I was fortunate enough to travel to the Bay Area to cover the Aztecs in their 2OT victory over the San Jose State Spartans. SJSU granted Sons of Montezuma field access to provide our audience with photos, videos, and updates.
While on the sideline, I spent a lot of time observing the team and how they operate. Since the East side of SJSU’s stadium was being renovated, there were no fans behind the Aztec bench providing crowd noise. That allowed me to hear much more than I anticipated.
Here are my initial takeaways:
- Kurt Mattix is great. Besides the defensive coordinator leading a top-10 defense in the nation, he gives the entire team a burst of energy. As the Aztecs were warming up during pre-game, he walked between all of the players and with his thunderous voice told the team to “be great” and “put on a show”, amongst other things before he went up to the press box to be the defensive eye in the sky. Mattix spoke to the entire team and not just his defensive unit. His presence was noticeable and I wish that he was able to be on the sidelines to give a spark to the team’s energy for the entire game. It is obvious where the defense gets its “no distractions, just destruction” mentality from.
- Lucas Johnson is a leader. Before entering the game in the 4th quarter, Johnson was really supportive of Jordan Brooksire playing out the game and winning it for the Aztec’s sake. He was encouraging Jordan from the sidelines as a good teammate should. Instead of hoping for his demise, he was rooting for Brookshire to be his best. He wants to win at all costs, even if that means him not playing. Yet, he stays ready at all times. Coach Brady Hoke gave Johnson the nod and the team rallied around him. Of course, he eventually threw two overtime TD passes to win the game. It’s safe to say that he’s gained the approval of the players from his leadership. He has not yet been named starter by Hoke, but his guidance and play leads me to believe that he is the clear choice for QB1 at the moment.
- The team is tired of bad offensive play. Many players voiced their concerns of the struggling offense during and after the game. Know that I am not trying to cause any controversy or tension between players and units. If you as fans are frustrated, understand that the players are too—it’s no secret. The team recognizes that they need to step it up as they are entering perhaps the most difficult stretch of the schedule. The Spartans ate up the run all night long and held the SDSU offense to just 70 yards rushing. Johnson throwing two absolute dimes to Jesse Matthews in OT is a good sign moving forward. If the Aztecs can get defenses to respect the pass, that opens the running game that SDSU football is built on.
The #22 Aztecs will travel to Colorado Springs this week for a huge matchup with a borderline top-25 team, the (6-1) Air Force Falcons. Be sure to listen to this weeks Sons of Montezuma Podcast, where I will be detailing with the guys about more of my sideline perspective at the game. Also, check back here at sonsofmontezuma.com for more articles as we provide SDSU football news leading up to the game vs Air Force.
You can also watch our extended video highlights below of what I was able to capture there on the sidelines.