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September 16, 2011

Mailbag on the Mesa

Editor's note: Every Friday ASR Publisher Edward Lewis will answer some questions from fans about the Aztecs in this weekly mailbag. Send questions to edwardflewis@yahoo.com, @EdwardLewisASR on Twitter, post questions on the message board or put questions on ASR's Facebook page.

Stephen: From your reports the last few weeks, Ronnie Hillman has now had to miss parts of the fourth quarter in two straight games because of cramping or injuries. What's his deal and should we be worried?

Against Cal Poly, Hillman had some cramping that head coach Rocky Long attributed to his lack of contact during summer camp. Everybody kind of wrote it off, especially because SDSU won by 28 points. But the next week, TV broadcasters said Hillman was cramping again. Now Long told me Hillman didn't have cramps at all, and was just "banged up."

But either way, I think it's a little concerning. Hillman played last season at about 175 pounds and battled a hip pointer for most of the year. Now this year, he's about 15 pounds heavier, and is still getting beat up. I don't think it's time to reach for the panic button yet, but if he has to leave Washington State with any kind of illness, injury or cramp, I think you could see a slurry of "Is Hillman too small?" articles. And that doesn't help him, the Aztecs or the national perception of SDSU.

But me personally, I think he'll be fine. I think not getting tackled for more than seven months and then suddenly getting tackled 28 times per game would take a toll even on Eddie George in his prime. My guess is he makes it out of the WSU game just fine and we don't remember these missing-in-action fourth quarters three weeks from now.


Daniel: One of the biggest strengths of this team was supposed to be defense. At times during the Cal Poly game they looked pretty rough and then they looked even worse against Army. What gives?

That Army game was definitely a little alarming, especially because Army had just lost by 23 points the week before to Northern Illinois. But, and I know these excuses have been rattled off a thousand times, it was the Black Knights' home opener, it was the day before an emotional 9/11 anniversary, it was an extremely long travel time and it was a 9 a.m. PT kickoff. I'm not sure how anyone can judge the Aztecs' defense based on all those factors.

Plus, I'm not so sure even LSU or Alabama would have had an easy time stopping Army that game. The Black Knights executed that offense about as well as I've ever seen any team execute it. And then you can't ignore the eight forced fumbles either, which probably should have been more like 10 forced fumbles if the refs didn't have such a quick whistle that game.

If SDSU struggles against WSU on Saturday, then I think the Aztecs have a bit of a problem. But I don't think you can jump to any conclusions based on that game in New York.


Robbie: The last few weeks we've heard about Chad Jeffries standing out running the scout team, but has there been anyone else that stands out to you or the coaches on the scout team out of the redshirt freshmen or the freshmen who are redshirting this year?

I've been preaching about Everett Beed since the first week of fall camp. I thought he played extremely well all summer and really could have had an impact for SDSU this season. But I think he got in the coaches' doghouse a bit after he missed some practices earlier this year. But it wouldn't surprise me to see him on the field in a month or so.

Ezell Ruffin also looked really good during the open portion of Tuesday's practice. He caught a touchdown and looked fit. He, however, will not play this season. Other young names I still think can have a big breakout year based on practices and coaches quotes are Sam Meredith and Adam Roberts.



Matt: Have the Aztecs offered Keywhon Powns a scholarship?

I don't think there's been a recruit this year that's caused more of a stir on Montezuma Mesa than Powns. With his tweets and the uncertainty swirling around his recruiting status, he had fans in a tizzy.

SDSU has not offered him yet, but it is more than interested in him. He's a 6-foot-2, 180-pound combo guard who has plenty of athleticism. He also plays at Tony Bland's alma mater, Westchester High, which doesn't hurt his recruiting process with the Aztecs.

Be sure to check AztecSportsReport.com regularly for updates on him and other recruits this fall as we follow all of SDSU's targets.


Ian: Predicted score for tomorrow's game?

I believe this question is becoming a regular staple of the weekly mailbag. Long has told us in the media repeatedly this week that this game is a "trap game," coming off a long travel time to the East Coast and an exhausting win. But I just don't see it. There could be more than 50,000 fans at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday and with a healthy team playing at 3:30 p.m. on a cool San Diego Saturday, I say the Aztecs beat Washington State 34-28 in a shootout.

Talk more Aztecs with Publisher Edward Lewis on ASR's premium message board!



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