SDSU ATHLETICS PRESS CONFERENCE 8/16: BACK TO SCHOOL

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By Liz Alper

Videos courtesy goaztecs.com

For video of women's soccer head coach Mike Friesen and football assistan coach Jeff Horton, click "read more" and scroll down

August 16, 2018 (San Diego) - With a new school year upon us, San Diego State football and women's soccer are gearing up for a new season.  Head coaches Rocky Long, Mike Friesen and baseball coach Mark Martinez (who recently signed a contract extension) and assistant football coach Jeff Horton joined the media today.

Football is two weeks into practice now.  In addition to the new NCAA rule that states that freshmen can only play four games and be redshirted, Long is dealing with a young secondary.  He addressed those concerns.  "I think we have a couple of young safeties who are going to start for the first time who haven't played hardly at all. (The secondary) is the quickest place to lose a game. If they are supposed to cover a guy man-to-man and they don't cover him and that guy catches a touchdown pass, that can lose the game. They should at least be chasing the guy."

Coach gave a scouting report on SDSU's first matchup, Stanford and their standout runningback and 2017 Heisman finalist, Bryce Love. "Stanford is the opposite of us. They have a lot of veteran guys coming back, (Bryce Love) the most notable because he was a great player last year and probably the lead candidate to win the Heisman Trophy this year. He's an unbelievable talent and you're not going to hold a guy like him down. You guys have to control him enough to give you a chance to win the game. But as I say all the time, you know what else they have? A big, strong offensive line. It doesn't matter how good that running back is if those big boys up front don't block very well. They have a big, experienced offensive line. We will have all kinds of issues trying to beat them.
 
"We never focus on one guy. It's an 11 of 22-man guy in a football game. One guy does not win or lose the game for you. Bryce Love will probably have a good day of rushing the ball. Hopefully he won't score too many times so we have a chance to win, but if he was there with a bad offensive line you wouldn't even know who he was. It's an 11-man game, not a one-man game. We don't ever design a defensive or an offensive gameplan around one guy. Our style is to try and run the ball, and keep them off the field. They have trouble scoring if they're off the field. Our plan is to like we always do and try to control the ball and keep them off the field."

Juwan Washington is slated to carry on the tradition of great Aztec runningbacks, but Horton says they don't expect to put too much pressure on him. "...I’m not going to put that pressure on somebody...I know Juwan is ready to assume the role. He’s proven he can make plays at this level. He’s a big-time playmaker. The thing he has to do is just continue what he always does. Nobody is going to gain any yards unless we do a good job of blocking up front and receivers blocking, tight ends and all them. I feel really confident with those guys. That’s what we base our program on, being able to run the football. And we’re anticipating and hopeful that we can continue to do that.”

Horton talked about how Washington compares to Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny. "...He kind of has deceptive speed, so it looks like he’s gliding at times. But when you see him run back the kickoffs for touchdowns or break off long runs, he can certainly go get it. He has a very uncanny way of being able to slide through holes. He’s running behind all of those big guys; the other team doesn’t see him until it’s too late. When he needs to, he can be a physical back. He’s not just a small back, he can bring a little wallop with him. He understands the blocking schemes and what we’re trying to get to.”

Is Washington distracted by the legacy talk?  “No, I think he’s pretty level-headed. I was fortunate enough to recruit Juwan. I know his family. He’s a great young man. I don’t think he gets caught up in all of that. He’s pretty care-free and has a great life to him. He knows the things that are important. He knows what’s important to him and what’s important to this football team. I don’t think he’ll get caught up in all of that stuff.”

Horton talked about developing the fullbacks. "...90 percent of our offense goes through the fullback. So much like Chad Young, Dakota Gordon and Nick Bawden, now it’s Isaac’s turn. Chad Woolsey is a guy that walked on to the program from right here in town. He’s really stepped his game up. He was a tailback for us before. We were a little thin at fullback, so he put on 20 pounds for us. He’s beefed up and he’s as tough as they come. Like Nick, he’s got a big cast on his arm, but I think that will be off by the time the season starts. But if not, with Nick wearing it all last year, we certainly know how to adjust to that.”

Horton praised quarterback Christian Chapman and the receiving core. "...(Christian) does what we want him to do. Very unselfish young man. Each year he’s gotten better. I mean, he’s a coach on the field. He gets us into the right play in the run game. He changes protections. We work hard on our passing game. You’re not going to throw the ball all over the field and run the ball all over the field. It’s not just going to happen. Our strength is running the football. I think over the past several years, we’ve gotten better throwing the football.  I feel very confident in Christian if it came down to it that we could execute and if we had it somebody that was stuffing us on a run then we have to be able to throw the football better. I really feel that we could do that. I think our receiver group is really maturing. It’s a very young group. You have Fred Trevillion who’s a senior and everybody else is really a redshirt freshman or freshman. But there are some big skill kids in there. We’re really excited about two tight ends (Parker Houston and Kahale Warring) that can really play very well.  So I think we’ll be able to hopefully when the time presents itself to be able to get the ball downfield..."

A player that doesn't get talked about a lot is receiver Fred Trevillion.  Coach Horton talked about what he'd like tosee from him. “I’d certainly like to see Fred really step up and be the leader of the receiver group, be much more consistent with his play. He’s a dynamic receiver. He led the nation in yardage per reception last year. Obviously we’d like to get him quadruple what he got last year because he’s a dynamite player like that and he can really stretch the defense and he’d be a big reason for getting those big chunks. I think now that he’s back and has been here over a year, he’s more comfortable with what we’re trying to do and what we’re asking of him. I look for him to have really big year. He’s really worked hard trying to be a leader of the receiving group.”

Horton also scouted Stanford. “I know we’ll have our hands full with them. They’re the 13th-ranked team in the country. They’re big and strong.  These first two weeks (of camp) have been just basically against our defense and going against them trying to implement our offense. Next week, we’ll start going against Stanford looks and scout teams and stuff, then we’ll really hone in on the game plan over those last night practices.”

SDSU takes on Stanford on August 31st at 6 p.m. in Stanford.  Women's soccer starts their season at home on Friday night against New Mexico State at 7 p.m.