San Diego State offensive line coach Mike Schmidt talks about where the Boise State win ranks,…
Air Force State of Mind
Wouldn't be able to tell from the Aztec football players.
"Last week was a good win for us," SDSU quarterback Adam Dingwell said. "But last week means nothing if we go out there on Saturday and don't perform as well as we know how to and don't execute. It's fun. It's exciting right when the clock hits zeros. But after that, you're moving on. It may be hard to believe, but that's how we do it around here."
SDSU had their post game celebration in the visitor locker room in Boise (ID) but the victory became a distant memory once the team stepped back on the plane to San Diego.
"It was a win," SDSU center Alec Johnson said. "It felt good. It was sweet, but come Sunday it was over with. We watched the film. There were some things that we could improve on, and we've got to go back to work this week."
How has this team been able to stay so even keeled after such a huge victory?
"That's yet to be seen because we've got two more games to play and this (next) one is important," SDSU head coach Rocky Long explained. "But I think the quality football teams and quality programs in the country learn to treat every week exactly the same. They have the same respect for whoever they're playing. They prepare the same way for whoever they're playing, and they go into the game with the same attitude every week."
"The really good programs in this country in football, guess what? They enjoy it for about 24 hours and then they forget about it. They don't get too excited when it happens because guess what? They expect to win. It's not unusual for them to win. They expect to win. Our team has shown some maturity this year that they've handled those wins pretty good."
So the Aztecs will need to take care of business against Air Force (5-4, 4-1 MW) if SDSU plans to take a step closer to becoming a really good program and Mountain West Conference champions.
"It's pretty much the same as they were last year," Long said. "The year before that, they were more triple-option than they are now, but last year they weren't (running) a lot of triple-option either. They line up in the triple-option formations, but they run more speed-option and toss sweeps and things like that than the other Academy teams do. The triple-option is just a part of their offense. It's not like the other Academies that almost the total offense is triple-option."
What did Army do in their win against Air Force last week (41-21) that the Aztecs can learn from?
"They got ahead. If the game is close, Air Force does a great job of pounding the ball, keeping the ball away from you so you don't have a chance to score points," Long explained. "They've punted a total of 19 or 20 times the whole season, which means they don't have to punt very much. Against Army, they got behind by three touchdowns and then they started throwing the ball a lot more."
San Diego State defeated Air Force 41-27 last year.
The Aztecs are in the middle of a magical run as SDSU holds their own destiny to a conference championship.
"I'm surprised by what I thought we would be at the beginning of the year," Long explained. "I'm not surprised now."
Once the season is over, San Diego State will look to the surprise play of the youngsters after the Aztecs lost 23 seniors.
"At the beginning of the year, I thought that the inexperience we had would have caused us problems throughout the year. Our offensive line developed quicker than I thought and they're getting better every week. The defensive line didn't develop as quickly as I thought they would, but they're playing pretty good right now. Then you have guys stepping up that no one would have guessed that would be playing that well."
Have there been any guys in particular?
"Adam Muema," Long replied. "Everyone was concerned before the season was we lost Ronnie Hillman. I told everybody, but they didn't want to listen because you all know better. Bryce Quigley has really developed into a good offensive linemen."
"Cody Galea has really been playing well on the defensive line. Derek Largent at linebacker, he's exceeded what we thought he would be out of junior college. I could probably list 10, 12, 15 guys if I had a list in front of me and wanted to go that way."
The Aztecs have been relatively healthy this season despite losing starting quarterback Ryan Katz for the season with a broken ankle.
This week has been no different.
Middle linebacker Jake Fely (muscle strain) and guard Nik Embernate (ankle) are both limited participants in practice this week but are expected to play against Air Force.
Wide receiver Dominique Sandifer (ankle) was a full participant and will be a full go on Saturday.
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