San Diego State is facing a similar situation to Boise State in that they are returning a top-notch quarterback and running back while losing their top two wide receivers. However, the Aztecs have much less experience coming back at the wide receiver position. The two leading returning receivers Dominique Sandifer and Jay Waddell both suffered season ending knee injuries one month ago
Rocky Long reacted to this situation by going out and grabbing a junior college wide receiver in Aldodius Colquitt to provide some depth. With the injuries to those top two wide receivers the most experienced returning receiver is walk-on Dylan Denso who had four receptions in 2010. The Aztecs will need the inexperienced receivers to perform well if the Aztecs are to compete for the conference title.
Luckily for San Diego State they have Ryan Lindley who threw for 3,830 yards and 28 touchdowns. For all the success Lindley has he likes to take risks which led to 14 interceptions and only a 57 percent pass completion. He can make all the throws and is a legitimate NFL prospect, but in 2011 he may need to be more conservative as to not turn the ball over and improve his completion percentage above 60 percent and preferably to 65 percent.
Assuming the receivers are at least average there are enough of them to keep the Aztec going. The tight end position is a position of strength and go at least four deep and the Aztecs believe that they would not lose a beat with any of the four in Gavin Escobar, D. J. Shields, Alston Umuolo and Bryce Quigley. Some are going to line up and wide receiver to get them on the field. The tight position is usually over looked, but for this upcoming season the Aztecs may lean on them to an extent early in the season on the passing game to compliment the new wide receivers.
The biggest help in breaking in new wide receivers is having Ronnie Hillman running the ball. Last year, Hillman broke on the scene and was 10th in the nation in rushing, the nation's leading rusher as a freshman by rushing for 1,532 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Rocky Long is no dummy, he will feed Hillman the ball early in the game to set up the passing game, because teams will need to decide what they do on defense because if the bring in seven guys to stop Hillman, Lindley is good enough to beat a defense in the passing game regardless of how green the new receivers are.
Even though head coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges took off to Michigan, expect the Aztec offense to be the same as it was under Hoke. The big issue is obviously the receivers and they will determine how good the Aztec 2011 season will be.