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COLLEGE FOOTBALL POSTSEASON BOWL GAMES : FREEDOM BOWL : Luginbill Undecided on H-Back

Freshman running back Marshall Faulk and sophomore quarterback David Lowery had answered two of San Diego State’s offensive questions by October.

But as SDSU prepares for the Freedom Bowl, there is one spot that continues to give Coach Al Luginbill fits--H-back. He still isn’t sure whether junior Larry Maxey or sophomore Will Tate will start.

Maxey was the starter all season, but he did not catch a pass in in SDSU’s last two games. Tate sustained a pulled hamstring in fall camp, didn’t play until early October but has been improving.

“That position has been nebulous for us all year,” Luginbill said. “There are some things Larry does well and there are some things he doesn’t do well. Inexperience has been a factor, injuries have been a factor, you name it.

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“We haven’t gotten the production from the H-back spot we normally do. It’s no secret. We need that position to be productive in our offense.”

Last season’s H-back, Jimmy Raye, who now plays for the Rams, caught 62 passes for 697 yards and five touchdowns. Maxey, who has received more time than anybody at H-back for SDSU this season, caught only 22 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns.

Maxey has been shuffled between defensive back, receiver, running back and H-back during his three years at SDSU and, while capable at nearly any offensive position, has yet to establish himself. He said he will not be upset if he doesn’t start.

“It won’t be that big to me, as long as I get in there,” Maxey said. "(Tate) is not behind me and I’m not behind him. It’s whoever gets the job done in practice.”

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Tate, who caught six passes for 56 yards this season, did not travel to Irvine with the team Saturday because he had a viral infection. He practiced Monday.

Luginbill said he probably will name a starter by the end of the week. “I’m in no hurry,” he said.

What he might want to do soon, though, is take another look at the SDSU roommates’ chart. Tate stayed in San Diego an extra two days, Luginbill said, because he was “highly contagious.” Although doctors have cleared him and Tate is apparently no longer contagious, it seems the Aztecs wouldn’t want to take a risk.

Tate is rooming with Faulk.

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Aztec players said they enjoyed Sunday at Disneyland, although some enjoyed it more than others. Lowery, Faulk and linebacker Andy Coviello were ushered around the park for part of the day by a Disneyland camera crew, which was filming promotional footage.

As a result, while they were with the camera crew, the trio got to skip all of the long lines for each ride. They were escorted into a ride through the exit and got to go on several three or four times.

“It was great,” Coviello said. “We were in the front row on every ride. Linebackers aren’t used to that kind of stuff.”

Did Coviello--who likes to scowl--smile?

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“No,” he said. “I didn’t shave, either.”

But he did buy some Mickey Mouse ears.

“Wore them the rest of the day,” he said.


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