It's been an exciting few months to be a San Diego State sports writer...
The Aztecs advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Nat Berhe becoming a New York Giant and Eric Pinkins joining the ranks of Seattle's "Legion of Boom." Xavier Thames and Josh Davis beginning their professional basketball careers. Recruit after recruit after recruit committing to SDSU football for 2015. Kawhi Leonard growing into an NBA superstar in front of a captivated national audience during the NBA Finals.
All those events provided thrills for SDSU writers and fans, alike. But now we start two of the happiest days of the year for anybody associated with the Mountain West: the MWC football media days. These two days give MWC sports fans in-depth previews of the conference's teams, and they show fans the players and coaches' human side--a side often forgotten during the season.
I wish I could be there. I wish I could dash to my car right now--get gas because I'm running low--and make it to Vegas in time to catch Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand. Then, tomorrow I'd talk with SDSU Head Coach Rocky Long and the two senior Aztecs he brought with him: Terry Poole and Derek Largent.
Here's the bad news: I have a lot of work and not a lot of money. Ah, the college lifestyle. I'll have to follow the event's proceedings on Twitter.
But that doesn't mean I can't think up some question's I'm dying to ask Coach Long in a one-on-one interview, right? I'm sure the man who Sporting News recently called the MWC's "best interview" would be at his best in that type of setting.
First, let's start with some serious stuff.
You guys basically play all your toughest games on the road this year, as opposed to last year when you hosted most of your best opponents. Is there any advantage to the type of schedule you have this year?
What's the game you have circled on your calendar?
How excited are you to see quarterback Quinn Kaehler in his first full season at the helm?
As you inch closer and closer to game one, identify your team's biggest weakness and its biggest strength.
How important will defensive back J.J. Whittaker be this year in a secondary that loses its two top tacklers in Nat Berhe and Eric Pinkins?
What kind of production do you expect from wide receiver Ezell Ruffin this year? Why did the coaching staff move him to the slot for this season?
Jake Fely was recently granted a sixth year of eligibility. Do you think there's any way that will impact his production this year? Maybe playing with the knowledge that he has more time at SDSU lessens the weight he carries?
Last year, Ezell Ruffin emerged from the depth chart and became an SDSU star. Who has the potential to rise up the ranks and break out this year?
Talk about your run defense--the linebackers, the defensive line that returns all but one starter--everything. Could it be even better than last year's?
During spring practice you said you weren't sure who would start on the offensive line. Are you still unsure?
Who's going to replace Chad Young at fullback? CAN anyone replace him?
I personally believe SDSU's offensive strength this year is the passing game. What do you think? Will SDSU be a pass-first or run-first offense this year?
Who's the recruit you're most excited to have on the team?
Who will be your kicker in Week One?
One last play to win the MWC Championship game. You're on the opponent's 10-yard line and you need a touchdown to win. What play do you call?
What do you think of the direction the Mountain West Conference is headed as a whole? Do you see a point in the future when it could be a top-five football conference?
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said at the Big 12 media days that "cheating pays" in college football. Do you agree? And how big of a problem do you think cheating is in college football? In the MWC?
Now for some lighter personal questions.
Is it one of your main goals to be the "Gregg Popovich interview" of the MWC?
What's your favorite part of being a college football coach?
What's it like coaching football as a school dominated by basketball? Perks? Downsides?
Favorite sports teams--go!
What's your favorite part about recruiting? More fun to recruit high schoolers or JC students?
Did you ever seriously consider holding kicker tryouts with SDSU's men's soccer team during last year's kicking woes?
Who has the most vicious mascot in the MWC?
Alright, you're forced to travel to a deserted island and can only bring three things. What are they? (Yes, I'd ask that extremely cliched question.)
What do you like most about San Diego? Dislike the most?
And to close, some off-the-record questions once I turn off the recorder.
Hey, so the whole Adam Muema situation...were there any signs that something like that would happen? Is it as serious as the media has made it seem?
Before spring practice, you said that you had a bet with the coaches on who would earn SDSU's second running back spot. You said they disagreed with you. First of all, who was it? And who was right: you or your coaches?
Some SDSU football fans have expressed a desire for a slightly smaller football stadium closer to campus that would only be home to SDSU football. Would you support that idea?