July 29, 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.

David: Go on record now: Who gets drafted higher, Kellen Moore or Ryan Lindley?

This one is really easy for me: Lindley. Moore might have the better statistics, more bowl wins and more hardware than Lindley when it's all said and done, but their NFL futures shouldn't be close.

You couldn't draw a more prototypical NFL quarterback on paper better than Lindley. He's 6 feet 4 inches, 215 pounds and has a shotgun instead of a right arm. I once asked him back in his sophomore year how far he could throw a ball, and he said about 65 yards. Since then, he's added about 20 pounds of muscle, so who knows how far he can chuck it now. And his accuracy is a little underrated as well. People look at his career 56.4 completion percentage and think he's not accurate. But what most people don't see is almost all of his passes have been thrown on deep routes to streaking NFL receivers DeMarco Sampson, Roberto Wallace and Vincent Brown. He doesn't get many of his completions on dump offs to running backs (see starting RB Ronnie Hillman's nine catches in 13 games last year).

As for Moore, I walked by him several times at Mountain West Media Days earlier this week, and he's at least three or four inches shorter than me. That would put him right around 5 feet 10 inches. There are no starting quarterbacks in the NFL listed as shorter than 6 feet, although Drew Brees and Michael Vick probably are - and I don't think Moore is either of them. He's a great college quarterback, but at that size and with a kind-of-funky-left-handed delivery, I'll take Lindley (who by the way was rated the No. 1 senior NFL prospect by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.) over Moore any Sunday.


Antonio: What do you personally think our chances of winning the MW are if we have (Ezell) Ruffin and others step up? I like BSU and TCU at home.

First, congratulations on abbreviating the Mountain West Conference as MW and not MWC - I know there wasn't a single journalist at the MW Media Days earlier this week who wanted to do that.

As far as winning it all goes, I think SDSU has as good a shot as both Boise State and TCU do, even if Ezell Ruffin and some of the younger receivers don't step up. Both Hillman and Lindley could be NFL first rounders one day, linebacker Miles Burris will likely play in the league someday and even the Aztecs' punter, Brian Stahovich, could play on Sundays as early as next year. So they have the elite talent necessary to hang with teams such as the Broncos and Horned Frogs.

The only question is can the Aztecs get over that hump they seemingly struggle to get over. Last year, in arguably its best season in half a century, SDSU only beat one really good football team, Air Force, and that may have only been because the Aztecs' 3-3-5 really stymies option offenses. SDSU lost every other game it played against really good football teams (Missouri, TCU, Utah and BYU). For some reason, in the past, the Aztecs just found ways to lose to really good teams.

But if I were a betting man, I'd bet that changes this year, especially with SDSU getting both Boise State and TCU at Qualcomm Stadium. They've been in the big games before and I can't imagine them blowing those again like they did versus Missouri last year. But, as one high school coach told me recently, if I could tell the future, I'd have millions right now. We will see.


Ian: Who do you think the starting wideouts will be this year?

Poor Ryan Lindley had to answer this question at least 55 times at MW Media Days this week. Unfortunately for me, I was the 55th guy to ask it to him. But he answered it and told me he believes receiver Dylan Denso will be his No. 1 guy and Ruffin, if he can perform consistently, will be the No. 2.

Here's what Lindley had to say about Denso: "He's a worker, he's a guy who loves the game of football and has fun at what he does. You enjoy playing with a guy like that. You know where he's going to be. He's going to be in the same place every time. He may not be a guy like V.J. (Vincent Brown) or DeMarco (Sampson), where he's going to kill a guy one-on-one and go up and get it, go 'Moss' him, or go break a guys ankles off the line. But he's going to be a solid player and he's going to make things happen."

Lindley and the Aztecs still might find something they like in this incoming class, though. Fall camp could change everything.


Keith: How are SDSU's incoming players looking as far as eligibility?

I talked to head coach Rocky Long about this earlier this week at Media Days as well. He told me receiver Anthony Sheffield will not be on the team this year because of academics. He also said they have one more incoming freshman who's on the fence academically. He said the student-athlete took summer school and faxed over his grades on Thursday and if the NCAA accepts them, he'll be on the squad when camp starts. But if it doesn't, then he won't make it either. But Long said he believes the grades are "all legit," and expects the NCAA to accept them.

Other than those two, he said the Aztecs are OK. I guess we'll find out on Day One of camp if there were any more.




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