Since early October, 2017 a month’s worth of information has accumulated, thus I must respond.

Certainly, San Diego State University’s decision to become a competitor of FS Investors (Soccer City) changes the San Diego community view and prompts the choosing of sides, which is not unfortunate, rather necessary.  Are you a supporter of a university educating 30,000+ students or do you pine for retail and office space?

Once SDSU decided to employ Populous to develop and present the site design, any hint of amateurism or lack of commitment on SDSU’s behalf disappeared.  Any CSU campus committing $100,000 for stadium/site renderings is rare air.  Populous also brings familiarity given their development of Petco Park, to say nothing of several other football and soccer stadiums worldwide.

Populous hinting at the inclusion of soccer stadium design elements is strictly fodder for San Diego soccer fans, who are uncomfortable with FS Investors soccer/retail vision, to support SDSU West in hope of one day attending an MLS game.  I doubt SDSU will chase any MLS opportunity given the dicey financial nature of most MLS franchises.  The funding challenges facing SDSU are significant.  Adding a tenant who may (implying may not) make the lease payments on time is risky and unnecessary.  Inviting the Chargers, Rams and another NFL team to play August exhibition games is a guaranteed full stadium and tidy rental fee with no long-term commitment or presence of a tenant.

After partnering with Populous, the university hired PCI Consultants to launch and secure a signature drive to place SDSU West either on a ballot (6/18 or 11/18) or in front of the San Diego City Council for approval.  What could have been an unorganized gaggle of SDSU alumni and students sprinkled throughout the city and county without any signature gathering experience is now a well-coordinated army of signature gatherers stationed in front of mega-shopping centers, grocery stores and malls as of October 21, 2017 through the next ten weeks (ending just prior to January 1, 2018).  Oh, yes, do include the Aztec home games during that time frame.  To say nothing of campus.  Tens of thousands of Aztec alumni and students is the ultimate captive audience.  The required 71,646 signatures for the ballot initiative will be easily eclipsed by 25,000 to 30,000 at the end of the year.  I find intriguing the City Council option of approving SDSU West without the necessity of a ballot measure (this possibility was implied in Roger Showley’s UT article dated 10/19/17).  Why have a messy election if we can receive a stamp of approval instead?

Speaking of the San Diego City Council, council member Chris Cate’s illegal delivery of city documents pertaining to Soccer City to FS Investors will develop into a festering wound that drains away some public support for Soccer City.  I do not propose that Mr. Cate’s entry into UPS/Fed Ex competition makes for a complete collapse of Soccer City, but his foolish action and unapologetic response will irk San Diego citizens who have no patience for politics as usual.  If Mr. Cate’s illegal activity blossoms into charges filed by the Attorney General of California, Soccer City will find itself unwittingly, but deservingly, attached to Mr. Cates legal woes.  Expect SDSU supporters to emphasize that connection without mercy.

The San Diego City Council and Mayor Faulconer must acknowledge that SDSU West provides something more than a retail opportunity (stressed by FS Investors) and the associated minimum wage/low paying jobs.  Does San Diego want or need another Fashion Valley?  SDSU West is an investment in not only SDSU’s ability to absorb a student population increase of 50% by 2030, but also employment opportunity for professors, researchers, university administration and support as well as the continued education of what becomes a legion of California taxpayers.  Nothing beats a solid base of taxpayers in maintaining not only a city or region, but also the financial vitality of a state.  Would San Diego citizens rather enjoy the benefit of university based jobs paying between $40,000 to $125,000+ annually or the thrill of minimum wage moans of young adults stuck in the vortex of low paying jobs?  Kevin Acee’s 11/3/17 UT article sums the choice nicely:  “My sole desire is to see whatever is done on the property be the best for San Diego’s economic and cultural advancement . . .”  Indeed.

As for the money to develop the area and football stadium, SDSU currently sits on $150 million, an amount of money that needs to increase.  The university recently completed a ten-year fund-raising effort that resulted in $815 million for all things Aztecs.  SDSU administration and alumni have substantial fund raising skills.  The school can issue construction bonds to cover some costs.  Stadium and field (always separate the two) naming rights will generate significant sums of money for the school to payoff said bonds.  In addition to generous current and, no doubt, future donors, SDSU can use funds from the Campanile Foundation to assist in developing SDSU West.  Too many San Diego citizens forget that SDSU continues to undergo impressive physical change on campus.  Money is found for priority campus projects.  Money will be found for SDSU West.

The next time you drive past SDCCU (I prefer the Murph), would you rather see a university or a retail outlet in its place?

 

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As mentioned during my MWC football preview, San Jose State has a lot to fix.  A lot.  New coaching staffs are usually (with Fresno State the exception) a recipe for a long year.  San Jose State’s 1-9 record is proof.  But, Spartan faithful, your new coaching staff will right the football program.  Patience will pay.  Trust me.

