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Defense Prevails In SDSU Football's Annual Red-Black Game

The Aztec defense limited the offense to only two scores on nine drives.
The Aztec defense limited the offense to only two scores on nine drives.

April 26, 2008

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State football team completed its 2008 spring drills Saturday afternoon with the annual Red-Black Game at Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, Calif. The Aztecs defense kept the offense off the scoreboard for most of the afternoon, surrendering only a field goal and a game-ending touchdown on nine drives.

SDSU started the day with individual warm-ups, seven-on-seven and special teams plays. The team period was divided into four quarters with the first half involving "thud" (non-tackling) drills, and the second half including 45 plays of tackling with drives beginning from different parts of the field.

The offense started the afternoon with a nine-play drive beginning at its own 30-yard line, but was unable to move the ball any further. The defense kept the offense to three plays and out on its next three possessions, before finally getting on the board with a 25-yard field goal by Bryan Shields (Bonita, Calif.).

The defense recorded a pair of turnovers in the fourth quarter on a tipped pass that was intercepted by linebacker Bryan Finkel (South Tahoe, Calif.) and a fumble recovery by defensive lineman B.J. Williams (Aurora, Colo.), after quarterback Drew Westling (Mission Viejo, Calif.) mishandled the snap.

On a drive that started at its opponent's 25-yard line, wideout Marcus Montgomery (Oceanside, Calif.) hauled in the lone touchdown of the day on a 27-yard grab on fourth down from Ryan Lindley (Alpine, Calif.) just inside the front pylon to round out the scrimmage.

Neither of the three players competing for the starting job at quarterback was able to distinguish himself much at the Red-Black Game. Westling completed 4-of-9 pass attempts for 27 yards, Lindley was 2-for-7 with a touchdown and an interception, while sophomore Kelsey Sokoloski (Greenwood Village, Colo.) converted three of his eight attempts for 35 yards.

Montgomery has three catches for 44 yards and the touchdown to lead the receivers, and sophomore running back Davon Brown (Torrance, Calif.) had a team-best eight carries for 28 yards.

The defense, meanwhile, put together solid numbers, limiting the offense to just 21 yards rushing on 20 carries and only 89 yards through the air. Redshirt freshman linebacker Miles Burris (Roseville, Calif.) was the leading tackler for the second straight week with six stops, three tackles for a loss and a sack. Williams had five tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage, and the fumble recovery.

The Aztecs will open their 2008 campaign at home against Cal Poly, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30, at Qualcomm Stadium. The game will be broadcast live by Channel 4 San Diego.

2008 San Diego State Red-Black Game
Saturday, April 26, 2008 - Mission Hills HS (San Marcos, Calif.)

SCORING PLAYS

Bryan Shields 25-yard field goal (10 plays, 51 yards)
Marcus Montgomery 27-yard pass from Ryan Lindley (4 plays, 25 yards)

INDIVIDUAL OFFENSIVE STATISTICS

RUSHING TOTALS (carries-yards-touchdowns)
Davon Brown 8-28-0, Brandon Sullivan 1-9-0, Kelsey Sokoloski 1-3-0, Tyler Campbell 2-3-0, John Rivera 2-3-0, Josh Cunningham 1-(minus 2)-0, Ryan Lindley 2-(minus 8)-0, Drew Westling 3-(minus 15)-0. TOTALS 20-21-0.

PASSING TOTALS (completions-attempts-interceptions yards touchdowns)
Kelsey Sokoloski 3-8-0 35 0, Ryan Lindley 2-7-1 27 1, Drew Westling 4-9-0 27 0. TOTALS 9-24-1 89 1.

RECEIVING TOTALS (number-yards-touchdowns)
Marcus Montgomery 3-44-1, DeMarco Sampson 2-20-0, Doug Deakin 2-13-0, Tony DeMartinis 1-12-0, Matthew Kawulok 1-0-0. TOTALS 9-89-1.

INDIVIDUAL DEFENSIVE STATISTICS

TACKLES (total-unassisted)
Miles Burris 6-3, B.J. Williams 5-3, Vincent Camarda 3-0, Jerry Milling 3-0, Darryn Lewis 2-2, Dey Juan Hemmings 2-1, Eric Ikonne 2-1, Shane Morris 2-1, Peter Nelson 2-1, Ernie Lawson 2-0, Travis Crawford 1-1, Andy Gregorio 1-1, Luke Laologi 1-1, Aaron Moore 1-1, Jonathan Soto 1-1, T.J. McKay 1-0, Brandon Davis 1-0, Logan Ketchum 1-0, Brandon Vannoy 1-0. TOTALS 38-17.

