With just one more practice remaining after this, San Jose State football played its annual spring scrimmage on Saturday. With nearly 100 plays in addition to kicking demos, 10 of 19 drives led to scores.
Junior college transfer Sam Allen, a sophomore, led the quarterbacks with 217 yards and three touchdowns on 12-for-22 passing; he also had an interception late. Incumbent starter and senior Kenny Potter attempted just eight passes, with five completions, 40 yards, and a touchdown. Walk-on redshirt freshman Josh Love completed six of 14 passes for 54 yards.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Bailey Gaither led the team in rushing with a single 63-yard touchdown run on a reverse pass. Running back Zamore Zigler, also a redshirt freshman, had the most rushing yards among running backs, with 52 yards on ten carries including a touchdown. Sophomore Malik Roberson rushed for 29 yards on nine carries, and Allen had 21 rushing yards on seven carries.
Sophomore wide receiver Tre Hartley led in receiving with 122 yards on ten catches with one touchdown. Senior Tim Crawley made two receptions for 44 yards. Rahshead Johnson, a sophomore transfer from USC who becomes eligible for competition this fall, caught three passes for 16 yards. Roberson and sophomore tight end Josh Oliver both had receiving touchdowns. Three seniors who were important to last year’s receiving corps sat out with injury: running back Thomas Tucker, wide receiver Tyler Winston and tight end Billy Freeman.
Head coach Ron Caragher felt encouraged with his team’s offensive play and expressed confidence entering the next stage of the offseason.
“A lot of questions have been answered, and I look forward to watching the film from today,” said Caragher.
The defense gave up 5.13 yards per rush, similar to the average allowed over the past three seasons. Despite this, the defensive unit made four quarterback sacks, with two by senior defensive end Eugene Taylor and another by senior linebacker Epie Sona. Sophomore Bryson Bridges added another sack. Jeremy Kelly made a late interception of a Hail Mary pass by Allen during a two-minute touchdown drive drill. In the final play, Taylor strip-sacked Love, with Travis Miller recovering the loose ball.
Linebacker Christian Tago and cornerback Andre Chachere, both starters from last season, did not participate due to injuries.
Regarding the defensive line, Caragher’s next step focuses on developing depth.
“‘Next man up’ has got to apply...No team has gone through a season with just four guys [on the front four],” explained Caragher.
Some defensive line players appeared to be upright, giving the impression that this season’s defense may vary from the 4-3 of the past two seasons.
“It’s still really a four-down scheme, but it’s a stand-up position most of the time,” clarified Caragher. “It gives them the ability to drop off into coverage.”
Defensive coordinator Ron English acknowledged that the defense could have played better.
“The offense did a nice job...we did not play with the same energy we have all spring,” said English.
The entire placekicking trio is open for competition due to graduations. Following two seasons of shaky field goal kicking, both placekickers placed all their extra point and field goal attempts through the uprights in their competition to succeed Austin Lopez. Returning sophomore Bryce Crawford went three-for-three on field goals with a long of 45 yards. Junior Jake Lanski, a junior college transfer, made both of his field goal attempts, from 33 and 38 yards. Punter Michael Carrizosa was the holder on all placekicking attempts, and senior linebacker Mark Amann and junior college transfer Gianfranco Fortino competed for the long snapper position.
The team has one final practice for the spring on Wednesday. Caragher said that having this extra practice gives the team an opportunity to correct any mistakes and review film of today’s scrimmage.
Caragher also gave a post-game speech to players’ parents, to thank them for watching and to introduce them to the new assistant coaches and staffers.
“We’re all working together. We all want their sons to reach their goals and dreams [not only] on the football field but also the classroom,” Caragher summarized his talk to parents.
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