Jackson Moore - Scout

One-on-one with San Jose State Offensive Coordinator Andrew Sowder

New SJSU offensive coordinator Andrew Sowder breaks down the future of the Spartans' offense and their progress through spring.

How has spring gone for the offense and how did you feel they did during the spring game?

When you look at the whole spring, I think it’s been a good spring as far as the kids learning the system - learning to play a different style of offense than they’ve been used to, getting the tempo down and getting the schemes down… Today I thought that we were a little bit slow. We got off to a bit of a slow start, but we bounced back, made some plays, ran the ball well and did some good stuff.

Can you put a percentage on how much of the offense has been installed?

I’d say probably about 80 percent. We kind of progressed as spring went on. We probably started with about 50 and progressed through spring and added some more stuff. There’s still some stuff that we haven’t done - we didn’t want to put too much on the kids. But I’d say about 80 percent is about in.

How would you describe this offense?

I’d first say it’s balanced. We’re going to run the ball down the middle and try to throw it deep. We want to take advantage of the entire field - we’re going to spread guys out. But like I said, it’s going to be a downhill running game and we’re also going to try to throw some shots in there. We’ve got the wide splits and for us that opens up some run lanes. I’d say it’s going to be balanced. And we always want to have a good tempo - go fast but have the ability to go slow at times when we need to.

It looked like when you are going fast that it helps the O-Line when the quarterback gets the ball out quick.

It does. You’re going fast… the ball is coming out quick. It helps out your offensive line a little bit. As the game progresses and goes on and you’re running more plays, I think it tires out the defense a little bit. You don’t see as many pass rushes coming off the edge, you don’t see as many blitzes. I think it forces the defense to be a little more simple with their calls. There are definitely some advantages, especially when you get towards the end of the game and you’ve got that play count up.

What can you tell us about the quarterback competition?

Right now we’ve got four guys and it's been a pretty evenly matched competition. Right now, we’re definitely not close to naming a starter and we’ll go into fall camp with those four guys still competing, along with the two freshmen we signed. We’re telling these freshmen it’s wide open. They’re going to come in and compete and it's going to be a six-man race this fall. It’s going to be fun.

Any young players able to catch your eye this spring?

We had some guys really have good springs. As far as a young guy, Jaquan Blackwell is a guy that’s done really well. He redshirted last season so he’ll be a redshirt freshman. He’s come in and made some plays, he’s a steady receiver, got good hands. We’ve got some running backs with experience and they are some leaders on the team. Our offensive line is pretty seasoned with older guys... Overall, I think everyone got better, but Jaquan is a young guy that’s going to have a big impact this next fall.

What’s it like to be the offensive coordinator at San Jose State?

It’s awesome. I’m so blessed to be here, I love California, I love the weather out here and I love the city of San Jose. There’s a lot to do here, it’s beautiful, I love waking up every morning driving to work and seeing those mountains, palm trees and water. I’m truly blessed to be here.

What principles are you trying to get across to your personnel?

The first thing is we want to attack. We want to be on the offensive all the time. We want to attack and be aggressive. We want to attack every rep, whether it’s one-on-ones or individual drills. We want to attack everything and never take a rep off. We want to devastate the defense. We’ve got to progress to a point offensively where we can do that - get first downs, move the ball and play fast… get into the fourth quarter and put it on them.

What’s it been like to recruit players to San Jose State?

It’s been great. Coach Brennan takes it really seriously. Anytime you’ve got a head coach that loves recruiting and gets into it I think you’re going to be successful. Our team and our recruiting efforts are going to be pretty much all in California. The state of California is a huge priority for us, the Bay Area is a huge priority for us. You’ve got a staff that’s young, energetic and putting a lot of time and effort into recruiting. I thought our first class went really well given the limited time we had. But we’re going to try to dominate the Bay Area and dominate the state of California. It’s going to show in this next class. Once we give this staff a full year to recruit, I think we can do some really good things.

What are the key attributes you are looking for in future Spartans?

Every position is a little bit different. First thing we want is a guy that really loves football, wants to go to school here, fits in academically, but also with what we do offensively and defensively and fit into our culture. We want some guys with some personality to them and guys that want to come out and compete everyday - guys that love football, are aggressive and wants to make plays. Ultimately, everything is going to be predicated on making plays. We want playmakers here and guys that can move the football.

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