INTERCEPTIONS (total-yards)
Bryan Finkel 1-16.

FORCED FUMBLES (number)
none.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES (total-yards)
B.J. Williams 1-0.

QUARTERBACK SACKS (total-yards)
B.J. Williams 1-7, Peter Nelson 1-6, Jonathan Soto 1-5, Miles Burris 1-3, Eric Ikonne 1-2. TOTALS 5-23.

TACKLES FOR LOSS (total-yards)
Miles Burris 3-4, B.J. Williams 2-9, Peter Nelson 1-6, Jonathan Soto 1-5, Ernie Lawson 1-1, Jonathan Soto 1-0. TOTALS 9-25.

TEAM PASSES BROKEN UP (number)
Brandon Davis 1, Jose Perez 1. TOTALS 2.

SPECIAL TEAMS

FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS (made-attempt, individual attempt)
gd - good, wr - wide right, includes thud session
Bryan Shields 2-3 (41 gd, 46 wr, 25 gd)

Red-Black Post Game Quotes

SDSU Head Coach Chuck Long

General thoughts:
"We had a good spring. We have a lot of guys banged up and that is why we went with a half practice today. We scrimmaged a lot of young guys today and they needed it. We need a lot of work with them to try and create some depth on both sides of the ball.

"Defensively, we really came on this final week of spring ball. They played well and got some confidence coming out of spring ball. I was really happy with the pass rush.

"Offensively, I was really happy with (running back) Davon Brown. I thought he really played well and showed us something today."

On the quarterback situation:
"We went to a three-play rotation with the quarterbacks today and we are grading them on the entire spring. We are grading them on every repetition. (Offensive coordinator) coach (Del) Miller and I are will go over it starting on Monday to see what comes out of it.

"In all fairness to them, when you are in a three-play rotation you don't get in a groove."

"Today was a rough day, but up until this point I thought they had been ahead of the game. They have been making good decisions and getting rid of the ball fast. I thought there was going to be a lot more of a learning curve with these guys and there hasn't been. I think we are ahead of the game coming out of the spring. We still have a lot of work to do. Obviously, the one thing they lack is game experience.

On taking the starting quarterback candidates from three to two:
"We would like to cut it down to two (quarterbacks) out of spring. That was the goal, but we will see. We are going to talk about it on Monday. That was the plan and goal for the staff from the beginning."

On what you liked today:
"Our secondary has really come on this past week. Aarom Moore has had a really solid camp and has grown a lot. Jose Perez has come on and Vonnie Holmes has improved. Miles Burris had another nice scrimmage today and I like our front four.

"Offensively, we still have a young line that is in transition right now. We still have some work to do. I did like the way our receivers have come on this spring. I have been very pleased overall with the quarterbacks. They have had a good spring."

On the passing game today:
"We didn't have a great day passing the football. We didn't have much continuity on the field at all. We held some guys back in the passing game."

On how quickly the young guys have to develop:
"We have a big summer ahead. It will be our most challenging training camp coming up. It is going to be hard and they will have to be mentally tough to get through. We are going to test them."

SDSU Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach Bob Elliott

General thoughts:
"Today was kind of an interesting day. We came out and did some team work and I didn't think our guys were ready to go. There wasn't much intensity. I think we picked it up after the first series and I was happy with that.

"Overall, I think it was a pretty good spring. We are where we want to be. We have to keep getting better.

On positives from the spring:
"B.J. Williams had a really, really good spring. Russell Allen, as always, worked hard every day and shows good leadership. We had a lot of guys who couldn't have contact, but still practiced, which is a good things. I thought the defensive line responded well to (new assistant coach) Mike Nelson. I expect to have a good, solid defensive line. Siaosi Fifita moved inside from end and that appears to be a good experiment."

SDSU Offensive Coordinator Del Miller

General thoughts:
"We got a great deal of work done over the course of the spring and obviously, we have more work to do. We are still young, young on the offensive line in particular, and those kids have come a long way. The good part is we are going to have them for a long time. They are going to get better and better. Coach (Jonathan) Himebauch will do a great job with them."

