Time to check in on San Diego State, which is trying to build on a 9-4 season -- its best since 1996. With a new coach in Rocky Long and new coordinators, the spring was mainly used to get comfortable with the new staff, schemes and build depth.
Questions answered: One of the big ones is how Ryan Lindley and Ronnie Hillman would adjust to new coordinator Andy Ludwig. Ludwig does have a different coaching style, but San Diego State will still run a pro-style offense, with plenty of runs and play-action. But where the key in 2010 was getting the run game established, it is the reverse in 2011 because of inexperience at receiver. Teams are going to load the box and dare Lindley to beat them. Lindley does not have Vincent Brown or DeMarco Sampson to rely on, and he has been mistake-prone at times. Getting that balance going again is going to be huge. Alec Johnson has moved from left guard to center to replace Trask Iosefa. Emilio Rivera is penciled in to start at left guard.
Questions unanswered: Receiver. Losing Brown and Sampson is going to hurt. No receiver that is currently on the roster caught a touchdown pass last season. Brown and Sampson combined for 18. Dominique Sandifer and Dylan Denso are most likely to replace them. Also in the mix are redshirt freshmen Jay Waddell and Ezell Ruffin. Sandifer missed most of the spring with a groin injury. Long was not overly impressed with his receivers early in camp. It is obvious somebody is going to have to step up quickly for the Aztecs to have any shot at building on 2010. Rob Andrews and Jake Fely are competing to start at middle linebacker.
Spring stars: Denso did stand out, especially in the spring game. He ended up catching four passes for 66 yards -- tops among all receivers -- and had a 19-yard touchdown reception. Lindley told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Denso "has been a rock." Lindley will need more of the same come fall.
Of note: Defensive end Perry Jackson was dismissed from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules. Meanwhile, cornerback J.J. Whittaker re-injured his knee. Long is hopeful he will return in the fall. Whittaker was a highly prized recruit who chose the Aztecs over Arizona, but redshirted last season with a knee injury. Fullback Anthony Miller has decided to transfer... San Diego State could have a two-way player in Leon McFadden. The all-MWC defensive back took some reps at receiver this spring in case he is needed, given the inexperience at the position.