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SDSU QB Competition Likely Settled

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Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images
Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

San Deigo State head coach Rocky Long just wrapped up spring practice, and it didn’t have the feel of a team coming off a 9-4 season and a share of the Mountain West championship.

Long is right to treat his spring session as such. There are a lot of questions surrounding the Aztecs this season, and many of them swirl around the quarterback position.

Long and new offensive coordinator Bob Toledo need to improve on a passing attack that was among the worst in the country last year, averaging only 175.9 yards per game.

How do they plan on doing that?

A good, old-fashioned open quarterback competition, of course!

When spring practice began, there were six players looking to take the reins of the Aztecs’ first-string offense. Now that the annual Red and Black scrimmage is over, U-T San Diego is reporting that there are only three candidates left, with a familiar face as the front-runner.

Here are the odds on who should win SDSU’s top quarterback spot when the kids come back from summer vacation.

Adam Dingwell

Upside: Dingwell was the odds-on favorite to win the starting job going into the spring because he took over after Ryan Katz broke his ankle last year. The junior filled in admirably, leading the Aztecs to a 4-1 record to finish out the season.

Downside: Dingwell may have managed to keep the Aztecs’ ship from sinking during the final five games last season, but he didn’t set the world on fire. He was prone to turnovers, throwing seven interceptions and only eight touchdowns. Dingwell also melted down in the Aztecs’ bowl game against BYU, only completing 41 percent of his passes and tossing three interceptions.

Odds: 2-1. It doesn’t appear that Dingwell wowed the coaching staff during the spring, but he did enough to prompt Long to name him quarterback No. 1 going into the fall. He completed seven out of 13 passes for 90 yards in the Red and Black game, but also threw an interception. Either way, it looks like he will have to lay an egg this summer to lose his grip on the top spot.

Quinn Kaehler

Upside: Kaehler threw for more than 4,044 yards before transferring out of Diablo Valley College last season. That’s 886 more than the Aztecs quarterbacks had combined last year. He played on the “Black” squad for the spring scrimmage, which is normally reserved for starters, despite having the least amount of experience with the team.

Downside: The JuCo transfer spent most of his time working out of the spread at Diablo Valley, which means he’ll need some time to adjust to making pre-snap reads from under center.

Odds: 10-1. Now that Kaehler has an idea what to expect out of this offense, he could push Dingwell for the starting spot. He needs to prove to Long and Toledo that the jump from junior college to the Mountain West isn’t a quantum leap. If Dingwell can’t stop throwing to the wrong team, Kaehler could get a look.

Jake Bernards

Upside: Bernards brings five years of experience into his campaign for the starting bid, meaning he has spent the most time in a pro style offense. All he will need to learn is Toledo’s terminology.

Downside: It could be that Bernards never earned Long’s trust to play under center. If he had, why didn’t the elder statesmen get a look last year when Katz when down with his injury?

Odds: 50-1. Bernards will wind up being the suckers bet to get the starting nod if we are to believe the spring statistics. The redshirt senior only played one series and completed two of three passes for eight yards.