Spartan Football Predicted to Finish Last in WAC..

Finding a synergy with a group of young pups is going to take a while, so the strong stable of running backs could signal a mild change in philosophy, especially early on in the season. Keep an eye on this quarterback situation in the fall, as it'll be the key to the Spartans season in 2004.

It was a disappointing end to the season losing to Tulsa on a missed two-point conversion, but it sure was fun to watch Scott Rislov bombing away like he did.

Now it'll be time to figure out where the program is at.

Is Fitz Hill getting the job done in the lousy WAC? Can San Jose State ever succeed?

It's tough enough to try and turn things around after three straight losing seasons, but it's even harder for head coach Fitz Hill and San Jose State fighting just to keep the program going.

Always seemingly on the proverbial bubble with the school administration, the Spartan program needs to start winning to generate more overall interest and get more of a buzz. Spartan games are rarely boring with tons of fireworks from both sides, but there has to be more overall success.

That might be tough to get after losing thirty players and many of last year's top offensive producers including QB Scott Rislov and most of the receiving production.

The defense hasn't stopped anyone in years, and doesn't look like it's going to start this season, so somehow there has to be even more firepower generated from the new offensive starters.

The Schedule:

Normally college football's ultimate road warriors, the Spartans get five games at home including pivotal showdowns against Boise State and Fresno State.

The non-conference slate is tough, but not brutal not facing any 2003 bowl teams. In fact, three of the four bowl teams SJSU plays come in the final three games.

Best Offensive Player:

Senior RB Lance Martin. This could change in a real hurry. There aren't any established stars on the offensive side, so JUCO transfers like RBs Tyson Thompson and Derrell Hutsona and WR Cleve Johnson could quickly become the team's main offensive threat. Martin is a good, reliable power back who could put up good numbers if used more.

Best Defensive Player:

Junior S Eric Wilson and Josh Powell. Wilson is more of a third linebacker than a safety and a strong tackler finishing second on the team with 97 stops last year. Powell is the team's best all-around defensive back with size and great athleticism. He'll be a force after missing most of last year.

Key player to a successful season: The offense was occasionally explosive last year mostly due to quarterback Scott Rislov. He's gone forcing a battle for the starting job. Big Dale Rogers will get the first crack at the job, and he'll need to shine quickly with an inexperienced receiving corps to work with.

The season will be a success if ... the Spartans win five games. That's a huge order with so many improved WAC teams, but a step up needs to be taken after last year's disappointing 3-8 campaign.

Key game: Oct. 2 vs. Rice. The Owls look strong this year and will be a major test for the normally porous Spartan run defense. If San Jose State can win the WAC road opener at SMU, a win over Rice would provide a ton of confidence with a 2-0 WAC start.

2003 Fun Stats:

- Third quarter scoring: Opponents 84 - San Jose State 31

- Third down conversion percentage: Opponents (50%) - San Jose State (36%)

- Rushing yards per game: Opponents 187.4 - San Jose State 3.2

Offense Breakdown and Analysis | Defense Breakdown and Analysis

2004 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Cleve Johnson WR 5-10 194 JR Los Angeles, Calif./San Diego Mesa College

One of the most productive pass catching threats in the California Community College system in 2003, Cleve is a wide receiver prospect for the Spartans. Johnson tied for second in the state in touchdown receptions with 13 and was third in reception yardage with 1,041 yards last season.

The honorable mention JC Grid Wire All-American from San Diego Mesa College was 12th in California for receptions with 56 and averaged 18.6 yards per catch.

A Marine Corps veteran stationed at Camp Pendleton, he served four years (1997-2001) and achieved the rank of corporal before he was honorably discharged. Cleve first began playing organized football while in the Marines. He started his college career at Chaffey College and lettered in track and field.

Johnson finished second in the 1997 conference championship meet in the high hurdles. He had a season best time of 13.6.

The graduate of Ontario (Calif.) High School lettered in track and field and basketball.

