Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Horton’

Troy Calhoun is an angry man.  I cannot recall a head coach yelling at officials as often as Mr. Calhoun.  As is heard at the beach, “Chill, dude.  Have a fish taco.”

For most of the game, I thought Cole Fagan, the Air Force fullback, would beat us single-handedly.  Mr. Fagan had a superb game.  Thankfully, he did not beat us.

The Aztecs played lucky football.  Ryan Agnew was showing his lack of experience with one bad decision after another.  The stumble into the Aztec end-zone for a safety was pure high school freshmen football.  I was waiting for Jeff Horton to pull him and re-introduce Christian Chapman to the offensive line.  Yet, while 9/25 with an interception is indeed awful, Mr. Agnew, through the good graces of his receivers, averaged almost 24 yards per completion.  Of course, a blocked punt via Kaelin Himphill scooped by Trenton Thompson for a touchdown is almost required to win ugly.

Among other low lights was John Barron finally missing a field goal.  Rare.  2/12 on third down conversions.  84 yards total rushing.  13 first downs.  The offensive line struggling to block the Air Force front seven the entire first half.  The lightning strikes and delays, delays, delays.

Winning ugly is better than any brand of losing.

5-1/2-0.  Go, Aztecs.

 

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Where to begin.

The first half had a pall.  Sure, 7-0 was pleasant, but the inability of the Aztec offensive line to block outside the tackles, especially to the left, was forcing Juwan Washington to run up the gut (with gusto), and nowhere else.

To speak of “to the left”, Tyler Roemer (left tackle) and Daishawn Dixon (left guard) were repeatedly unable to hold blocks during the first half.  Boo.

So, Jeff Horton calls up the gut plays . . . and we score.  Juwan ran for 20+, 10+, 40+, 6-ish, then a td.  Kudos to Dominic Guidino, Keith Ismael and the afore criticized Mr. Dixon for plowing openings galore for Mr. Washington.

Stanford goes three and out.  We follow with seeming momentum until Isaac Lessard is flagged for a chop block, thus we punt.  Boo.  However, during this sequence, Ethan Dedeaux (r-fr) catches a pass (in other receiving news, Fred Trevillion dropped his first opportunity, thus enhancing the legend of Hit Me On My Number And I Drop My First Pass Trevillion).  Mr. Dedeaux is one to watch  and offers Christian Chapman dreams of 60% completion rates.

Stanford scores two points via a hesitant safety by the officiating squad.  The head ref (forgive my lack of football referee knowledge) seemed to need a tutorial in signaling the safety call.  Perhaps because the call was crap.

Prior to this bit of neighbohood football officiating, Chase Jasmin spelled Mr. Washington, thus received his first dose of competitive, non-wipe out football.  He did so the next set of downs as well (and gathered a rushing first down).  Yes, this is Jeff Horton taking a look under the hood for future reference.  Howl all you want about why-was-Juwan-not-in-the-game.  I don’t care.  Many Aztec fans deplore this side of Mr. Horton, but I offer my inestimable support (incredibly valuable.  Much like your drunken friend cheering you on during a fight . . . that you are losing) in preparation for the MWC schedule.  You know, what really matters.

Then comes the Noble Hall moment.  Mr. Hall catches a batted football and decides to emulate Juwan Washington (mistake).  Rather than tucking the ball with both arms securely against his midsection, he assumes the spirit of Mr. Washington, and has the ball poked out of his arms into Stanford possession, which allows the halftime score of 9-7.  However, I disagree with Rocky that this moment was a game changer or momentum shift.

The first possession in the third quarter features Mr. Dedeaux catching another pass from Mr. Chapman.  Unreal.  Based off of last year.  And the year before.  However, we punt.

Stanford scores by and large because of consecutive penalties on the Aztec defensive backfield.  Boo.

Coach Horton then displays what could be an actual passing game.  The one where receivers catch passes from Christian Chapman.  I offer, Mr. Trevillion, Mr. Dedeaux, and Tim Wilson, Jr making consecutive catches.  Mr. Trevillion makes another catch.  John Barron hits a field goal.  16-10.  Not bad.

