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By Liz Alper
Videos courtesy goaztecs.com
For videos of Agnew, Tenzino and Jasmin, click "read more" and scroll down.
September 18, 2018 (San Diego) - With two wins under their belt now, SDSU football is back to their winning ways and today, head coach Rocky Long, juniors Ryan Agnew and Kyahva Tenzino and sophomore Chase Jasmin sat down with the media.
The Aztecs face Eastern Illinois on Saturday. Coach Long scouted them. “I think it’ll be interesting to see how this game is played and how it turns out because my experience is that every time you play a school from this league (Mid-American Conference), there’s one thing you’re going to be sure of: they’re going to be physical, they’re going to be tough, they’re going to play you hard all the way to the end. I’ve got great respect for that league and how they play football. This team has shown in their first three games that they can move the ball. They’re averaging way over 400 yards a game, they’re averaging right at (35) points per game. They run the spread, they’ve got a two-quarterback system... They haven’t played anybody that runs the kind of offense that we run yet, so it’s kind of a guessing game on how they’re going to play defense against our offense, too. So going into the game we don’t know what to expect other than that they’ll be tough. They’re big, too. They’re a strong, physical football team and they’ll be tough. Any team from that league is tough."
Aztec kicker John Baron was named Mountain West Player of the Week this week. Long talked about him. “We’ve got the best of both worlds. We’ve got a really good kicker and he tells me when he can make it and when he can’t. I mean, he’s honest about it, so I go to him and I say ‘Can you make it from here?’ If he says no, we either punt it or go for it. If he says yes, we send him in the game. So far he’s been right every single time. He’s been around a while and he’s been a good kicker for us for a long time.”
Long talked about if the running game would be key to winning against Eastern Michigan. “For us to win, we’re going to have to run the ball well. Now, this is a typical team from that league, they’re huge. They’re huge up front on offense and they’re huge up front on defense. The size they have on defense, they have some quality linebackers, too. That lends you to believe that they can play against the run pretty well..."
Long talked about backup running back Chase Jasmin and his confidence in him. “We already had the confidence in him, that’s why he was the backup. But he proved it to everybody else that he’s a quality running back, so the tradition continues, which is a good deal where you have a starter and a backup who both can play. That’s a great tradition to have.”
He also praised Tenzino. “He’s a good player... Last year, he hadn’t started around here and we had some injuries, so we put him in the game and it made us all look bad because he should have been playing all along...He’s having a great year so far.”
Tenzino credited his teammates. “I just need to give thanks to all of my teammates. They push me every day – the offense, Ryan Agnew, Chase Jasmin – they push me every day to get better. I can’t forget about my linebacker room. Those guys right there, we bring each other up when we’re down and we praise each other when we’re high. Right now I’m at my highest and I just feel like it is all because of my team, and I thank them.”
Long scoffed at the idea that Eastern Michigan would have difficulty because of having to play in the Pacific time zone. “I’ve been around a long time, that’s all made-up stuff. I can remember coaching at a school that was at 7,500 feet (elevation) and a team from Hawai’i came there to play and they were losing and they couldn’t catch their breath. Well, two years after that they came to the same school that was over a mile high and they were playing really good and they never got tired. I think that these are in-shape athletes that can perform at any level and (in) any time frame no matter what the situation is. That’s good reasoning, though, I guess. Scientifically that’s good reasoning, but as a football player it means nothing.”
Agnew talked about the challenges Eastern Michigan poses. “Coming into every single week, it’s going to present a new challenge. We know Eastern Michigan is going to be a very physical football team and they’re going to come with it. Like we said, Northern Illinois last year was a very good football team and they play in the exact same league and they have the exact same mentality and they are going to be a big, bruising football team that is going to want to come in here and win. We’ve just got to put last week behind us and really get prepared for this week because we know it’s a tough challenge.
“I think the expectations are just to perform to the best of our ability. The coaches are going to put in an outstanding game plan and our job is to go out there and execute it as best as we possibly can...We don’t really try to worry about the people on the other side of the ball; we focus on what we can do, how we can get better, how we can improve. On Saturday nights, we see the results and see where we are.”
He praised his offense. “The sky is the limit with this offense. We have great offensive linemen, I’m sure Chase can attest to that. We have many running backs – not just Chase, not just Juwan – but we have many guys that can make plays in the running game and the receivers that can block outstanding tight ends that block outstanding. When that gets clicking, then we can start throwing the ball around because they’re going to stack the box on us. We’re really just trying to improve in every aspect. It was really good to see the running game come alive, especially against a defense that prides themselves on stopping the run. It was really nice to see.”
Jasmin feels honored to be the next running back in a long line. “Well, it’s pretty spectacular. I came in as a freshman in the running back room with Donnel Pumphrey, Rashaad (Penny), Juwan (Washington)— a lot of great backs. A legacy of great backs have come here. To be able to help the team from that position, it means a lot and it’s a lot of responsibility, and I take it with one hundred percent dignity and respect.”
SDSU takes on Eastern Michigan Saturday at 7:30 p.m.