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San Diego State gets ready for spring football

Don't expect the returning starters to get much time in live action as spring football kicks off for the Aztecs on February 22.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the San Diego State Aztecs play in one of the most amazing cities in the United States and have great weather year round, they are starting spring practice on Feb. 22 and just under one month before spring officially begins.

San Diego State is coming off one of their best seasons in school history with an 11-win season and ended the season on a 10-game winning streak, so it makes sense that head coach Rocky Long is excited to get back to the practice field.

"We have a chance of having a very good football team because we have some very good players coming back at particular positions," Long said. "The trick to us being good will be the development of our young players that have to step in for seniors that we lost.

"Spring practice is really, really important that we develop those young players. We will do some things this spring that we haven't done in the past."

The young players will get plenty of work as key players will get rest and when there is live tackling look for players like Donnel Pumphrey to be on the sideline.

"That allows us to give the guys who need to develop into helping us make our team better, gives them a whole bunch of reps," Long said. "Anytime it's live, you'll see [Pumphrey] standing over there drinking water with me."

Having key players not taking live reps will help limit injuries but Long asserted that there will be position battles and starting jobs up for grabs.

The quarterback situation is basically set with Christian Chapman penciled in as the starter. He was Maxwell Smith's backup and there is a chance that Smith could be back as he is debating on petitioning for another year of eligibility, plus he is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in November.

Chapman was able to top Air Force in the Mountain West title game and helped the Aztecs defeat Cincinnati in the Hawaii Bowl. He is clearly the front runner heading into spring game but the most exciting battle will be who the backup will be. For someone to jump out in front of Chapman and claim the starting spot will need to have a very impressive spring.

"Christian Chapman is basically our starter, not that he could not get beat out, because anybody can get beat out during spring practices," Long said. "Depth chart-wise, the other ones will fall in behind him and everyone will get reps. The better you play the more reps you get."

The other quarterbacks in spring camp are former Oregon transfer Jake Rodrigues and will be a senior, highly touted redshirt freshman Ryan Agnew out of Texas and then junior college transfer Jimmy Walker.

The offensive and defensive line lost a pair of starters and that is the are where there will be the most competition on the two-deep roster this spring.

Spring practice begins February 22 with the spring game taking place on March 19th with location and time still to be determined.