As Stanford works towards another score, I find comfort with the fact that Bryce “Heisman” Love has done nothing.  The Aztec defense has face stuffed him all game long.  When Stanford goes horizontal, they do so with nothing to show.  Yet, when they throw vertical, our defensive backfield is at risk.  The Stanford receivers stepped in front and made catches.  They out jumped us and made catches.  Thus, the Aztec defensive weakness.  But, better to have one weakness than many.

Remaining Aztec highlights of the third and fourth quarters feature another 40+ run by Mr. Washington and catches by Mr. Dedeaux and Mr. Wilson, plus a nine yard run by Chase Jasmin.  We had a chance to score during the Dedeaux-Wilson-Jasmin sequence, but our o-line gave up consecutive sacks of Mr. Chapman.  Again, boo.

As we move forward, the Aztec offensive line needs to ignore the media praise.  The big guys need to prove their collective worth.  Sustain your blocks and protect your quarterback.  The defensive secondary must stay stride for stride with taller wider receivers or face similar results via this 31-10 loss.  And, STOP WITH THE PENALTIES ALREADY!!!!.  Over 100 yards?  C’mon.  Parker Baldwin had a career game.  Juwan Washington is the real deal.  We seem to have the beginnings of a passing game.

Next is Sacramento State at home.  Fireworks await.  I want a shutout (okay, I’ll accept a single digit) of Hornet offense.  Pound and ground, then stretch the field.  May Fred Trevillion catch the first ball thrown to him (I may pass out.  Get it?).  Deliver good basic football without a field’s worth of penalties.

Aztecs, 0-1.

Eleven to go.

 

 

Did Ty Gangi beat our defensive backs like a rug on a line?  Yes, yes he did.  Mr. Gangi was 33/54 with 3 touchdowns.  Mr. Gangi, no doubt, wrapped his throwing arm in ice after the game.  He offered the baseball equivalent of a complete game loss.  414 total passing yards will impact the elbow.  His primary wide receivers, Mr. O’Leary-Orange and Mr. Demps, ran wild among our defensive back field.  Respectively, these two enjoyed evenings of 11/214 and 5/110.  Mr. O’Leary-Orange scored not once, not twice, but on three occasions as the fog slowly drifted into the stadium.

Yet, given the incredible game offered by Rashaad Penny, the game was never in doubt.  What did Rashaad not do?  Very little.  Why not let him punt or kickoff at least once during the New Mexico game next week.  Just to see.  To sum his performance, as my cousin in Rhode Island would say, wicked good.  Each time he ran out of the Aztec backfield he averaged 9.2 yards.  Phenomenal to say nothing of the kickoff return and punt return for touchdowns.  Hats off to the offense for exceptional blocking to accompany Mr. Penny’s substantial skill.

Christian Chapman had a solid line of 15/23/0 and one touchdown for 205 yards.  He suffered the spectacle of three drops during the first half, yet his body language never betrays the shouting in his skull.  Those 15 completions were shared with nine different receivers.

Returning to the defense, specifically the backs, the second half was a great improvement upon the first half debacle whereupon time and again, Mr. O’Leary-Orange and Mr. Demps were at least three steps closer to the end zone than the Aztec dbs.  Giving up long passes of 82 and 53 yards offers plenty of opportunity for in-game improvement.  That punctuation was delivered by Trey Lomax finally holding on to an intercepted pass (he should have had at least two, probably three).

Why did Jeff Horton pull Christian Chapman for Ryan Agnew with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter?  I was full of questions.  All of which were answered when Mr. Horton returned Mr. Chapman to the field after a penalty gift of a first down.  However, the offense did reestablish momentum and self-induced disaster was avoided.  Just like the Aztec defense.

Congrats and recognition to the 29,000+ at the game.  A loud bunch.  Sounded like a few thousand more.

Finally, the penalty line of 7/75 was excessive.  We do not need to revisit that challenge with one MWC game remaining along with whichever bowl we play.  Keep our hands and emotions to ourselves.

9-2/5-2.  Here’s hoping for another double-digit win season.

At last, offense!  The ball journeyed to the end zone more than three occasions.  Thank you, Jeff Horton.  I know he called for a pass on the first play of the game to shame me.  Nice try.  I continue to call for more than 18 passing attempts from Christian Chapman.  I want to see 200+ yards from Mr. Chapman.  I’m greedy.

