Two weeks from the opener and in the wake of the Great Chickenpox Panic of 2017, the San Diego State fanfest/scrimmage/infectious disease quarantine saw the Black Team beat the Red Team 27-6 on Saturday.
Wait. Or was it the Red Team that won?
And why wasn’t the Red Team wearing red?
I don’t know the answer to either of these questions, and I’m actually OK with embracing the mystery here so don’t bother telling me.
Look, scrimmages are neat things for football coaches and football-starved obsessives, but for the average fan they can be pretty thin gruel. The most exciting players on the team — running backs Rashaad Penny and Juwan Washington — didn’t even see the field, save for a couple of non-contact punt return drills. That’s not a complaint, mind you; those guys don’t need reps to remember how to be awesome, so there’s certainly no reason to risk a freak injury.
It’s just a reminder not to draw too many conclusions. That said, I do have a few observations from an evening at The Concrete Tombstone. In no particular order:
- The PA guy does not call the stadium by its rightful, Christian name, The Concrete Tombstone. It sounds like they’re going with “San Diego Stadium” for now, at least until some middle schoolers from Rancho Penasquitos collect the $125 necessary to rename it Principal Fetterman Sniffs His Own Butt Stadium.
- The first-team offense’s performance in the first half was … grim. The line, which features four new starters and two starters (at least) beset by the dreaded pox, was the culprit. Temporary starting running back Chase Jasmin found no room to run and Christian Chapman faced a heavy rush every time he dropped back — including a couple of unimpeded shots from blitzing defenders that would have put him in Alvarado Hospital had he not been shielded from contact by rule. Jasmin had more room to run on a couple of scoring drives in the second half, so maybe they’re figuring things out? Please be figuring things out.
- Both backup quarterbacks looked pretty solid. Rutgers transfer Chris Laviano showed off a strong arm and Ryan Agnew led a couple of impressive scoring drives. The second half of the Fresno State game could be fun, is what I’m saying.
- Red Team retire bitch.
- It’s really nice to see linebacker Randy Ricks back in action. He lost last season to a foot injury, and a medical redshirt is allowing him a second crack at a senior season. He sacked Chapman twice and batted down one of his passes. Ricks has always looked the part, and I’m starting to think he could be a terror this year.
- While there were no logos or designs painted on the field, we MAY have gotten a sneak peak at one of the biggest changes to the post-Chargers stadium. Those field level corner sections in the south end zone and that weird section of bleachers next to the cannon in the west end zone? Gone. At least for now.
But hang on! Turns out, not everyone agrees with my positive assessment of Field Level seat removal.
- In less positive but more hilarious stadium news, there is a peeling-off Sycuan banner draping down over some seats in the east end zone view level. Want to take bets on whether it’s still like that during the opener? You wish to bet yes, but will find no one who will take this bet.
- I got a ONE CITY ONE TEAM giveaway cup that will look great holding my toothbrush.
Honestly, this is probably the biggest takeaway of the evening.