Instant Impact Players

Larry Collins CB 5-11 190 JR Cypress, Calif./Fullerton College

Larry is a cornerback prospect who is with the Spartans this spring. Collins also was a first-team all-state pick for Fullerton College in 2003. As a sophomore, he was credited with 53 tackles and had five interceptions in regular-season action.

A kickoff return specialist, he was 11th in the California Community College system last year with a 27.6 average. The two-time all-conference choice was a second-team pick as a freshman.

The graduate of Santa Ana (Calif.) Valley High School lettered in football (Coach Eddie Steward) and track and field. He was a first-team All-C.I.F. grid choice his senior season. Collins participated in the 100 meters and 330 hurdles in track and field.

Marcel Burrough OT 6-7 340 JR Gresham, Ore./Foothill College

An offensive line hopeful joining the Spartans this spring, Marcel is slated for duties at tackle. Burrough played his community college football at Foothill College.

The JC Football Network named him to the 2003 "All-USA Iron Team" as an honorable mention choice. He also was an honorable mention all-conference selection his sophomore season. The graduate of Gresham (Ore.)

High School lettered in football and track and field.

Rest of the Class

John Booker OL 6-4 300 FR Hayward, Calif./Hayward HS

Victor Brankovich OG 6-4 285 JR East Palo Alto, Calif./College of San Mateo James Callier, Jr. LB 6-1 215 FR Los Angeles, Calif./Warren HS

James T. Callier LB 6-0 221 FR Los Angeles, Calif./Warren HS Matthew Castelo LB 5-10 190 FR San Jose, Calif./Valley Christian HS

Dimitrous Chattman DB 6-0 190 FR San Diego, Calif./Mission HS

Chris Danser OL 6-5 305 FR Los Gatos, Calif./Los Gatos HS Brian Elledge LB 6-3 210 FR Newhall, Calif./Hart HS

Anthony Flores DT 6-4 298 JR Norwalk, Calif./Cerritos College

Bobby Godinez S 6-0 210 JR Hacienda Heights, Calif./Mt. San Antonio College

Terrance Grant WR 6-0 195 JR Fresno, Calif./Fresno City College

Travonne Jackson CB 5-11 185 SO Los Angeles, Calif./L.A. Southwest College

Derrick Jones DE 6-5 250 JR Barstow, Calif./Victor Valley College

Ellis Jones WR5-11 180 FR San Diego, Calif./Hoover HS

Kevin Jurovich DB 6-0 175 FR San Jose, Calif./Valley Christian HS

Cornelius Lambert DL 6-2 260 JR San Diego, Calif./San Diego Mesa College

David Lord OL 6-6 350 FR Rialto, Calif./Eisenhower HS

Christopher Owens CB 5-10 170 FR Los Angeles, Calif./Dorsey HS

Erik Schlief OL 6-5 360 FR San Jose, Calif./Leigh HS

Rakine Toomes CB 6-0 195 JR Los Angeles, Calif./L.A. Harbor College

Bryan Watje TE 6-4 250 JR Arroyo Grande, Calif./Allan Hancock College

Darryl Williams OL 6-4 280 FR Oakland, Calif./McClymonds HS

Joseph Zusin OL 6-4 300 FR Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande HS

Basically ... Massive replacements are needed and there's a huge concern about the passing game. With Scott Rislov gone, it's a battle to take over with Dale Rogers getting the slight edge. Unfortunately he has little to work with losing last year's top six pass catchers.

Help is on the way from the JUCO ranks to add pop at running back and receiver. Only one starter returns to the offensive line.

Returning Leaders

Passing: Beau Pierce

9-15 for 55 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: Lance Martin

119 car. for 520 yds and 2 TDs

Receiving: Ezekial Staples

25 catches for 152 yds and 0 TDs

DEPTH CHART

Returning Starters (2)

QB - Dale Rogers, 6-2 239 Sr.

Adam Tafralis, 6-1 219 Fr.

