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By Liz Alper
Videos courtesy goaztecs.com
For video of Ryan Agnew and Kyree Woods, click "read more" and scroll down.
September 11, 2018 (San Diego) - With a win under their belts, SDSU football head coach Rocky Long and juniors Ryan Agnew and Kyree Woods took the floor on Tuesday afternoon in a much better mood than last week's press conference.
Long jumped right into scouting Arizona State, SDSU's next opponent. "We’ve got another week against a Top 25 team...Once again it’s an opportunity game. They’re a very talented football team and have a lot of skilled players on both sides of the ball. They’re big and strong up front. That’s why they are a Top 25 team right now...Guess who is going to have all of our signals and all of our hand signals? Arizona State is going to have that. We’re not going to have theirs, but they’re going to have ours. Besides being a really good and talented football team, they also have some other advantages. It’s an opportunity for us, but I’d say we are the big underdogs.”
Long talked about what has changed about ASU. "I see a lot of the same athletes out there, but they’re playing at a much higher and more energetic level than they did last year. That’s why they’re playing well. They were a very talented football team last year too, but they didn’t have the spark or energy or want-to that they seem to be playing with right now.”
Agnew is making his first start at quarterback on Saturday. Long was confident. “Ryan’s been around for a long time. He’s a good athlete and a smart guy. He’s prepared himself every week to be the starter and now he gets to be the starter. It will be interesting to see, he’s plenty gifted enough as an athlete and he’s smart enough to have a very good game. But they’re something psychological about coming off the bench as the back-up and saving the day as opposed to being a starter. Some guys handle that very well and some guys don’t. I can’t predict which way. We think he’s going to come off and play very well. That’s our expectation.
"I don’t think he’ll get flustered. He’s a guy who’s been a starting quarterback in high school in a highly stressful situation and he’s played in a couple of games, not a lot, but a couple of games. Nothing will frustrate him that doesn’t every other quarterback in the country...He’s prepared because he’s been here for four years.”
Long scouted ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins and the ASU offense. “He’s a very good athlete that has a very strong arm. He moves around well. He can get out of trouble and make plays with his feet if he has to. He’s a very experienced, good quarterback.
“We’ll be under a lot of pressure. They played a very good football team last week in Michigan State and threw for 380 yards. They were playing a ranked team that was from the Big 10 that has a reputation of playing great defense, and they threw the ball very well and completed a lot of passes.”
Defensive lineman Noble Hall was injured on Saturday. Long talked about how this will impact the Aztecs' defense. "...He’s made a noticeable difference in our run defense and not being in there is going to be a problem for us for however long he is out.”
Agnew is a bit nervous about his first start, but remains confident. “There’s definitely challenges going into the first game. I bet being a starter with Christian (Chapman) for three years, he experienced challenges every single game. I just have to be as calm as I can and trust the guys around me. They did a great job when I came in last game. They trust me. All I can do is do my job, and trust that they’re going to do their job and we’re going to be okay."
Agnew was modest about his resume. “Every single person brings a new skillset to the field. I try to bring the best attributes I can to the field and perform to the best of my ability. I wouldn’t be able to do that without the offensive line. If they don’t protect, I can’t throw the ball. If the receivers don’t run the right routes, I can’t get complete the passes. I don’t think I bring anything too interesting, just executing at a high level and we can do well.”
Agnew has learned a lot from senior quarterback Christian Chapman. “All the intangibles. From the first day I stepped on campus my locker room has been next to him, which has been awesome. Just learning from him, seeing how he carries himself, seeing how he came into his role to become a great leader, a great quarterback and a winner most of all. Not trying to do too much and doing what the coaches ask. Our coaches put us in a great gameplan. We have the best running game in the country. We’ve had that consistently, so you just have to trust that. Do your job and stay within yourself, and everything will work out.”
Woods talked about ASU's defense. They’re very talented in all aspects of their game. I think Coach Long is going to do a good job drawing up something against them. We’re very confident in our game as well. I feel like it’s going to be fun, playing another Top 25 team and getting to compete at a high level. We’re very excited.”
Woods was high school teammates with ASU receiver N'Keal Harry. “...I kind of know what he’s like, but he’s very talented. It will be another challenge for our secondary to get better.
"...I know he’s grown from high school as well as I’ve grown from high school. We’ve learned from different coaches from high school to college. We’ve each added a little bit aspects to our game, but I’m excited to play him again.”
SDSU takes on ASU Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at SDCCU Stadium.