The public already knows what quarterback Ryan Lindley can do in a live game.
The public already knows how good the receiving duo of Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson is.
What the public, the media and the San Diego State coaching staff do not know is how well freshman Ronnie Hillman will handle is first game as the Aztecs No. 1 tailback when the team opens the season against Nicholls State on Saturday.
But that’s the question that is about to be answered.
“He hasn’t played a college football game yet. He hasn’t gotten hit in the mouth yet at the Division I level,” San Diego State coach Brady Hoke said earlier this week. “Ronnie has done a great job for us at this point and I’m excited to see how he does.”
There’s excitement because Hillman’s absence—due to the SATs—is one of the reason why the Aztecs failed miserably at running the ball last year.
SDSU finished last in the conference in rushing yards. The Aztecs 940 yards on the ground last year was good for 116th in the nation.
Yes, four offensive lineman return from last year’s unit and Hoke has had them on a new strength and conditioning program during the offseason, but it’s Hillman all eyes are going to be on to see if San Diego State can add a rushing attack to go along with it’s near-prolific passing game.
“The addition of Ronnie Hillman back there as a running back is a big plus for us,” Hoke said. “He’s a guy that can do some things that maybe the other guys can’t.”
Hillman will have to wait though, to get his carries. Hoke named senior Davon Brown the starter for Saturday’s game.
But that doesn’t mean Hoke doesn’t see Hillman’s abilities.
“Ronnie is a skilled athlete and his toughness is something that I’ve been most impressed with even more than I thought,” Hoke said. “Ronnie gives us an ability more so than any other backs, if he gets through the line of scrimmage, he’ll make big plays for us.”
Oceanside High’s Wynn stars in Utah upset of Pitt
TCU better know that it won’t roll to the Mountain West title this year and Utah is the team that stands directly in its way.
And leading the Utes is another quarterback from San Diego. San Diegans should be familiar with Jordan Wynn’s passing prowess.
He did lead Oceanside High to back-to-back CIF-San Diego Section titles. Wynn also shined in his appearance at last year’s Poinsettia Bowl, when Wynn lit up the Cal defense in a Utah victory.
And against No. 15 Pitt in the season-opener, Wynn shined again. The sophomore was 21-for-36, with three touchdowns and 283 passing yards. He threw just one interception.
November 6 should already be circled on everyone’s calendar in the Mountain West; that’s when TCU travels to Salt Lake City in what could be this year’s de factor conference title game.
Mountain West Tidbit of the Week
I promise this will be the last time that we talk about BYU’s defection, but it has caused some members of the Mountain West some grief.
A few schools have come out and said they won’t be scheduling games with the Cougars once they leave the conference.
“I don’t think we’ll have them on our schedule, no,” Aztecs coach Brady Hoke told the Union-Tribune earlier this week. “They’re not in our league, and there are some advantages they have when you look at the mission itself, two years and the physical and mental maturity.”
Tom Burman, athletic director at Wyoming, echoed the sentiment in a harsher way in comments made to the Casper Star-Tribune.
“I don’t have any desire to play BYU,” he said.
T.V. Timeout—Must See Games This Weekend (All times Pacific)
Washington at BYU: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. on CBS College Sports
Oregon State at TCU: Saturday, 4:45 p.m. on ESPN
Navy at Maryland: Monday, 1:00 p.m. on ESPN
Boise State at Virginia Tech: Monday, 5 p.m. on ESPN
Bonus: Padres at Rockies: Saturday, 1 p.m. on FOX