SDSU’s Rocky Long Praises BYU As ‘Best’ Team On Their Schedule

Nov 27, 2019, 6:15 AM
Head coach Rocky Long looks on during the fourth quarter of a game against the California Golden Be...
Head coach Rocky Long looks on during the fourth quarter of a game against the California Golden Bears at Qualcomm Stadium on September 10, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU concludes its 2019 regular season this Saturday against the San Diego State Aztecs in a renewal of an old conference rivalry.

San Diego State head coach Rocky Long has a long history going up against BYU from his days as a head coach at New Mexico and a defensive coordinator at Wyoming and SDSU. Long, who was born in Provo, knows BYU very well.

Last month, when asked in a weekly press conference about having BYU back on the schedule for his Aztecs. Long said he had no problem playing BYU but wouldn’t schedule them because they left the Mountain West to go Independent back in 2011.

Now that game week between the Cougars and the Aztecs is here, more discussion is taking place on the game and even though Long has some hard feelings towards BYU, he can’t deny that they are a good team.

On his weekly interview with sports radio station XTRA 1360 in San Diego, Long has high praise for the Cougars.

“BYU is – in my opinion – the best football team that we’ve played to this point in the season,” Long said. “They’re obviously mature young men. They’re the biggest and strongest team that we’ve played to this point. They had a little struggle in the middle of the season because their starting quarterback (Zach Wilson) got hurt. When he plays, they’re really, really good; and he’s back… it’s the best football team we’ve played all year. It’s going to be quite a challenge. It’s going to be tough. We’re going to show up and do the best we can.”

San Diego State comes into Saturday’s game with an 8-3 record after playing the 101st ranked schedule in college football according to the Sagarin Rankings. BYU comes into Montezuma Mesa with a 7-4 record after facing the 61st toughest schedule nationally.

Knowing that BYU is the best team on your schedule, one would think you would want games with that program all the time. But hey, old feelings die hard sometimes.

BYU’s Kalani Sitake, who said he’s excited for the regular-season finale with San Diego State, has a lot of respect for Long’s team as well.

“Rocky Long is a great coach. He’s coordinated some good defenses and been the head coach of some great defenses, so he has tons of experience. I look at the coaching staff and they have a lot of experience on that staff. Some of the staff have been head coaches and they’ve been a lot of different places, so experience-wise, you can tell they’re well-coached and that they’re tough. They take the same personality that Rocky Long has. We expect their best shot. I say it every week, we just have to make sure they get ours too.”

Kickoff between BYU and San Diego State is this Saturday at 7 p.m. (MT) and can be seen on CBS Sports Network and heard on KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM).

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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