On the quarterback situation:
"Quarterback wise we will go back and look at all of the tapes and grade them all, every scrimmage, every 7-on-7, every team up. I go through those grades with them daily. We will go back now look at this film and put everything together and see where we stand. The good part is we are going to have three quality quarterbacks.

"Those top three are actually a little ahead of where I expected they would be at the end of spring. If they carry that through going into the fall, we will have something pretty decent."

On the offensive units:
"I thought Brandon Sullivan really came on strong. I think Tyler Campbell really had a nice spring. He is a kid who goes hard all of the time. He doesn't say much. He does it all with actions. We have all been impressed with what Tyler has done."

"We have to get the receivers heeled up. We have had a lot of hamstring injuries in the last couple of weeks. Nothing major. It will make us a much better football team when we get them back.

"Same with the tight ends. We had a rash of injuries. The good part is maybe we are getting that out of our system now, instead of the fall.

"I think (center) Tommie Draheim graded out the best as we went through the spring. He is a young player, a true freshman. I know coach Himebauch is pleased with what he is doing."

Quarterback Ryan Lindley

On how spring practices have gone:
"I think we've showed a lot of improvement over the last four weeks. I think we're miles ahead of where I thought we'd be. We're still young offensively, but the defense is definitely getting their stuff together and they're doing well. The offense is going to come in time. It's trial by fire for a lot of us; it's going to be our first year playing. We have a lot to work on coming out of spring, but we'll improve when we get out there this summer."

On the personal progress he has made so far:
"After taking a back seat last year, I don't think I had the offense down as much as I should have coming into spring. But right now, I think I have it down pat. I feel like I can take anything the defense throws at me. I feel pretty good about the way I've been handling the offense so far."

On the offense's performance during the scrimmage:
"I'm glad we finally got into the end zone. It was a little rough out there today, but we were missing a ton of guys. That really hurt us today. Half of our receivers are down, half of our tight ends are down. Our injuries hurt us today, but it's spring ball. You have to take the good with the bad."

Quarterback Kelsey Sokoloski

On how the scrimmage went:
"For me, it was like any other day we've had practice so far. There were some good things, but there were also some bad things. We're going to go back and look at the film and see what did right and see what we did wrong. But all in all, I thought it was a pretty good day for us."

On the quarterback competition this spring:
"It's been an exciting process for all three of us. We're all great friends, but we also like to compete against each other. We've all had some great days and we've all had some bad days, but the last four weeks have been fun for us."

On his performance during the scrimmage:
Again, I think there were some good things, but there's some things I definitely need to work on. I underthrew the ball a couple of times, but there were some good things that I need to point out to myself. Still, there are some things that I need to go back and look at on film and see some of the reads that I missed and see some throws that I misfired on."

Offensive lineman Mike Schmidt

On the progress the offense needs to make:
"We're going to have to grow up big time on offense. Some of it is the new function of our offense; a lot of it's the technique. But we have to play with more tempo and eliminate all the little penalties that we made today. We had too many mistakes, too many false starts."

On the young quarterbacks:
"They've really impressed me. They're motivated and they're strong. They lead the huddle well. They still have got some work to do, but they'll be first to tell you that. They work hard though; they're the first ones out here and the last ones to leave. That's just what you want in a quarterback."

Defensive end B.J. Williams

On the defense's performance during the scrimmage:
"I feel like we did really well. I felt all the blackshirts (defense) played well as a unit and that was carry-over from all the practices."

On whether he has any concerns about the offense after the defense shut them down:
"Not at all. We're going to have it going. (The defense) just had a good day. The offense has been doing great (in practice). The offensive line is gelling really well and that's important. The quarterbacks are also looking really nice."

On the importance of the defense to this team once the season starts in the fall:
"I think it's going to be very important. It's going to have to all come together, but we've been making great strides in practice. This spring definitely set us ahead; I feel like we really went after it."

On the defense's progress:
"We're following Russell Allen's lead along with Siaosi (Fifita) and the rest of the seniors. They're showing us how to work hard, getting us into the weight room and studying hard.

On the personal progress he has made thus far:
"I feel like I still have a lot to learn. I have to thank Nick (Osborn) and Akbar (Gbaja-Biamila) for helping me over the summer and all the work that they've put in. Coach Nelson and coach Elliott have really helped me out as well. I've been like a sponge just trying to soak everything up."