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San Diego State Football: Questionable play-calling a theme for the Aztecs

So far this young season, San Diego State's play-calling on offense has been almost illogical, with "screen-gate" the next installment.

Susan Ragan-USA TODAY Sports

This isn't new. People have already been harping about San Diego State's play-calling. Now it's just getting to the breaking point.

First, we had "rollout-gate" against North Carolina.

That resulted in two (arguably three) interceptions and several incompletions.

Thankfully the rollouts got somewhat fixed against Oregon State, as SDSU quarterback Quinn Kaehler was spotted multiple times rolling out to his right.

And before that, offensive coordinator Bob Toldeo showed pure freakin' audacity with the first two play calls of the game, a 36-yard reverse run play for wide receiver Lloyd Mills, and then a double-reverse, flea-flicker, "should've-been-touchdown" pass from Kaehler to a wide-open Eric Judge in the endzone.

And then there was "Chase Price-gate," as Mountain West Connection's Matthew Bain explains.

As if more play-calling questions couldn't swirl around the squad already, here's another: screen plays, or "screen-gate."

Screens are a good way to keep the defense off-balance. When ran properly, these plays can generate yards quickly if you throw it to a running back that can make defenders miss and if you have receivers making key blocks on the outside.

But they're not exactly a bail-out, guaranteed 15 yards each time. On 3rd-and-25, one's quarterback might be smart to throw a 30-yard post route down the field, and not a three-yard bubble screen that could easily end up in negative yardage.

That's another bad thing about screens, they're really hit or miss. Or hit and miss as Reggie Bush found out in 2006 in the New Orleans Saints' playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The San Diego Union-Tribune's Nick Canepa put it this way: time and time again the Aztecs ran either screen plays or just tried dumping it off to Pumphrey in the backfield.

And here's a look at the "time and time again" that was just referenced...

Third and six with 9:00 left in the first quarter, Kaehler's pass incomplete to Donnel Pumphrey out of the backfield.

In the second quarter with about 12 minutes left, 3rd-and-12, what does Toldeo call? A pass to Price out of the backfield, who does well to pick up nine yards, but it's not enough and the Aztecs had to punt.

How about this doozy: third and 25, Kaehler completes a six-yarder to fullback Adam Roberts out of the backfield and SDSU punts--again.

In the beginning of the fourth quarter, third and nine, incomplete pass to Pumphrey out of the backfield. Next drive, second and nine, pass to Price out in the flats. Price gets lit up for a four-yard loss, setting up a 3rd-and-13 drop by Chase Favreau, and another Joel Alesi punt.

So what'll happen this weekend against UNLV? Mountain West Connection's Rafael Avitabile will have that later this week.