Beau Pierce, 6-3 219 Sr.

RB - Lance Martin, 5-10 209 Sr.

Lamar Ferguson, 5-5 151 Jr.

WR - Rufus Skillern, 6-1 183 Jr.

James Jones, 6-1 194 Soph.

WR - Casey Miranda, 5-10 17 Sr.

Chester Coleman, 5-11 180 Soph.

WR - John Broussard, 6-1 165 Jr.

Cleve Johnson, 5-10 196 Jr.

TE - Bryan Watje, 6-4 250 Jr.

Kyle Cancimilla, 6-3 231 Fr.

LT - William Obeng, 6-6 307 Sr.

John Toensfeldt, 6-8 308 Jr.

LG - Marcel Burrough, 6-6 352 Jr.

Mark Manning, 6-1 316 Jr.

C - Matt Cantu, 6-3 290 Soph.

Justin Paysinger

RG - Chad Lerette, 6-4 303 Jr.

Victor Brankovich, 6-4 285 Jr.

RT - Osmar Staples, 6-5 328 Sr.

Amadeo Novella, 6-4 305 Jr.

Star of the offense: Senior RB Lance Martin

Player that has to step up and become a star:

Senior QB Dale Rogers

Unsung star on the rise: Junior OG Marcel Burrough

Best pro prospect: Burrough

Top three all-star candidates: 1) Martin, 2) WR Cleve Johnson, 3) OT Osmar Staples

Strength of the offense: Running back

Weakness of the offense: Experienced quarterback

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter

- Dale Rogers, Jr. - Rogers is a huge player who has been as heavy as 260 pounds, and he can run a little bit.

He has a big arm and is accurate, but he'll be in for a fight as the summer roles on to keep the starting job. The former walk-on completed 5 of 9 passes for 85 yards in the spring game.

Top Backups

- Beau Pierce, Jr. - Piece is the most experienced passer in the quarterback race with a big arm, but he didn't exactly light it up in spring ball.

He completed 9 of 15 passes for 55 yards with an interception last year.

- Adam Tafralis, RFr. - By far the best athlete in the quarterback mix, Tafralis was a star in high school at both track, as an elite shot putter, and basketball.

He has a hold on the number two job behind Dale Rogers after completing 3 of 7 passes for 54 yards.

The Skinny:

Considering the current state of the quarterback situation, it's no surprise the Spartan offense will be emphasizing the run in 2004.

Senior Dale Rogers has a razor thin edge over Adam Tafralis and Beau Pierce, but not enough to get a formal nomination.

None of the three are going to make folks forget about Scott Rislov, who's now a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Player to keep an eye on: Adam Tafralis ...

Quarterback Rating: 3

Running Backs

Projected Starter

- Lance Martin, Sr. - Martin took over the rushing duties when Lamar Ferguson went down last year and led the way with 520 yards and two touchdowns.

He's a good power runner, but he's not a threat to break anything big.

Top Backups

- .Lamar Ferguson, Jr. - The 5-5 Ferguson hurt his knee last spring and missed the whole 2003 season. He's a lightning quick back who led the Spartans in rushing in 2002 and should prove to be a solid backup behind Lance Martin.

- Yonus Davis, Soph. - David took over Lamar Ferguson's role as the small, quick back in the attack last year. The 5-5 sophomore ran for 119 yards, but failed to see much playing time over the second half of the season.

- Tyson Thompson, Jr. - Expect Thompson to quickly be a factor once he gets to camp this fall.

The JUCO transfer is a big-time talent with size, speed and a nose for the goal line.

- Derrell Hutsona, Soph. - Hutson adds a breakaway threat to the running backs averaging 13.3 yards per carry in high school and was a California state high school championship sprinter.

The Skinny:

Lance Martin and Lamar Ferguson are established backs, but they're marginally talented.

Incoming backs Tyson Thompson and Derrell Hutsona have the talent and speed to make the running game go.

