Photo: Rocky Long, SDSU News Center
By Liz Alper
December 2, 2015 (San Diego) - With the Mountain West conference championship game just four days away, Aztec football head coach Rocky Long says he views this game as the first game of the year; he is nervous because he knows this is not just another game.
"I'd like to say it's just like any other week, but it's not," Long said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday. "it feels a lot different."
Air Force is a tough opponent, as is any team that makes it to a conference championship. One of their biggest strengths, Coach notes, is the option.
"They are truly an option football team now," Long noted when asked about the option attack. "and then they kill you with the play action pass. I still think it's the best offense ever designed. You cannot stop it on the board. You can't stop it with X's and O's."
In last week's game against Nevada, quarterback Maxwell Smith suffered a knee injury that Long says is serious and will require surgery.
"It's a very serious injury and he's gonna get operated on sometime here soon," Long remarked when asked about the injury. "As soon as the bowl game would be over, he'd be operated on."
However, Long says that Smith wants to try and get some mobility back in his knee so he can play in the bowl game. Throughout the conference, Long lamented that the team only has three days to prepare for the game.
After Smith was injured on Saturday night, redshirt freshman quarterback Christian Chapman took over, and Coach Long was pleased with what he saw.
"I thought he made a lot of good decisions," Long praised Chapman when asked about where he has improved. "when he didn't think he could get the ball in there, he scrambled with it. As long as the running game's going, he'll be just fine."
Offensive lineman Darrell Greene said there's no difference in the offensive line with Chapman controlling the offense.
"Honestly, it's just another person at the helm calling the plays, so there's really no big difference," Greene said.
Greene and safety Malik Smith say that they aren't dwelling on the Aztecs' success this season.
"What we did in the last eight weeks is good," Smith said. "but it doesn't mean anything if we don't win this game."
"It's really just been a week to week type of thing," Greene added. "Going out and just winning games, that's what you're supposed to do."
When asked what the Aztec defense would be doing to prepare for the options and play actions that Air Force will run, Smith said that the defense is going to focus on their assignments and stay focused on the job and their man.