At Sean Lewis’ introductory press conference, SDSU’s new head coach would not commit to keeping the 3-3-5 defense that has served the program well for 15 years. While the Aztecs have not publicly provided any indication of what their base defense will be, there are clues to suggest what they will be running.
When CB Isaiah Buxton committed to SDSU, one of the reasons he listed was that the coaching staff said they would continue to play five defensive backs. Only two defenses utilize five DBs, the 3-3-5 or the 4-2-5.
The next clue came from San Diego High School Section Coach of the Year, Kellan Cobbs. Cobbs, the head coach at Granite Hills explained why the Aztecs failed to recruit DE Damarrion White hard for most of the recruiting cycle.
“SDSU before wasn’t the right fit in terms of system,” Cobbs told EVT. “So they never really recruited him that hard. As soon as they made the switch to a four-man front, they were all-in on him.”
When asked if the Aztecs had told him they were switching defenses, Cobbs added, “Basically, yes, looks like (they will) move from a 3-3 to a 4-2.”
Piecing those insights together suggests the Aztecs will be switching to a 4-2-5 defense.
As these puzzle pieces lined up, the first reports that Lewis had turned to Washington Special Teams Coordinator/Edge Coach Eric Schmidt to lead the defense began to pour in. Sources confirmed the hire to EVT. Like his predecessor Kurt Mattix, Schmidt will coach the linebackers as well.
Schmidt brings a wealth of experience to the Mesa. Aside from his time in Seattle helping lead the Huskies’ defensive resurgence, Schmidt spent two seasons at conference rival Fresno State. He served as the defensive line and special teams coach for the Bulldogs.
His hire makes sense. Former head coach Brady Hoke coached the defensive line along with defensive line coach Bojay Filimoeatu. Adding Schmidt’s experience coaching that group should mitigate some of what was lost when Hoke retired.
EVT has also learned Schmidt has hired Idaho defensive coordinator Rob Aurich to oversee the team’s edge rushers. This likely means Filimoeatu will focus on the interior linemen.
My earliest sport’s memory involve tailgating at the Murph, running down the circular exit ramps, and seeing the Padres, Chargers and Aztecs play. As a second generation Aztec, I am passionate about all things SDSU. Other interests include raising my four children, being a great husband and teaching high school.