Sean Lewis to San Diego State: How Ex-Kent State HC can Change the Aztecs

    Sean Lewis is in the process of taking the reins at San Diego State. But can his offense take the Mountain West by storm?

    Looks like the San Diego State Aztecs want to crank up the volume on offense by lining up Sean Lewis as head coach. Per The Action Network Tuesday, the Aztecs will be naming the recent Colorado Buffaloes offensive coordinator as head coach.

    Lewis will be replacing Brady Hoke, who announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2023 season. Hoke’s final Aztec team went 4-8. But Hoke ends his coaching career at 105-92 overall. And by pivoting to an offensive guru in Lewis, SDSU sounds like it wants to turn up the speed in a city known for fast cars and rapid waves.

    How Sean Lewis’s Arrival Switches San Diego State’s Offensive Plan

    This move can come off as replacing a Ford Ranger with an exotic car.

    The Aztecs had long preferred a power running game to wear down opponents. Unfortunately, that philosophy showed its wear and tear — finishing lower than No. 100 in scoring offense, passing, and total offense.

    And under Hoke, SDSU never ranked past No. 75 nationally in total offense.

    Lewis is more on the lines of going at hyper speed with little standing around. The Kent State offense would earn the name “FlashFAST.” His 2020 Kent State offense rose to No.1 nationally by racking up an astonishing 606.5 yards per game. The Golden Flashes also scored at will by averaging 49.8 points per game.

    How did the Flashes zip through defenses?

    Lewis ran his formations off wide splits. Then he hit defenses with RPO’s (run pass option), misdirection and pre-snap motions. He’s even run plays where it appears to be an option pitch to the halfback, but instead it becomes a misdirection reverse to the slot wide receiver.

    That’s not to say that his whole offense will be option heavy. He’s ran plays where a backside guard pulls to make it look like it’s a run. But the quarterback pulls the ball back and rifles it down the field, as the play really creates a one-on-one matchup for the wide receiver.

    Can Lewis Redeem Himself After Losing Play Call Duties at Colorado?

    Lewis’s future hire, however, comes with this burning question from CFB and Aztec fans: Can he shake off losing his play-calling duties at Colorado?

    His offense showed early promise with Deion Sanders as head coach. Colorado scored 45, 36, and 43 points during its 3-0 start. However, the Buffaloes scored 40 or more in just two of their next five games he called the plays. Pat Shurmur ultimately handled the play-calling from there.

    Most will believe Lewis has shaky offensive line protection schemes. The Buffs allowed 54 sacks of Shedeur Sanders, who was eventually banged up from the piles of takedowns he endured.

    Lewis will likely have to address what went wrong and then outline a strong plan in place for the five up front to ensure his system can go at his desired speed.

    Grading the Move by San Diego State

    Lewis was one of two names linked to the SDSU opening, the other being UNLV offensive coordinator Brennan Marion.

    The fact their names were on the list of interviews by the university signifies the Aztecs’ desire to throw out the ball control style; a physical identity that still came at a slow pace. Marion runs a similar fast-paced attack in Sin City through his “Go-Go” offense that comes with unique two-back looks with pre-snap motions.

    Lewis, though, continues SDSU’s current theme of hiring past head coaches with bowl experience. Hoke was someone who produced bowl wins before he re-landed in the 619. His predecessor, Rocky Long, was another who added a 13th game.

    Except this time, Lewis is expected to bring fast-paced energy to a city that often likes to go fast on a speed boat or Lamborghini.

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