Where to begin?  The Aztecs took the words “run” and “rush” to new definitions.  554 total yards rushing is, as an acquaintance says, “bat shit crazy”.  Indeed.  Rather than lob the usual acclaim at Rashaad  Penny and Juwan Washington, I want to applaud the play of Chase Jasmin (14/86, 5.9 yards per rush), Tyler Wormhoudt (7/45, 6.4 yards per rush) and Chad Woolsey (5/23, 4.2 yards per rush).  This trio rushed for 154 yards combined.  Well done.

Our run game allowed us a shining 11/13 on third down.

We did not punt.  Not once.

SDSU had 31 first downs (SJSU had 8).  Christian Chapman and Ryan Agnew were a combined and meager 6/7, yet averaged 15.7 yards per completion.  Thank you, wide receivers and Nick Bawden (nice catch while wearing a catcher’s glove).

The Aztecs had the ball for 43+ minutes.  In case you forgot, 60 minutes makes a game.

On behalf, of the San Jose State punter, he is a draft pick.  Almost 49 yards per punt.  As often as he punts, I’m guessing he suffers from leg fatigue.  Shame on me.

8-2/4-2.  Go Aztecs.

 

 

Back on track.  Pointed in the right direction.  And similar thoughts.

What was encouraging?  The defensive line was camped in the Hawaii offense the entire night.  The rush was deep, the linebackers were quick to fill the rare gap and the defensive backfield was hitting hard.

Proof?

Sure.

0-7-0-0 was Hawaii’s scoring line.  12 first downs (4 were penalty gifts.  That’s 33% for the   math people.  And only 1 was of the rushing variety).  The Hawaii offense was a meager 2/14 on third downs.  The Rainbow Warriors averaged 1.5 yards per run and 35 rushing yards the entire game.  Speaking of the entire game, Hawaii had a total of 195 yards in offense (3.5 yards per play).  Finally, Hawaii suffered 7 three and out offensive series.  Stuff city.  How is that for proof?  I thought so.

A tip of the hat to Dwayne Johnson, Jr who started in place of Parker Baldwin.  Mr. Johnson added a degree of intensity sorely needed after consecutive losses and served as proof that Rocky Long waits for no one to rediscover his passion for the game of football.  Of further note was the first half play of JJ Glass (who entered the game as the fifth and last listed defensive tackle on the almighty depth chart), Anthony Luke, Kyahva Tezino, Ryan Dunn and Andrew Aleki.  Well done.

As for the offense, Rashaad Penny and Juwan Washington returned to form via the offensive line.  Keith Ismael switching to right guard in place of the injured Antonio Rosales and Dominic Gudino moving from the #2 left guard to starting center bodes well for football brains and ability.  Complain and moan all you want about the youth of the line, but I find the future to be compelling and dominant given the overall play of Mr. Ismael and Mr. Gudino as well as Tyler Roemer, Daishawn Dixon, Ryan Pope and Joe Salcedo (none of whom are seniors).

The SDSU offense in a nutshell was featured during the second drive of the first quarter.  First down via a catch, then run, then catch, then run, run again and Juwan Washington finding the end zone.  Pure beauty.

7-2/3-2.  Get the best bowl possible.  Go Aztecs.

 

 

Bulldogs 27, Aztecs 3

Posted: October 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

So much for a convincing Aztec comeback from the Boise spanking.  We were as bad as the Boise game.

Fresno State ran the ball up the middle time and again for 6, 8, 10 yards and more.  Our linebackers were slo slow, so slo they could not get to the “w”.  Fresno State’s qb had one killer long toss after another.  Three Bulldog wide receivers had catches of 30, 33 and 48 yards respectively.  Their qb averaged better than 17 yards per completion.  The Aztec defense was present, yet elsewhere.  In the sense of fog and a disappointing attempt to gather much water.

The other side was equally bad.  For consecutive games our offensive line was inept.  No idea what to do or who to block.

“I was supposed to take the linebacker?”

“Oh, that’s what coach Schmidt means by ‘good feet’?”

“Who am I?”

Rashaad Penny returning kickoffs was a picture of a man gazing at a menu for twenty minutes and then “Ahh.  I’m not sure.  I can’t decide.” the fourth time the waiter asks if he’s ready to order.  Stutter stepping out of the end-zone is an ineffective method to develop a meaningful stride.  If you doubt my wisdom, recall average field positions of 20, 24 and 22 yards in three of four quarters.

Again, Christian Chapman in the pocket is a disaster.  Christian must be on the run parallel to the line of scrimmage at all times.  When he stands still for more than three seconds expect a sack (4 if you were counting) or a gain of a yard.

In a word, AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!

6-2/2-2.

 

Boise 31, Aztecs 14

Posted: October 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

Ugly.  Butt ugly.

