In 2012 the Aztecs finished in a three-way tie for the Mountain West Championship and this fall they return 7 starters from last years offense. They also have a new offensive coordinator in place his name Bob Toledo. The same Bob Toledo who coached UCLA football to a 20 consecutive game win streak and a Rose Bowl win. The same Bob Toledo who was coaching at Cal Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks and ready for retirement, that was until Rocky Ling called his old buddy to up to run the Aztec offense.
Holy Toledo, Bob is making some changes! Toledo says he "gets bored running off tackle a whole bunch of times." So we can expect the Aztecs to open up the offense. He also has told Aztec fans that although the team was in top 20 in the nation is rushing, that they were also number 107 passing school. In the Toledo system everyone gets a chance to touch the ball, tight ends, wide receivers, running backs, they all get the ball. We can also expect at least one Toledo trick play per game to throw off the defense.
The Aztec offense will still be centered on Adam Muema, but will place much more of an emphasis on the passing game versus last year. At this point Adam Dingwell has earned the number one spot and Quinn Kaehler has won the back up job. Both should progress under Bob Toledo and quarterback coach Brian Sipe. Toledo has high hopes that Dingwell will complete 67% of his throws this year up from 57% last season. He also expects Kaehler to work on his arm strength, he may be accurate but the "kid can't break a pain of glass."
The left side of the line has firmed up with Bryce Quigley and Japheth Gordon penciled in as starters. Jordan Smith is now the starting center. There's been a lot of shuffling around on the right side of the line this fall with Zach Dilley replacing Nico Siragusa at right guard and Terry Poole at right tackle. The Aztecs are still looking for the sixth, seventh and eight guy on line and to let all the pieces fit naturally.
Marshall Faulk, Ronnie Hillman and now Adam Muema, the Aztec running back tradition continues. Muema last season earned second-team All-Mountain West honors after leading the league in yards per carry (6.4, minimum 1,250 rushing yards) while finishing with 1,458 yards (No. 4 among MW running backs) and 16 rushing touchdowns (No. 2). Among the national leaders, Muema (5-10, 205) ranked 18th in rushing yards per game (112.2). But with the loss of senior Walter Kazee, the question is who will fill the back up spot? The number two spot has increased to four. Sophomores Dwayne Garrett, De'Saan Hardwick and Chase Price continue to plod along in a deadlock for the backup running back position, but promising freshman D.J. Pumphrey has put on weight and strength and now is 5'9 and 170 lbs. All four backs can play. At fullback, senior Chad Young (5-10, 230) remains the irresistible force bent on destroying the immovable object.
The Aztec return three receivers with starting experience Colin Lockett, Ezell Ruffin and Dylan Denso. Locket a senior is a preseason candidate for the Biletnikoff award, as a sophomore he lead the team in receptions and yards, but those numbers dipped last year when USC transfer Brice Butler came to town. Lockett will be the starting at the "X" (split end) position. Ezell Ruffin entered camp as the starter "Z" (flanker) spot. However, both senior walk-ons Tim Vizzi and Dylan Denso have won scholarships and expect plenty of playing time in the Toledo offense.
The Aztecs will need to fill Gavin Escobar's' shoes at tight end and Toledo is convinced he has fond the ideal replacement, a former defensive lineman sophomore Robert Craighead at 6'3" 265 pounder who will move from defense to offense in the fall. Adam Roberts also returns from last years squad the 6'3" 235 pound junior will also see time as a H-back and fullback.