QB Adam Hall

2002 Statistics

Coach: Tom Craft
4-9, 1 year
2002 Record: 4-9
at Fresno State LOST 14-16
at Colorado LOST 14-34
at Idaho LOST 38-48
UTAH WON 36-17
at Wyoming WON 24-20
UNLV WON 31-21
at Brigham Young LOST 10-34
at New Mexico LOST 8-15
at Air Force WON 38-34
at Hawaii LOST 40-41

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Momentum is the optimum word for San Diego State. The Aztecs finished 4-9 last year, with eight road games and eight bowl-bound opponents on the schedule. That number has been trimmed down to six road games this season, including trips to Ohio State, UCLA and Colorado State. But the Aztecs virtually are guaranteed to avoid last year's 0-5 start with Eastern Washington, UTEP and Samford on the early-season slate. So the momentum of going 4-4 - including 4-3 in the Mountain West - down the stretch against a decent group of teams could play into a good start. Even if replacements in the high-powered passing game can be found, their schedule probably will prevent the Aztecs from breaking .500. A bowl game would be a major accomplishment for Tom Craft, who seems to have things moving in the right direction at San Diego State. Craft raked in one of the Top 50 recruiting classes in the country, and his offense has and should continue to prove effective in luring star offensive skill position talent to the school. If he can establish San Diego State as a gun-slinging, point-scoring juggernaut, wins will follow.

Expect to see Adam Hall's name popping up in award discussions, although Heisman talk is a (at best) long shot. In Craft's offense, he can and will put up big numbers, so don't be surprised to see Hall stories showing up in major publications by year's end. Problem is, they very well could be sympathetic looks at a great player on a bad team. Regardless, SDSU will likely beat a team they shouldn't, and lose one similarly.

Projected 2003 record: 5-7
LB Kirk Morrison
QB - 4 DL - 1.5
RB - 2 LB - 3.5
WR - 2 DB - 3
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Adam Hall, 452-272-9, 3253 yds., 17 TD

Rushing: Mike Franklin, 62 att., 346 yds., 1 TD

Receiving: Robert Ortiz, 13 rec., 141 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Fred Collins, 2 TD, 12 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: none

Tackles: Kirk Morrison, 97 tot., 60 solo

Sacks: Brook Miller, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Kirk Morrison, 3 for 91 yds.

Kickoff returns: Freddie Keiaho, 15 ret., 22.3 avg.

Punt returns: Kyle Conerly, 11 ret., 15.7 avg.


OFFENSE: James Truvillion-RB, J.R. Tolver-WR, Kassim Osgood-WR, Ronnie Davenport-SLT, Tyson Thompson-TE, Johnathan Ingram-C, Raul Gomez-OL, Lon Sheriff-QB, Tommy Kirovski-K
DEFENSE: Amon Arnold-DE, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila-DE, Jared Ritter-DT, Ricky Sharpe-CB, Brian Simnjanovski-P

written by Ryan Hockensmith

"Air-Craft" took off last season, Tom Craft's first season at the helm of the San Diego State program. Believe it or not, Year Two might fly even higher.

Quarterback Adam Hall, who threw for 3,253 yards in his first season as a starter, is back to lead a group that again could finish among the nation's top five passing offenses. Hall gets the ball in the hands of his play-makers, completing 60 percent of his passes. And if he's healthy, it should be even better. He played with a torn labrum and missed two games with a concussion in 2002. In the off-season, he had shoulder surgery that worried some fans, but those worries were squelched on the first play of San Diego State's first intra-squad scrimmage, when he unleashed a 50-yard spiral on a flea-flicker that went for a touchdown.

He won't have his top three receivers - J.R. Tolver, Kassim Osgood and Ronnie Davenport are all gone - but Craft's one-back offense makes receivers interchangeable. While the loss of the more talented trio of seniors no doubt hurts, don't be surprised to see new starters from a pack of candidates step forward as suitable replacements for the departees. Sophomore Jeff Webb caught 16 passes in 2000, but was redshirted last season to focus on academics. He's back, and looked very good in spring ball. Lonnel Penman contributed five catches a year ago as a sophomore and can be counted on for better numbers this season. Walk-on Robert Ortiz caught 13 passes a year ago and should improve on those statistics. His gritty presence helps in the huddle, too. Craft says the Aztecs will utilize tight ends more after successfully throwing their way just nine times. Starter Tyson Thompson is gone, so it's up to Raleigh Fletcher to contribute. Fletcher dropped 25 pounds in the off-season to get down to 265. At 6'4", he's an inviting target if he can find seams down the middle of opposing defenses. An X factor, regardless, as LBs and DBs will have much to contain.

The Aztecs are vowing a renewed interest in the running game, and with the loss of wideouts, it's likely a decent crew of backs will see more carries. Sophomores Frederick Collins and Michael Franklin are both versatile threats and should divvy up most of the carries. After entering San Diego State as one of the most touted prep stars in school history (2,000 yards rushing, 1,000 yards receiving, 45 total touchdowns as a senior), Collins fizzled as a freshman (largely due to poor pass blocking). He still managed 333 yards and 41 per game, best on the team. Those numbers will increase, but it's doubtful he'll get to 1,000 yards in that offense, especially if Franklin's around. The sophomore is more elusive, averaging 5.6 per carry. Those two will make for a nice thunder-and-lightning tandem … if the Aztecs ever hand off the football. Hyped freshman Lynell Hamilton might contribute, too, but as a rookie will be behind Collins and Franklin on the learning curve.

Craft expects improvement up front after a jumbled season of shifts on the offensive line. He brings back a core group of players, but don't expect positions and starters to be finalized until some time in August. Seniors Brendan Darby, Gerald Sykes and Damien Holman, as well as sophomore Jasper Harvey, all have starting experience and will be among the players in the mix. With Craft's commitment to run the football, he'll need a big year out of the big bodies up front.


