First Day of Spring Practice in the Books

Monday marked the first day of San Diego State football spring practice, where there should be some heated positional battles in three key spots...

Football is back!

Well, just for about a month.

"Coaches really like spring practice," SDSU head coach Rocky Long said. "You get to develop your team. Everybody gets a shot to prove they can play. So it's a lot of fun and you can have a lot of competition too. Everybody should be able to stay fresh and healthy.

"The guys that have proved they can play already, you won't see them as much during spring practice. We're working on the guys that haven't proved they can play yet. But that's the way it goes all the time. Now, the expectations rise as the team gets better. We won the 19th championship in program history, and now we're working on No. 20."

Monday marked the first day of San Diego State football spring practice, where there should be some heated positional battles in three key spots.

"I think we're going to compete at quarterback, even though I think Adam Dingwell had a great year," SDSU head coach Rocky Long said. "He deserves to start out spring practice as the starter. I think we need to find some tight ends since we lost some pretty good ones from our program. And we have to find a couple cornerbacks since both of our guys were seniors that played most of the time. We have to have someone step up there."

Adam Dingwell won't have the job handed over despite a 4-1 as a starter last season, including the come from behind overtime victory against Nevada in Reno.

"Well right now I think Adam (Dingwell) is the guy and somebody has to beat him out," SDSU offensive coordinator Bob Toledo said. "He's the incumbent but we have five other guys behind him that are competing. Six is too many but we are giving them all a chance right now then eventually we'll cut back, giving reps to the guys who are going to play."

Would Toledo like to get a starter before heading into fall camp?

"I think I'd like to get a starter set but if it's a close we will let them compete," Toledo explained. "If we have a starter and the second/third are close then we'll let them compete. I don't want to go into fall camp with six quarterbacks."

The two positions the Aztecs must fill up is one the tight end position with Gavin Escobar headed to the NFL.

"(Largest concern heading into spring practice) I think it's at tight end," Long said. "The biggest concern is replacing the three tight ends we lost. And then I think the next question is cornerback. We lost a great player, and the other corner was a senior too. That's a lot fewer than most people have to replace."

Escobar's replacement will have to separate themselves from the pack as Adam Roberts, Aaron Boesch, JuCo newcomer Dominique Bierria all have a legitimate shot, and one to watch is Robert Craighead, who moved back to tight end after playing defensive line this past season.

"I thought Craighead caught the ball a lot better than I anticipated he would," Long said. "He looked pretty good, but I think with his size he ought to be a good blocker. Our question mark was whether he could catch the ball, and he caught the ball just fine today."

The other huge hole is each cornerback spot due to Leon McFadden and Josh Wade using up their four years of eligibility.

Most experienced returner King Holder, played in all 13 contests the last two season, is out with a shoulder injury that will keep him out of all spring practice. He just got out of a sling this past week.

With Holder not available, J.J. Whittaker and Pierre Romain received first team reps, while David Lamar and Damontae Kazee backed them up as the second unit.

Despite the experience of Holder, no cornerback has earned their starting spot.

"I don't consider any of those corners a starter right now," Long said. "I think that's a wide open position. Whoever proves they can play has the best chance to play a lot."

It's possible that defensive back position could see some freshmen in the two-deep.

"If we don't have confidence in the ones (cornerbacks) that are here," Long said. "I'd much rather have two or three of these guys prove they can play, have some confidence in them, rather than worry about a freshmen playing."

Finishing Notes

-Zack Dilley began spring practice as the starting center for the Aztecs. He was the starting right tackle last season.

"We have been training him along at center and he was recruited to be a center," Long said. "I thought they had a couple problems with the snap but I think we have a couple young quarterbacks that have never taken a snap under center. They were shotgun and spread quarterbacks. It might be Dilley's fault but I'm assuming half the time was the quarterback."

-Warrior Marcus Andrews is also dealing with a shoulder injury that will hold him out of spring football.

-Former SDSU tight end Gavin Escobar was on hand to watch the first practice.
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