Despite getting the win against Sacramento State on Saturday, the Aztecs lost a key piece of their offense when senior quarterback Christian Chapman went down with a left knee injury in the second quarter and was carted off. Replacing him was junior Ryan Agnew, and the backup had a good game, going 11 of 17 with 159 passes and two interceptions.
A MRI scan revealed that Chapman has a sprained MCL and he will miss up to six weeks with the injury. Agnew will now get his chance to step up and lay claim to the starting job with Chapman out for an extended time. He has the skills to do it what with his live arm and mobility.
If, for some reason, Agnew can’t step up and deliver quality play, Rocky Long does have some options at the quarterback position. Here are the backup options at quarterback.
The third string quarterback and the next option after Agnew, Salazar spent his high school days at Rancho Bernardo High School. Salazar has some impressive numbers as he led the team to a 24-3 record over the past two years, including an 11-1 mark as a senior in 2016. He was fairly accurate, going 257-for-374 (68.7 pct.) for 3,496 yards and 32 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in his junior and senior years (he only attempted nine passes his freshman year and didn’t play his sophomore year).
His numbers put him on SDSU’s radar and earned him a three-star rating from 247sports and a two-star rating from Rivals and Scouts. After redshirting his freshman year, Salazar earned himself the third spot on the depth chart behind Chapman and Agnew. Salazar is a very accurate quarterback who can also make play with his legs (he rushed 52 times for 237 yards and seven touchdowns at Rancho Bernardo).
He will continue to get practice reps with the scout team, but if Agnew underachieves or falls due to an injury, Salazar will be the next man up for the Aztecs.
Boudreau originally came to Montezuma Mesa as a backup to punter Tanner Blain. He eventually switched to quarterback in 2017 and got some reps when Chapman was down with a thumb injury. The sophomore redshirted his first year and didn’t see the field during his freshman season as he mainly played on the scout team.
Bourdreau would be the next man up if, for some bizarre reason, both Agnew and Salazar were to go down, but it is still quite unlikely for that to happen.
Another freshman, Baker hails from Helix High School and was ranked a two-star prospect by Rival. He helped the Highlanders to a 34-7 (.829) record over the three years he played, including a state championship appearance and 13-2 record in 2017. Baker was 368-for-546 (67.3 pct.) for 5,544 yards, throwing for 62 touchdowns against just eight interceptions in his career as a Highlander, making him a dangerous weapon to have at the quarterback position.
He is still young and quite raw at the position, so he will need time to adjust to the college level whereas a player like Salazar has already redshirted and has had time to get used to the NCAA level. When Chapman and Agnew graduate, it will be an interesting spring camp with both Salazar and Baker fighting for a starting job. For now though, Baker is a long shot to play at the quarterback.
The passing game is… switched up
If Rocky Long wants to go a little wild, he can go for an all-running back situation with Wildcat formations and trick plays to confuse the defense. San Diego State could take a page from the Super Bowl winning Philadelphia Eagles and go for the “Philly Special”, a play that saw quarterback Nick Foles catch a touchdown pass from Trey Burton. Agnew, Salazar or even Juwan Washington could play the role of Foles while Parker Houston, Kahale Warring or Fred Travillion can throw the pass.
Washington would be the one making passes and running the ball, but it is a tall tale asking for him to control the offense entirely. While this wacky idea may be the longest of long shots, it is always to fun to imagine what kind of Madden-esque plays could come out of this format.
For now though, Agnew has been handed the keys to the starting job and he will continue to do so if/when Chapman returns from his injury. However, the Aztecs have options in case the worst-case scenario occurs.