#39 San Diego FCS Football 2012 Preview

San Diego Toreros

2012 Overall Rank: #39
#1 Pioneer
San Diego FCS College Football 2012 Team Preview
San Diego Team Page


A year from now San Diego will be thinking about a trip to the FCS Playoffs. When the tournament expands to 24 teams for the 2013 season, the Pioneer League will finally get an automatic bid. But for now the Toreros are playing for a Pioneer title, an honor they shared in 2011. But it will not be that simple this season. Drake, the co-champs last season, have another strong squad, Jacksonville should be much improved after a disappointing 2011 campaign and Dayton is always a contender.

2011 Record: (9-2, 7-1)
2011 Postseason: None
Coach: Ron Caragher (36-19 at San Diego, 36-19 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tanner Engstrand
Defensive Coordinator: Dale Lindsey

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Kenny James, RB, 1,208 yards
Passing: Mason Mills, QB, 2,370 yards
Receiving: Brandon White, WR, 561 yards
Tackles: Zach Dunaj, LB, 74
Sacks: Blake Oliaro, DE, 15.0
Interceptions: Joey York, S, 3

Other Key Returnees: G Mike Arnold, S Robbie Beathard, LB Zach Devaney, WR Sam Hoekstra, OT Matt Peleti

Key Losses: CB Al-Rilwan Adeyemi, TE Packy Doyle, C Christian Fetters, S Loka Kanongataa, DE Mario Kurn, LB Joe Martin, WR John McGough

If you look at San Diego’s numbers, there really is not anything they are great at doing. The offense is average by Pioneer League standards. The defense allowed 23.64 points per game, ranking fifth in the conference. But if you look closer, you can see why the Toreros are consistent contenders. This is a program that develops talent on both lines. The offense line must replace four year starter Christian Fetters, but they have enough talent to do it, most notably with guard Mike Arnold and tackle Matt Peleti. That o-line also paves the way for a decent running game. Kenny James did not garner too much attention last season, but he quietly rushed for 1,208 yards and a dozen touchdowns. The line on the other side of the ball is even more impressive. End Blake Oliaro tallied an impressive 15.0 sacks in 2011 and, even though his fellow end Mario Kurn is gone, San Diego will still get to the quarterback on a regular basis. Some new faces will have to fill the void, but reloading on the lines is what this team does. The linebackers behind that talented line will help out quite a bit too. Leading tackler Zach Dunaj is back, as is fellow linebacker Zach Devaney.

Quarterback Mason Mills threw for 2,370 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. He even completed a solid 61.7 percent of his pass attempts. He has the advantage of that fine offensive line and will rarely get pressured. San Diego quarterbacks were only sacked 13 times last year. And maybe Mills has a little too much time. He will occasionally try to make a tough throw and that led to 13 interceptions. That number needs to come down. With Sam Hoekstra and Brandon White gaining some valuable experience in 2011, the passing game should be better. However, Mills does need to be more consistent or the opposition will stack the box, stop James and make Mills beat them through the air. And sometimes he will.

The Bottom Line:
The passing game will go a long way in determining the winner of the Pioneer League, and not just Mills and the offense. The San Diego secondary was not very good in 2011 and now they are without cornerback Al-Rilwan Adeyemi and safety Loka Kanongataa, both of whom were All-Conference players in 2010 and 2011. Safeties Joey York and Robbie Beathard are back to lead the secondary, but replacing Adeyemi and Kanongataa will prove to be more difficult than replacing some of the other departed players. This is a team that can win games without passing efficiently and giving up way too many yards through the air, as they did last season, but if that is the case again, the rest of the Pioneer League may not let San Diego get away with it this time around.

Projected Postseason: None

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 157.82 (52nd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 235.09 (36, 7)
Total Offense: 392.91 (35, 4)
Scoring Offense: 31.09 (31, 4)
Rushing Defense: 113.45 (15, 3)
Pass Defense: 238.09 (101, 5)
Total Defense: 351.55 (46, 4)
Scoring Defense: 23.64 (40, 5)
Turnover Margin: -.09 (59, 5)
Sacks: 3.64 (4, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.18 (19, 1)