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By Liz Alper
Video courtesy goaztecs.com
September 25, 2018 (San Diego) - SDSU football has three wins in a row heading into the bye week and head coach Rocky Long sat down with the media today.
The win against Eastern Michigan was bittersweet. "Coming off a tough victory (vs. ASU), you know, we’re pretty happy about winning that game (against Eastern Michigan) because I think I told you last week that they were going to be that kind of team," Long said. "It was going to be a tough win for us, but the worst part about the situation is we lost a couple of players to injury. How quick they’ll be back nobody knows for sure. So we’re getting younger and younger as the season goes along, which makes it harder to win.”
Long said runningback Juwan Washington doesn't need surgery. “No, there’s a crack in his clavicle somewhere. It wasn’t too bad. It’s still attached, so they think it’ll heal in six weeks on its own.”
The Aztecs have backup backs, but Long said the coaching staff isn't too sure of their abilities. “We’ve got Kaegun Williams, we’ve got Chance Bell, and we’ve got Jordan Byrd and Zidane Thomas. Two of them we’ve actually seen in practice and spring ball, and the other two (Byrd and Thomas) are true freshmen. So other than what they did in fall camp, we don’t know exactly what we’re getting. But we really don’t know with Kaegun or Chance either.
“There is no pecking order yet. We’ve got a little bit of time to figure out who’s going to be the best or the second guy in, and we’ll use this week and next to figure that out. So nobody has been given the backup role yet. Except Chase (Jasmin) won’t get hit as much in practice as he used to...The guys who make the fewest mistakes in practice are going to be the guys that get the first chance..."
What is the coaching staff up to during the bye week? “Locally, the coaches are going out in the morning and they’re getting back in time for meetings and for practice. After our last practice on Thursday, several of our coaches will fly out to different areas of the country and (stay) there on Friday and Saturday and get back on Sunday. A couple of coaches will be here in town going to (high school) games on Friday and Saturday. I haven’t decided if I’m going out to a game or not yet, and I haven’t really looked to see what the big matchups are yet either. But starting Thursday our coaches are already out in the mornings going by the high schools and talking to the high school coaches and all that and then on Thursday night all 10 coaches will be out somewhere for two days recruiting.
“It’s just like a regular week for us Monday through Thursday and then our players will get Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, so it’s nice for them. But once we get into the season, coaches work anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day and it doesn’t change just because it’s a bye week. They’ll be out recruiting instead of sitting in and watching film. So until the season is over, it doesn’t change for a coach. Now for our players I’m sure they’re happy about getting a couple of days off. They’re really happy about it.”
Fullback Isaac Lessard is also injured. Long talked about him and the rest of the team's health. “He’s hurt right now, too. It’s a positive report on him, but we don’t know how quick he’ll be back either. So I told you we’ve got a whole bunch of guys beat up now. We might get one back. (Defensive tackle) Noble Hall might be back for the Boise (State) game. But other than him, we’ve lost some starting players who are standing on the sidelines and watching. So if you lose your starting tailback and your starting fullback, I would say that makes it much harder to run the ball or you’re guessing that the guys coming in can do it, but they haven’t proved they can do it yet.
“I don’t think it’s going to change our offense. We do what we do and then we’re going to try and say next man up and hopefully those guys will perform well, too.”
Long talked about backup quarterback Ryan Agnew's performace. “I think he’s played well. I think coming in as the backup, you hope that they (all) play like he has played to this point. I mean, it’s a very similar situation as Christian Chapman when he took over. When he had to take over, he came in and played really well, too. So that’s a sign that our coaches are doing a good job of recruiting and a good job of coaching because you don’t go in if you don’t have some kind of talent. You probably shouldn’t have been recruited. Obviously, he has the talent to play the position and if you haven’t been coached very well, when you get your chance you don’t play very well. He’s played pretty well, so you’ve got to give the coaches a pat on the back for that, too. But part of that is Ryan’s personality. He was ready, he was ready to have his turn and so far he’s played well.”
Long doesn't believe the bye week makes a difference in preparing for Boise State next week. “I don’t think it makes a darn bit of difference. I don’t. We’re not using this week to prepare for Boise anyway. We’re using this week to try and get all our young guys more up to speed, so we don’t make as many mistakes when we actually play a game. We won’t get into Boise prep until Monday, so we’re not doing anything as far as Boise’s concerned this week.”