August 22, 2008
By John Philip Wyllie
It has been ten years since the San Diego State Aztec Football Team posted a winning record and went to a bowl game, but lanky senior wide out Darren Mougey thinks that draught is about to end. Mougey and his teammates were out on the field working hard long after the sun had set on Monday evening preparing for their August 30 home opener against Cal Poly.
When Mougey arrived at Montezuma Mesa in 2004 he was a highly touted quarterback. But after failing to wrest the starting job from (now NFL quarterback) Kevin O’Connell he decided last year that he could be of more use to the team as a wide receiver. His 6’6” frame should provide freshman quarterback Ryan Lindley with an ample target. Having been a signal caller, Mougey has some unique insights into the former El Capitan H.S. star, Lindley.
“Ryan has got the arm. He makes all the throws. He can rifle things in there and he can air it out. While Kevin was a little more versatile in that he could also run, Ryan can move around in the pocket too.”
Initially, Mougey acted as a mentor to Lindley, but he says those days are long gone.
“Ryan has spent a lot of time in the film room and been focused all summer, so now he is coaching me up a little bit. I know how quarterbacks like to communicate with receivers and we communicate well. We have a great relationship.”
Lining up at for the first time as a wideout, last year was a learning year for Mougey. This year he plans to put some of those lessons to use.
“I never played receiver before last year, so just playing for a solid year and getting that experience has made me a lot more mature. I really came along last year so this year I am more seasoned. I still have a lot to learn, but I really feel I can be that guy who helps the younger guys out. I want to be that big play guy that makes the catch and then breaks tackles and gets a bunch of yards.”
Mougey’s enthusiasm is not limited to his own improvement or the tremendous potential and rapid development he has seen in Lindley.
“I am impressed with this whole team. We have a lot of leaders and a bunch of hard workers. These are hustle guys that come out to practice and bust their butts. We are not going to have it the way that it has been these last few years here at San Diego State. You can see that in their eyes and feel that in the locker room. We have guys like Mekell Wesley and Roberto Wallace making plays that we haven’t made in the past. I have a good feeling about things. We have had a really good camp and I have enjoyed it.”
Players sometimes don’t like to make predictions, but Mougey had no problem sharing his thoughts on the upcoming season.
“We are going to go to a bowl game and nothing less. That is everybodies expectation from the lowest guy on the totem pole to the youngest freshman coming in all the way up to head coach, Chuck Long. I think we have got every guy on board here that we are going to a bowl game and that we are going to do whatever that takes.”