HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … San Diego.
SAN DIEGO (10-3 IN 2017)
Pioneer Football League (USD was 1st in 2017)
COACH: Dale Lindsey – 6th year (46-13 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 36.4 ppg. (7th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 17.5 ppg. (13th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Chris Klieman summed it up perfectly. The North Dakota State head coach was being asked questions by the media before the Bison's second-round playoff game versus San Diego. The Toreros, a non-scholarship team, were coming off a win against a Big Sky team for the second straight year and coming to the Fargodome. Klieman put it bluntly. "If San Diego played in the Big Sky, they would have finished third this year."
That's high praise for a team out of the PFL in regards to the nation's third best conference. But San Diego isn't your typical non-scholarship team. This program is legit with terrific football players, some who go on to play in the NFL. The Toreros haven't lost a conference game since 2015 and have won at least a share of the PFL title every year since 2014. They don't appear to be taking any steps back this year with 12 returning starters, led by experienced quarterback Anthony Lawrence.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: No USD player or coach is going to admit this, but no one in the PFL is going to challenge this team this year. The closest game last season was 16 points. The year before was 12. This is a team that's going to make the playoffs, and depending on matchups, can make a deep run. The Toreros showed they can win first-round games these last two years. If they weren't sent to play NDSU and played a weaker seeded team, like Jacksonville State or Central Arkansas last season, the Toreros likely would have won. A non-scholarship team in the quarterfinals? If the matchups are right, don't be surprised to see USD there.
TOP RETURNEE: QB Anthony Lawrence (multi-year starter, 3,131 yards, 33 TDs, 3 INT. in 2017 )
THE NEXT BEST: OT Daniel Cooney (6-foot-8, 315-pound pro prospect); RB Emilio Martinez (1,033 yards rushing, 10 TDs); RB Joseph Binda, Jr. (454 yards rushing, 6 TDs); LB Kim Mahoney (top returning tackle, 64 total); FB Zach Nelson (All-PFL First Team)
DID YOU KNOW?: USD head coach Dale Lindsey has more than 30 years of coaching experience at the high school, college and professional level and served as the San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator in 2002-03.
THE QUOTE: “My question is, what took other people so long to realize they’re good coaches? You’re not going to win just because you have players. You have to have players, but you must have good coaches, too. Those three who left? They were good coaches and good recruiters.” — Head Coach Dale Lindsey on losing his OC, DC and tight ends and special teams coach
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #GoToreros
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @USDToreros