Boise’s defensive line dominated the Aztec offensive line.

And, the Boise offensive line toyed with the Aztec defensive line.

They ran over us both ways.  Speaking of running, we could not establish any offensive momentum.  Sure, Christian Chapman threw for 240 yards on 12 completions, but that was the only bright spot.

Every punt and kickoff seemed to land at the 10-yard line.  The Aztecs were laying down looking up most of the night.  Getting clobbered will necessitate that posture.

Time to get well against Fresno State.  I anticipate a motivated, focused Aztec football team in a bad mood next Saturday night at the Murph.

6-1/2-1.  Go Aztecs.

 

 

We remain undefeated.  We remain in first place in the West division.  Yet, I feel the need to complain, nay, bitch.

Why?

Because I’m spoiled by all the winning?  I don’t know.  All I do is pace in front of the tube as the game unfolds.  I scowl.  I frown.  I utter “Come on” quite often during the game.  I seem unreasonable.

Yet, I believe we could play a perfect game.  The Aztecs have the defensive talent to keep 0 on the board for all four quarters (just as the boys did during the third and fourth quarters against the Rebels).  Perhaps a shutout will shut me up.

As for the game, Quest Truxton actually returned punts.  He gained 54 yards on the 5 he returned.  A pleasant return to last year.  Run, Quest, run.  Speaking of running, Rashaad Penny (27/170), Juwan Washington (10/95) and Chase Jasmin (introducing himself during the fourth quarter with 5/29 and his first Aztec touchdown) proved the offensive line is getting better.

Mikah Holder had his best game to date with 9 catches for 144 yards and a whole lot of running after catching  the football.

Of note was Isaac Lessard starting in place of Nick Bawden at fullback.  Did Nick have a bad week of practice?  Joe Salcedo also started for the first time this year.  Let us color this development as “depth”.

Noble Hall, Sergio Phillips, Myles Cheatum, Dakota Turner and Damon Moore are cycling well through the three defensive linemen spots.  Not a bit of drop off among those five.  Well done.

I was pleased to see Jeff Horton insert second and third depth chart guys with 4:27 remaining.  Nothing beats road experience.

Bowl eligible already.  Who knew?

6-0/2-0.  Go, Aztecs.

 

 

This game was Catch-22.  Nothing made sense, but the outcome . . . because this game was Catch-22.

One team generates 429 total yards in 86 offensive plays while the other crawls to 263 total yards.  One team holds the ball for 34+ minutes.  The other 25:33.  One team is an impressive 8/17 on third downs.  The other a pathetic 1/14.  And, for further consideration, that team with 263 yards, 25 minutes of possession and 1/14 on third down punts the ball 10 times.  That team wins.  How?  Why?  Who cares?  We won.  But, we should have lost.

What saved us was 3 interceptions for 127 yards (almost half of what the Aztec offense, um, created) and 1 touchdown along with 4 sacks for 30 yards.  That is 157 yards of defense which is far more than half of what the guys with the football are supposed to do.  Do note, the defense kept NIU out of the end zone in the fourth quarter.  A great time to be effective.

We went from zero penalties against Air Force to a staggering 10/126.  The refs were not pro-Aztec.

Congrats to Dominic Gudino starting in place of Antonio Rosales at right guard.  Congrats to Andrew Aleki covering the NIU fumble in the first quarter that led to a Rashaad Pennuy touchdown the next play.  Congrats to Collin Andrews for joining Tim Wilson and Isiah Macklin in the redshirt-freshmen receiver rotation.

Dakota Turner returns as if he had never missed a snap.  Well done, Mr. Turner.  Jay Henderson had the game of his Aztec life.  And did we need that game.

35,717 in attendance.  Not bad when the opponent is a MAC team.  By the way, if Northern Illinois does not win the MAC, I will be most perplexed.  These guys are good.  A bowl game awaits.

5-0/1-0.  Go Aztecs.

 

And the heavens opened.

Rain, lightning, wind, pestilence.  I’m exaggerating about the pestilence.  A raging storm framing a slippery, fall down football game that started badly for San Diego State.  What did not go wrong?

Air Force ran straight at the Aztec defense.  Eight yards, six yards, nine yards.  Ugly.

The Aztec offense felt the need to contribute.  We offered, and Air Force gladly accepted, the following time of possession during our first four “drives”:

2:03.

1:51.

2:36.

1:56.

We registered zero first downs during the first quarter.  Zero.  The number between negative one and positive one.  Zero.

There was enough standing water on the field to attract several flocks of various fowl.  Sadly, ducks, geese, swans and coots could not stick the landing due to the high winds.

Just for fun, lightning strikes at 7:56.  And twice more resulting in a total delay of 88 or 89 or 90 minutes depending upon the source.