OT Brendan Darby


Returning Starters in bold
QB Adam Hall-Sr (6-3, 220) Matt Dlugolecki-So (6-4, 210)
RB Fred Collins-So (5-11, 195) Michael Franklin-So (5-7, 175)
SLT Robert Ortiz-So (6-1, 175) Devin Pitts-Jr (6-3, 195)
WR Lonnel Penman-Jr (6-2, 205) Wesley Williams-Jr (6-3, 225)
WR Jermaine Moore-Sr (6-0, 195) Jeff Webb-So (6-2, 195)
TE Raleigh Fletcher-Sr (6-4, 270) Jason Dion-Sr (6-3, 265)
OT Brendan Darby-Sr (6-7, 300) Damien Holman-Sr (6-3, 315)
OG Shawn Dickie-Sr (6-5, 315) Anthony Foli-Sr (6-5, 280)
C Jasper Harvey-So (6-3, 295) Danny Negrete-So (6-1, 310)
OG Gerald Sykes-Sr (6-1, 310) Nephi Penerosa-Fr (6-2, 300)
OT Mike Kracalik-Jr (6-9, 340) ..
K Brock Emmanuel-Fr (6-2, 175) ..



written by Ryan Hockensmith

San Diego State allowed 411 yards per game last season, good (or bad, in this case) for 95th in the country in total defense. So things really can only get better.

The Aztecs bring back a strong group of linebackers, with all three starters returning in their 4-3 defense. Middle linebacker Kirk Morrison, All-Conference last season as a sophomore, will again be the focal point of the defense. He racked up 97 tackles and will make some big plays (five fumble recoveries, three interceptions). He's a little undersized to be taking on 300-pound linemen with a running start, but Morrison is a battler and always around the ball. Starters Stephen Larsen and Beau Trickey will again be beside him. Those two combined for 111 tackles and eight tackles for loss (TFLs) in 2002. Junior Heath Farwell also will be in the mix, and rightfully so. Farwell, smallish at 6'1", 225, plays like a safety and finished with 10 TFLs. If Farwell doesn't break into the starting lineup, watch out for him on third-and-long blitzes.

Ultimately, though, improvement will have to come from the front four if the linebackers are going to be able to fend off unhindered linemen. The loss of pass rusher Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, brother of Green Bay Packers sack artist Kabeer, won't help. Getting back Ryan Iata, granted a sixth year of eligibility after an early-season knee injury in 2002, will. Iata is productive, but won't necessarily help the team improve their awful pass rush (28 sacks in 13 games). He'll start opposite Gbaja-Biamila's back-up, Brandon Rager (three sacks). Rager has drawn raves from the coaching staff for his off-season improvement. Inside, starter Brook Miller is back after recording six TFLs and 28 tackles a year ago. Junior Blake Lobel is his likely line mate, but Freddie McCutcheon, Va'ati Maka and Johnathan Bailes will push for time, too. The Aztecs need to establish a good rotation here, and keeping OLmen off their linebackers is top priority.

In the secondary, youth will be served --- again --- this season. After struggling with two sophomore starters at safety, that position looks like it could be a strength in 2003. Junior Josh Dean will be back at strong safety in 2003. He's a hitter who can play both the run and pass, and Dean should be even better. Keith Ellison will get a look at the one of the safety spots, with last season's sophomore starter, Marviel Underwood, becoming another possibility. Underwood, one of the fastest players on the team, still could play safety, and he'd start. But after last season's pass defense woes, San Diego State's need for athleticism on the corner might require his presence. He had 83 tackles and three interceptions in the defensive backfield a year ago, but he can cover. If he's at corner, Underwood will start opposite do-everything All-Conference candidate Jeff Shoate. Shoate, too, is a complete player. The Aztecs need improved one-on-one coverage out of him, but Shoate's not a liability.


CB Jeff Shoate


Returning Starters in bold
DE Ryan Iata-Sr (6-5, 275) Robert Miller-So (6-6, 235)
DT Brook Miller-Sr (6-4, 270) Freddie McCutcheon-So (6-0, 290)
DT Blake Lobel-Jr (6-3, 255) ..
DE Brandon Rager-Sr (6-3, 245) Kurt Kahui-So (6-1, 230)
SLB Stephen Larsen-Jr (6-1, 230) Heath Farwell-Jr (6-1, 225)
MLB Kirk Morrison-Jr (6-2, 240) Adam Nyssen-Jr (5-11, 220)
WLB Beau Trickey-Sr (6-1, 240) Matt McCoy-So (6-0, 210)
CB LaVance Ray-Sr (5-11, 170) Jacob Elimimian-So (5-11, 170)
CB Jeff Shoate-Sr (5-10, 175) Hubert Caliste-Jr (6-2, 190)
SS Josh Dean-Jr (6-1, 215) Keith Ellison-So (6-1, 210)
FS Marviel Underwood-Jr (5-11, 195) Marcus Demps-So (6-0, 195)
P Seth Santro-Sr (6-1, 200) ..




This could be a danger spot for the Aztecs. Starting kicker Tommy Kirovski and punter Brian Simnjanovski are both gone, with green senior punter Seth Santoro and redshirt freshman kicker Brook Emmanuel the likely replacements. Neither played a year ago, and both were basically ignored this spring. SDSU's self-imposed NCAA sanctions trimmed spring practice from four weeks to two weeks, and in the rush to cram as much as possible into those 14 days, both specialists were ignored. Santoro averaged almost 50 yards on three punts in the Aztecs' final spring scrimmage, but both players will be learning on the fly come August. Franklin was solid on both punt and kick returns and should resume both roles in 2003.