Football

Aztecs football notebook: Hoke eager for quarterback competition

www.sandiegouniontribune.com

Say this much about the delays to San Diego State starting spring football, it’s actually beginning in the spring for the first time in decades.

SDSU’s “spring” workouts have usually started in February or early March. It was to begin this year in mid-March before a two-week pause brought about by COVID-19 contract tracing.

The players now are to take the practice field Tuesday afternoon for the first of 15 practices that will extend over the following five weeks.

SDSU head coach Brady Hoke touched on several topics Monday afternoon during a Zoom call with media members:

The QB competition

The three candidates for the starting quarterback position — senior returners Lucas Johnson and Jordon Brookshire and sophomore transfer Jalen Mayden — are on relatively equal footing heading into the competition for SDSU’s third starting QB in three years.

Hoke said Johnson may have had the edge had he not been injured in his start at Nevada. That opened the door for Brookshire, who impressed the coach during starts against Colorado State and BYU.

Asked to assess the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Mayden, a Mississippi State transfer, Hoke said: “What I see in Jalen is a guy who has got some experience. You can tell he’s a little bit older. He’s very athletic. I would say he’s a bigger athlete because he’s a pretty thick guy. The ball comes off his hand really well.

“Like most guys who are new to a program, part of what he has to work through is the offense itself and getting back to terminology and how we have the standards and expectations.”

Hoke also was asked if he hopes to identify a starter by the end of the spring, or if he believes the competition will extend into fall camp.

“That’s something we’re excited to see,” he said. “Whether we get there or not, we’ll let you know.”

Secondary consideration

The competition in the secondary, where three new starters must be found, is another area of interest.

Hoke mentioned only one name when asked if there were any leaders in the clubhouse in the competition.

Pat McMorris is a guy who has really stood out,” Hoke said of the junior safety from Santa Ana. “He started the Nevada game when (Dwayne Johnson Jr.) couldn’t and I really thought he did a nice job then and then has continued to work hard.”

Fans at spring game?

Before the delay, it was unlikely that fans would have been allowed at the spring game.

There seems to be that possibility now — “I would hope so,” Hoke said —since it won’t be played until the end of April, when some percentage of fans are being allowed in again at many events.

Getting vaccinated

Those 16 and over will be allowed to get the vaccine beginning in mid-April. Hoke said he would like to see SDSU players get vaccinated.

“We will encourage them,” he said. “We want to make sure they are educated and educate themselves and we want to help that.

“I know that everybody has a different opinion about the vaccine. Some of them are deep-rooted and I get that. Some parents don’t believe in it, but I hope that we’ll educate them, they’ll educate each other and, hopefully, we’ll all get the vaccine.”

Hoke said most of the coaching staff — including himself — already have been vaccinated.

Scott out

Senior safety Rashad Scott, sidelined in midseason with an ACL injury that required surgery, is the only player on the 98-man spring roster expected to be sidelined for the workouts.

“He’s still rehabbing, still coming back,” Hoke said. “Everybody else seems to still be doing a good job.”

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