Speaking of greedy, the Aztec defense is phenomenal.  San Jose is team #2 without a touchdown against the Red and Black.  Three consecutive games result in a total of 13 points by UNLV, Fresno State and San Jose State.  Impressive.  Nine tackles for loss including five sacks against the Spartans (whose offense was rather spartan.  Get it?).  209 yards allowed (San Jose rushed for less than 70 yards).  Incredible.

Also incredible in these days of players running rampant with bad judgment and at times engaging in criminal behavior (yeah, I’m talking about you, Baylor University), Rocky means what he says and says what he means as he suspended PRIOR to the San Jose game, Derrick Babiash, Billy Vaughn, Jr. and Fred Melifonwu.  Rare air for a division one coach of any sport.  Hats off to Kalan Montgomery for taking Babiash’s spot without notice.

I applaud San Jose State’s defense for “holding” Donnel Pumphrey to 135 yards.  I’m not mocking the Spartans.  Truly, they did a fine job of containing Donnel, as much as Donnel can be contained.  The flip side is Rashaad Penny averaged 11.7 yards per carry.  Can’t stop everybody.

Finally, I was pleased to see second, third and fourth level guys on the field with nine minutes remaining.  Valuable experience for Jeff Clay, Myles Cheatum, Troy Cassidy, Trenton Thompson, Kyahva Tezino, Kevin Walcott, Sam Tai, Chad Woolsey, Ryan Agnew, Ryan Simmons, Daishawn Dixon and Julian Rochelin.

6-1/3-0.

 

I must continue last week’s rant about our inability to score points.  This limitation is getting ridiculous.  We score a whopping 17 points against a ragged Fresno State defense.  17 points.  No more.  The Aztec offense had the ball for 37 minutes and 19 seconds.  We register 25 first downs.  All we can put on the board is two touchdowns and one field goal?  Boo.  Christian Chapman had 12 passing attempts.  The description of skinny.  I realize Jeff Horton loves the run, and with Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny, who wouldn’t, but, Jeff needs to call consecutive passing plays every now and then.  I’m not clamoring for the return of Bob Toledo’s multi-chapter playbook, but more frequent looks downfield would result in more points on the board.  David Wells (3/30) and Nick Bawden (2/23) received 5 of Christian’s 7 completions.  If his comfort lies with tight-ends and fullbacks, then let’s throw the ball to tight-ends and fullbacks more often.

More applause for the Aztec defense.  Keeping Fresno State to 217 total yards is notable.  The Bulldogs rushing for less than 100 yards is a further proof (if you need any) of a stellar defense.  The SDSU defensive line battering the Bulldogs offensive line accompanied by linebackers visiting the backfield on a regular basis is a recipe for success. Change nothing.

5-1/2-0.

I shouldn’t complain.  But, can’t we average, say, 27 to 34 points the rest of the way?

 

 

Oy, the first half was ugly.  Or to paraphrase Redd Foxx, so ugly, we were hit with the ugly stick.  Why was Jeff Horton running the majority of plays to the Aztec right?  One stuff after another.  We could not block on our right side the entire half.  No momentum was developed less the opening drive (which was nice).  Malik Smith loses his mind during the second quarter.  Rocky should have removed him from the game.  Mr. Smith was completely out of control.  Shame.

Speaking of shame, 13-10 at the half.

We finally arrived to play in the second half.  Maxwell Smith produced his best game as an Aztec quarterback.  11/14/180 yards.  No interceptions.  Plus, he averaged just shy of 13 yards per completion.  Not bad.  Donny Hageman nailing a 54 yard field goal was a team boost.  Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny both averaged 6 yards a carry.  Mr. Penny looked especially impressive against the CSU defense.  Dakota Gordon rumbled (all fullbacks rumble) for 52 yards on 4 carries.  The offense provided the most  balanced performance of the season.

The Aztec defense started poorly, but ended well.  Three picks.  Damontae Kazee returning his interception for a touchdown was a spear to the Rams offensive heart.  The back seven allowed the Rams a paltry 7.3 yards per completion.  A solid second half effort.  During the first half, I’m wondering “who are these guys?”  Thankfully, they disappeared.