Upon resuming the game, lo and behold, the Aztecs, who prefer dry weather on cool nights, decided to play football while staring at a 9-0 shutout.  More people were on the field playing football than in the stands watching football.

Christian Chapman first play post-lightning was a strike to Kahale Warring.  We are stirring.  Rashaad Penny scores.  No more shutout.

Yet, the kind-hearted nature of the Aztecs continued to shine.  We refuse to take away a minimum of three Air Force fumbles.  Guests are never rude.  John Barron misses a field goal!  Christian Chapman loses a fumble (as preferred in the general scheme of football). Brandon Heicklen has a punt blocked, but runs down the naughty cadet before he can score.  That was big.

Rashaad Penny’s second score followed by David Wells td pass get the fourth quarter off to a great start until Air Force scores to go ahead, 24-21 with 6:16 remaining.  However, just as the David Wells td pass was a fine case of “right back at ya”, so too was Mr. Penny’s third touchdown with 5:39 left.

Trey Lomax seals the game with his interception at the :58 second mark.  Done.  28-24.  All without halftime.  If you watched/listened, quarters second, third and fourth were consecutive without a break.

Interesting numbers:  Air Force’s total yardage was 253.  Average gain per play 3.8.  Swamp Aztec defense was good enough.  Air Force was a combined 6/17 on third and fourth downs.

4-0/1-0.  Go Aztecs.  Swim Aztecs.  Row Aztecs.

A defensive gem.  This game was worthy of mud, broken teeth and twisted fingers.  The Aztec defense was exceptional.  Consider:

Stanford’s first three possessions were three and out.

The tree throws for a mere 64 yards on a bad 9/20 with 2 interceptions (thank you, Ron Smith and Kameron Kelly).

Stanford’s total offense at the end of the first quarter:  3 yards.

Stanford’s time of possession in the first quarter:  2:19.  Yeah, I know you can credit the Aztec offense as well.

Total tree offense at the half:  88 yards.

The Aztec defense stops Stanford inside the ten resulting in three points as opposed to seven at the end of the third quarter.

And, of course, the Kameron Kelly pick with 54 seconds remaining.

Final total yardage for Stanford:  238.

Proof enough.

Now for the Aztec offense.  First, Christian Chapman throwing in the pocket is as effective as using bare hands to remove a hot dish from the oven.  Christian needs to move to be successful.  No more pocket stuff.  21/29/0 and one touchdown was a solid performance.  Mikah Holder had his best game of the season.  7 catches for 85 yards and besting his twin brother makes for a fine evening.  Rashaad Penny running against a quality defense for 175 yards (5.5 yards per carry) is testament to his place as a top-ten running back.  The final drive post-electrical collapse is further proof of a team on course to have another fine year.  David Wells insisting on the end-zone and game winning touchdown will be a 2017 season favorite.

John Barron misses a field goal.  Who knew?

Brandon Heicklen needs to be much more consistent with his punts.  To date, his effort is as scattered as his punting.  Also, the offensive line struggled against the Stanford defense.  Mr. Chapman was often on the run on behalf of his own safety.  Clean up that mess now.

Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed Hunkie Cooper yelling at David Shaw for touching Aztec players as the two teams were leaving the field at the half.  Don’t touch Hunkie’s kids.  Speaking of kids, great to see the student section storm the field at game’s end.

As a side note to the city of San Diego, what more proof do you need to maintain the stadium other than the lights going off for 25 minutes?  Game interruption on national television is not helpful to either SDSU or the city of San Diego.  Seems minor league.  Invest in something new and spiffy while keeping the lights on.

3-0.  Go Aztecs.

 

 

 

A solid game with a spectacular performance by Rashaad Penny.  He does everything except drive the team bus to the stadium.  Mr. Penny will continue to play football after his senior year.

I applaud Jeff Horton’s insistence on running a majority of first-half plays to the left side, thus demanding Tyler Roemer, Daishawn Dixon and Keith Ismael become division one offensive linemen now rather than sometime in the future.  If those three do not perform to expectation, then we would have suffered the dread “three and out” disease.  Thankfully, not so.

The penalty parade must stop.  Now.  12 for 95, including two negated touchdowns in the first half, is ridiculous and beneath the quality of Aztec football.  No more offside calls on the defense.  As Graham Chapman said, “Wait for it.”

Five sacks of the ASU qb for a total of 35 yards placed a great deal of doubt on the Sun Devil offense.  Noble Hall, Sergio Phillips and Myles Cheatum may be the best defensive line in the MWC.  Nice to see Chibu Onyuekwu and Damon Moore receive playing time and contribute to the discomfort of the ASU running game (a mere 1.4 yards per carry and 44 yards total rushing).

John Barron was perfect from 29, 27 and 32 yards.  Change nothing.

2-0.

Go, Aztecs.