With all the Sugar Bowl hoopla over, it is time to get back to some news that slipped through the cracks the past week.
San Diego State has been a laughingstock for the better part of the past decade, and it finally looks like the team could be on the rise. San Diego State brought in former Ball State head coach Brady Hoke, who took Ball State to a 12-1 record and won the Western Division of the Mid-American Conference.
The Aztec staff is taking shape with two big hires last week, bringing in former New Mexico head coach Rocky Long and former Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges.
Long was at New Mexico for 11 seasons and took the Lobos to their first bowl win in 50 years by winning the 2007 New Mexico Bowl. His defenses were known for Long’s odd lineup with a 3-3-5, which allowed for his defenses to be creative and confuse opposing offenses.
Long worked with Hoke at Oregon State in the 1990s, when the former served as defensive coordinator and the latter worked with the team’s defensive line and inside linebackers.
The offensive coordinator hire is Al Borges, who for three seasons was the Auburn offensive coordinator, from 2004-2007. That span includes his first year in 2004, where Auburn finished 13-0.
Borges, who has a reputation as a quarterbacks guru, does inherit a very good quarterback in Ryan Lindley. In 2008 he was the league's second-leading passer and was the lone bright spot on a lowly Aztec team.
Do not expect overnight change, but with Long, who is familiar with the league, and Borges, who is a bright offensive mind, San Diego State might be able to creep up the pecking order in a few years.
Below is the two new coaches' experience.
Recent experience (all as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach): Portland State, 1986-92; Boise State, 1993-94; Oregon, 1995; UCLA, 1996-2000; Cal, 2001; Indiana, 2002-03; Auburn, 2004-07.
Recent experience: TCU, secondary coach, 1988-90; Oregon St., defensive coordinator, 1991-95; UCLA, defensive coordinator, 1996-97; New Mexico, head coach, 1998-2008.