Aztecs Football Notes: False starts continue to disappoint

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San Diego State is one of the most penalized football teams in the country, and much of the problem is self-inflicted.

SDSU continues to get called for false starts — especially in road games — and it appears to be no closer to being resolved after Saturday night’s win at Nevada (six false starts) than it was four weeks ago at Boise State (six false starts) or six weeks ago at Utah State ( five false starts).

“Obviously, it’s frustrating,” SDSU head coach Brady Hoke said during his weekly news conference Tuesday. “I think maybe I’ll stop talking about it and maybe we’ll do a better job and be more disciplined.”

False starts are one of the reasons why SDSU ranks 115th in the nation in scoring (19.1 points per game). For example, two of the three field goals scored by SDSU’s Jack Browning against the Wolf Pack came after red zone false starts that set up the ball.

SDSU remains on the road for a Mountain West game this week at Fresno State, so the Aztecs will once again be tested in a hostile atmosphere where communication on the field will not be ideal.

“We will (address it) and we (addressed it), but we have to address it again,” Hoke said.

This week’s drills will include hooting over crowd noise and having defensive teammates perform actions designed to create illegal traffic along the line of scrimmage.

“We’ll stay after that,” Hawke said. “This environment is going to be a lot louder than the one we just played in, so we have to be more disciplined.”

SDSU has four sophomores and four freshmen starting or filling backup roles on the offensive line, but Hoke doesn’t want to use youth as an excuse.

“Young guys make mistakes,” he said, “but when you’re seven games into the season, you’re not young anymore. …”

“I used to think it was a bit juvenile, and I really think it is. Guys need to feel a little more comfortable in their own skin and what they’re doing.”

Ideally, the forward would like to call the defense offsides, but the Aztecs are in a situation where they are too concerned about their own linemen being penalized to do that to their advantage.

“I would still like to use my cadence as a weapon,” Hoke said. “You’re not very comfortable using that cadence as a weapon when you false start.

“It’s a downside we have to keep working on.”

Mountain West race

The Aztecs (4-3, 2-1 Mountain West) are tied for first in the West Division standings with Fresno State (3-4, 2-1) and San Jose State (4-2, 2-1), who host on Saturday in Nevada.

Boise State (5-2, 4-0) leads the Mountain Division, with Wyoming (5-3, 3-1) and Colorado State (2-5, 2-1) just behind in the loss column.

There will be some clarity with the Rams traveling to Boise State on Saturday and Wyoming to Hawaii.

The division winners will meet Dec. 3 in the Mountain West championship game.

Injury updates

• SDSU sophomore safety C.J. Baskerville has worn a boot on his right foot the past two days of practice — he moved around the practice field on a scooter Tuesday — though he is still listed as the starter at the position.

Junior Isaiah McElwain is second on the depth chart behind Baskerville. McElwain has played in every game this season, mostly on special teams.

• Sophomore running back Jaylon Armstead (ankle) has been sidelined since the injury in Week 4 against Toledo, but played on special teams at Nevada and appears close to returning to the backfield.

“I’d say it’s about 85 percent,” Hoke said.

Armstead (18 carries, 190 yards) still trails Jordan Byrd (62 carries, 337 yards, 3 TDs) in rushing yards despite not receiving a carry in the last 3 1/2 games.

• Freshman quarterback Kyle Crum was at practice Tuesday without a sling on his right arm for the first time since recovering from surgery on a broken collarbone at Boise State.

Crum was the backup QB for Braxton Burmeister when he was injured.

This and that

• Hoke opened his weekly press conference Tuesday by offering his condolences to the San Jose State football program.

Spartans freshman Camdan McWright was killed Friday morning when he was hit by a school bus while riding an electric scooter near campus.

San Jose State’s game against New Mexico State, which was scheduled for the next day, was moved to the end of the season.

“Our hearts are heavy for San Jose and this football program,” Hoke said. “To have something as tragic as the death of an 18-year-old young man … We’ve reached out to them as a program and really feel terrible for them, and give them all our thoughts and prayers that go along with it. »

• SDSU starting forwards Brandon Crenshaw-Dixon and Ross Ulugalu-Maseuli did not start against Nevada but played most of the game.

When asked if there was a reason they didn’t start, Hoke explained, “They didn’t.”

• Burmeister worked exclusively with the quarterbacks Monday and Tuesday during the open-to-the-media portion of practice (although the open period was cut in half this week, so Burmeister may still have been working at receiver).

Burmeister caught a 19-yard field goal against Nevada in his first opportunity at receiver.

“It was nice,” Hoke said. “He can run with the ball, as we know.

“There are still a few things we will continue to work on with him.”

• Even though SDSU has a new quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator and the quarterback depth remains thin, Hoke has all but shut down any idea of ​​reaching out to former quarterback Will Haskell about returning to the program.

“I don’t think so,” Hoke said. “I think we’re pretty good where we’re at.”

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