Next week is our off week.  Soak the bumps and bruises.  Enjoy next Saturday.  Grab some sand.  Three MWC games remain.  5-0 in conference play is stellar.  Wyoming rolls into the Q Saturday, November 14.  The Cowboys feature an above average running game.  However, as long as Rocky keeps the boys focused, I’m leaning towards a 6-0 Mountain West result.

Yeah, a win is a win is a win.  But, the San Diego State offense remains a memory.  Distant memory.

You’re asking yourself, why so glum?  305 total rushing yards.  400+ total offensive yards.  Do the math.  Therein lies my complaint.

Congrats to Donnel Pumphrey prior to injury for 23/129.  Chase Price certainly delivered as much with 27/151.  Dakota Gordon had a fullback kind of game with 5/34.  Well done.  The offensive line was pushing the Bulldog front four off the line the majority of the game.  8/18 on third down conversions is definite improvement.  As was having the ball for better than 37 minutes.

The Aztec defense was marvelous.  6 Fresno State first downs.  89 total offensive yards including an unheard of 12 yards rushing.  Wow!  1.9 yards per play.  0/12 on third down.  10 punts.  The defense was stellar, almost perfect and a sight for sore eyes.  Thank you.

However, not mentioned in the offensive summation above is another stale and unimpressive performance delivered by Maxwell Smith.  5/12.  Yuck.  How and why Rocky Long and Jeff Horton continue to purposefully turn a blind eye to Mr. Smith’s lack of quarterbacking skills is beyond me.  Candidly, at this point in the season, I wonder how he ever threw for significant yardage during his Kentucky days.  Again, please escort Mr. Smith to the sideline . . . permanently.  Christian Chapman needs a chance to display the ability to avoid a sack as well as connect with an open receiver on a regular basis.

If Aztec faithful want smash-mouth football, we have exclusively that brand of football.  Those of us who remember the days of footballs flying downfield for 50+ yards at a time are feeling rather lonely and uncomfortable.  Especially during the game in our near future during which the running game is corralled.

1-0.  The MWC table run begins.  I hope.

 

 

The San Diego State Aztecs are a bad football team.  We are inept and ill prepared.  Five sacks, four fumbles, three of which were lost and the inability to catch a punt is indicative of a football team searching for its collective soul.

I, again, call for the end of Maxwell Smith’s reign as starting quarterback.  10 for 29 is not an Aztec quarterback.  Another anemic performance (and I’m being polite).  While acknowledging he was sacked five times, those sacks emphasize Mr. Smith’s lack of mobility that in turn results in an astonishingly bad 242 total yards of offense.  This is Aztec football?  Christian Chapman eludes some of those sacks because he can move from side to side, step into the pocket and actually run forward.  Mr. Smith was the primary author of 6 yards gained in the first quarter.  6.  The number found between 5 and 7.  In the second quarter, he revved up the offense to 72 total yards.  Feel the excitement.  Why does Rocky continue to start Mr. Smith?  Why does Jeff Horton remain blind to the need for change?  Finally, when a starting quarterback’s longest completed pass is 31 yards, the defense stuffs any and all attempts to establish a running game since the first seven guys can stand at the line of scrimmage and wave “hello” to Pumphrey, Price, Penny and Gordon.

Our field position was so bad that Donny Hageman was not handed a single field goal opportunity.  We converted a lousy 5 of 17 third down opportunities.  Boo.

8:16 represents the Aztecs time of possession for the entire first half.  Unbelievable.  In the second quarter, we had the ball for less than 4 minutes.  Incredible for the wrong reason.

The defense played better than the Cal and South Alabama games, but we continue to allow too many big plays especially on the back-end of the secondary.

Mountain West play begins this weekend.  We stumble into MW town with a 1-3 record looking disheveled, dirty and disoriented.  We haven’t played well the entire four games leading to MW play.  Cold comfort can be found that the rest of the West division played about as poorly as we did in non-conference games.  Fresno State and their loyal hordes of fans (yes, I’m jealous) roar into the Q next Saturday.  Candidly, the Aztecs must steam roll the rest of the schedule for any chance at a bowl game.  I trust change is underway and we will see a mobile, smart, redshirt freshman by the last name of Chapman directing our offense that will finally resemble an Aztec offense we can recognize.