There was supposed to be a quarterback competition this week and next week between Jalen Mayden and Braxton Burmeister at San Diego State practices.
Burmeister missed Saturday’s game while in concussion protocol and Mayden stepped in to lead the Aztecs to a 16-14 win over Hawaii.
After the game, SDSU head coach Brady Hoke said Mayden’s 24-for-36 and 322-yard performance didn’t necessarily earn him a start for the team’s next game, Oct. 21. 22 in Nevada.
“There will be competition,” Hoke said. “Brax, we expect to come back, so we will have some competition.”
So far, this competition is one-sided as Burmeister is not yet ready to return.
Hoke said at his weekly press conference on Tuesday that “we have to make sure Braxton is ready to come back. Right now he’s not.
“We’re going through the concussion and the protocols. I really appreciate our doctors and what they’re doing to make sure he’s okay.”
During Tuesday afternoon’s practice (the only practice open this week to the media), Burmeister sat out the warm-up drills, briefly watching Mayden, freshmen Liu Aumavae and Tobin O’Dell, and the DJ Ralph Ralph were put to the test by the new quarterbacks coach. Ryan Lindley.
Burmeister returned to the locker room within 5–10 minutes of stepping out onto the training ground, and he did not return for the portion of practice – approximately 30 minutes – that was open to the media.
This contrasts with the previous week — the Monday and Tuesday after a Friday Night game at Boise State — when Burmeister participated in throwing drills, among other non-contact activities.
At the time, Hoke said Burmeister was progressing to the game against Hawaii.
Apparently he had some sort of setback in his recovery.
The Aztecs have a limited training schedule before coaches head out to recruit during this bye week, so quarterback competition won’t begin in earnest until next week.
Assuming, of course, that Burmeister is licensed to practice.
West Mountain Race
What about the Mountain West race?
Two weeks ago, the Air Force and UNLV appeared to be the rising teams in the Mountain and West divisions, respectively.
Then the Air Force came out this weekend and lost 34-27 to a previously struggling Utah State team and UNLV suffered a lopsided 40-7 loss to the strong State of San José.
Hoke gave the Spartans a nod when asked to assess the situation.
“They’ve got a good quarterback (Hawaii transfer Chad Cordeiro),” he said, “they’ve got a good D-line. I think they’re pretty good, and then what they did at UNLV.
Boise State, the preseason pick in the Mountain, appears to have righted the ship after firing its offensive coordinator two weeks ago.
Two of Saturday’s most telling matchups are San Jose State at Fresno State and Air Force at UNLV.
Aztecs fans can get an idea of what Nevada’s next opponent will be when the Wolf Pack play in Hawaii.
Mountain Department — Boise State (4-2, 3-0 MW), Colorado State (1-4, 1-0), Wyoming (4-3, 2-1), Utah State (2-4, 1- 1), Air Force (4-2, 1-2), New Mexico (2-4, 0-3)
western division — San Jose State (4-1, 2-0), UNLV (4-2, 2-1), SDSU (3-3, 1-1), Fresno State (1-4, 0-1), Hawaii (1-5, 0-1), Nevada (2-4, 0-2).
Mayden’s passing performance improved the Aztecs from an average of 65.6 yards to 108.3 yards on passing offense.
This allowed SDSU to rank last in the category among FBS’ 131 teams. The Aztecs now rank 128th – ahead of UConn (99.4), Air Force (91.5) and UMass (70.8).
It was time for SDSU’s run-dominant ball-control offense to put them among the leaders in the nation in time of possession.
SDSU had the ball for 36 minutes and 10 seconds against Hawaii, the first time in six games this season the Aztecs had a possession time advantage.
SDSU ranks 72nd in the category (29:40) nationally.
The week off allows players to heal their cuts and bruises.
The return of three starters – offensive linemen Ross Ulugalu-Maseuli (knee) and Kyle Trombley (foot) and linebacker Michael Shawcroft (foot) – is not necessarily imminent, however.
Ulugalu-Maseuli has a smaller brace than he was wearing and Trombley is moving better after pre-season foot surgery, but neither player has returned to training since injury. In July, Hoke thought Trombley might be ready to return after the break.
Shawcroft suffered an injury at Boise State that kept him out of action against Hawaii and also served as a practice observer.