, if we win the game, it’s a big-time win for us, it’s an upset.”

SDSU women's soccer takes on UCLA tomorrow night in Los Angeles at 7:00 p.m.  Aztecs football opens on September 3.