Saturday marked the first time the San Diego state football team had trained with protections, even if they were only shoulder pads.
After the team’s third practice before the 2015 season, a big question remains: who will be the quarterback?
There is still no answer.
Head coach Rocky Long mentioned during Mountain West media day that the battle is between second student Christian Chapman and senior transfer Maxwell Smith.
Smith’s shots were crisp on Saturday while Chapman showed his mobility and looked comfortable on offense.
Fely in good health, impact felt beyond the field
A bright spot entering the camp is the sight of the long hair and number 42 worn by senior linebacker Jake Fely, whose season was cut short last year by a dislocated wrist.
Fely says he’s 100% impacting on and off the pitch.
He was one of many players, including junior linebacker Calvin Munson, who stayed after practice to watch the newcomers work out.
âWe’re playing in a very confusing defense so I just want to come in here and help the young guys get used to the system,â Fely said. “When I was in first year I didn’t get a lot of help from the seniors so I want to do what I can for the younger ones while I’m here.”
Fely doesn’t need to be told twice to put on protections. Even though the team only had shoulder pads, he relished the opportunity.
âYou know me, I love to put the pads on and start hitting,â he said with a smile. “I dreamed when I had my extra year that I would have one more full year, now I have this chance.”
While Fely was out last season, Munson thrived and helped anchor a defense that carried the team.
Now, Fely will have the chance to play alongside Munson, in whom he saw talent from the moment he donned the red and black.
âYou can tell some people just have that athletic ability and feel the job,â Fely said of Munson. âHe’s amazing; I’m delighted to play alongside him this year.
Fely’s first-year offensive lineman William Tuihalamaka and junior linebacker Austin Wyatt-Thayer impressed early in camp.
New faces on the O line
Junior running back Donnel Pumphrey will have new offensive linemen to clear some space for him this year.
Terry Poole graduated and was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2015 NFL Draft. Last year’s center Lenicio Noble was ruled out and the starting right keeper of the darrell Greene was suspended for the first six games of the season last year.
Greene is still training, however, and offensive line coach Mike Schmidt uses him in some ways.
“He has a role and he knows the offense very well,” Schmidt said. âI can trust him while I assess the younger ones.
As for his replacement, Schmidt still needs time to figure it out.
He listed senior Robert Craighead, sophomore Sergio Phillips and freshman Joe Salcedo as three guys fighting for the spot right now.
Craighead was listed as the second string behind Greene after spring practice.
In the center, junior Arthur Flores – who has never played college football – is at the top of the depth table.
Schmidt said juniors Austin Maass and Phillips could help as well.
Schmidt doesn’t know which quarter they’ll block for, but that doesn’t worry him.
âThey blend in well with all quarters, it’s more about communicating with each other,â he said. “When the quarterback comes in, it’ll just come down to timing and streak.”