Rick: How do you think the Mike Stoops firing might help recruiting?
This is by far the most-asked question I've ever received in a mailbag. And to answer it simply, it should help SDSU.
Right now, there are three recruits committed to Arizona who San Diego State absolutely loves: four-star offensive lineman Zach Hemmila, three-star defensive back Devian Shelton and four-star tight end Taylor McNamara. Hemmila actually visited SDSU at last weekend's TCU game at Qualcomm Stadium and told me he liked what he saw. When I asked him if he was considering other schools because of the Stoops firing, he said "I don't know yet." The Aztecs also have an edge with him because SDSU commit Lloyd Mills plays on the same high school squad with him.
Krish: There is always a lot of talk on the message boards about the need to build an on-campus stadium. Is this something the SDSU administration and athletic department consider a "realistic" goal? Are there any internal efforts to make something like that happen?
I haven't talked in depth with anybody about it yet, but that's because the situation just seems so farfetched and unlikely. First and foremost, the funds would be an issue. I know TCU is spending around $200 million just to renovate Amon G. Carter Stadium, let alone build a whole new one. That kind of dollar is very scarce around SDSU right now.
Second, the location would be an issue. I've roamed SDSU's campus for the last five years and sometimes have trouble finding a parking spot. I can't imagine where they'd fit a 40,000-person stadium with parking to accommodate it. Finally, you have the recruiting aspect of it. I know for a fact recruits love the idea of playing in an NFL stadium. Sure, they don't love playing in an empty one, but San Diego has really started backing SDSU, and the attendance isn't as horrible as it once was.
I think it's an idea that has definitely been discussed internally, but I just don't see how feasible or realistic the idea actually is.
Jerrold: Rocky Long has recently mentioned that he has a three-year plan. Can you expand on exactly what his three-year plan entails?
It's actually a five-year plan, according to Long. Way back in the summer at Mountain West Media Days, he said it takes five years to build a program into a national power, or at least a power that consistently goes to and wins bowl games, like his New Mexico squads used to do.
He considers this Year Three, because he was here as defensive coordinator for the first two years under Brady Hoke. So there's three years left on his plan, which is why he called it a three-year plan.
Now all of the stuff that goes into it is pretty simple. Keeping the systems the same (a pro-style offense and 3-3-5 defense), recruiting speed and not necessarily size, and getting a routine strength and conditioning program and practice regimen. All of that is in place right now. You've already seen the speed-not-size factor with the young recruits, such as Jake Fely, Dontrell Onuoha and Everett Beed in Thursday's game against Air Force, and you've certainly seen the systems work, as SDSU is now 13-6 in the last two years of continuity. Long believes his Aztecs are on their way to becoming a TCU or Boise State powerhouse, saying, "It is our belief that here in the next couple, three years, we are going to be one of those teams."
Matthew: I couldn't make the TCU game this weekend, but it sounds like some recruits might have been put off by the fans booing and leaving early? Looks like the atmosphere and the performance left a lot to be desired.
This question came before SDSU rocked Air Force, but I've heard several recruiting qualms from other fans about the TCU game as well. The recruits I talked to all said none of that booing or leaving early or poor play mattered to them. They were more impressed by the amount of people that showed up, the fun tailgating atmosphere outside the stadium and the excitement of playing in an NFL facility than they were with the performance on the field.
Long has said it plenty of times to me before, and I'm starting to agree with him. When recruits come to games, they don't necessarily care if SDSU wins or loses. They do care about the Aztecs' overall season, but they're more looking for atmosphere and coaches and other recruits when they visit. It actually might even help some, because they get the, "I can help turn this around" mentality.