They'll handle all the workload if they shine at all this summer.

Player to keep an eye on: Tyson Thompson ...

Running Back Rating: 5

Receivers

Projected Starters

- Rufus Skillern, Jr. - Mostly a reserve player so far in his career, Skillern has seen plenty of action and showed some explosiveness catching eight passes for 167 yards and a touchdown.

- Casey Miranda, Sr. - Miranda is a very quick player good at running the mid-range routes. He caught five passes for 64 yards last year as a backup and should quickly become a go-to guy on key plays.

- John Broussard, Jr. - Broussard is the younger brother of last year's second leading receiver Jamall. John has the tools to be the team's newest receiving star, but he hasn't made much of an impact yet only catching five passes for 18 yards.

- Tight end Bryan Watje, Jr. - The 250-pound JUCO transfer should turn into an excellent pass catching tight end. He's good around the goal line and can stretch the field averaging 14.5 yards per catch over his last two years.

Top Backups

- Cleve Johnson, Jr. - Pencil him into one of the starting spots for some point this year.

The star JUCO transfer was a high school track star and one of the most productive receivers in the country last year catching 13 touchdown passes and 1,041 yards for Mesa College in Los Angeles.

- Terrance Grant, Jr. - Grant isn't prospect from the JUCO ranks that Cleve Johnson is, but he has good skills to challenge for playing time one he gets to camp this fall.

- Tight end Kyle Cancimilla, RFr. - The walk-on has good hands and can run a little bit. He's not going to be the number one tight end, but he showed enough to be useful in two-tight end sets.

The Skinny:

Some star power needs to emerge right now as the Spartans lose 198 catches from five of last year's top six receivers.

With Ezekial Staples moving to linebacker that means the top six pass catchers of last year are gone. JUCO transfer Cleve Johnson and true freshman Ellis Jones need to make an immediate impact as the starters appear to be average at best.

Player to keep an eye on: Cleve Johnson ...

Receiver Rating: 4

Offensive Line

Projected Starters

- Tackle William Obeng, Sr. - The 307-pound senior turned into a key member of the line right off the bat from the JUCO ranks seeing time at both tackle positions. He'll get the start on the left side where he's expected to blossom into a top pass protector.

- Guard Marcel Burrough, Jr. - A massive player, the 6-6, 352-pound JUCO transfer/mountain turned into a mauling run blocker this spring earning the starting spot on the right side.

- Center Matt Cantu, Soph. - Cantu can play center or guard getting his starting spot back after losing it to LaMons Walker halfway through last year. He has the talent to be an All-WAC player before his career is up.

- Guard Chad Larette, Jr. - A top JUCO player, Larette redshirted last year and will take over the job on the right side looking ready to be one of the team's better run blockers.

- Tackle Osmar Staples, Sr. - The 6-5, 328-pound Staples started all of last year at right tackle. He has several years of experience and good athleticism for a player of his size.

Top Backups

- OG Mark Manning, Jr. - The 316-pound Manning moved from center to guard last year. This season he'll push Marcel Burrough for time on the left side.

- T John Toensfeldt, Jr. - Toensfeldt hit the weights and has grown into a good tackle prospect. He'll backup William Obeng on the left side and will be one of the first players off the bench..

The Skinny:

Only one starter returns off a line that allowed a mere 20 sacks last year, but don't expect the production to fall completely off the map. Marcel Burrough and Chad Larette are good replacements at guard, while William Obeng appears ready to shine at left tackle.

Run blocking will always be an issue with San Jose State lines, but the beef is there to be physical.

Player to keep an eye on: Marcel Burrough ...

Offensive Line Rating: 4

Basically ... San Jose State will never have a killer defense, but things should be a little bit better if there's more of a pass rush and better play from the corners.

Derrick Jones was a big-time pass rusher in the JUCO ranks and needs to shine right away to take the pressure off the secondary.

The safeties are good helped by the return of Josh Powell.

Returning Leaders

Tackles: Eric Wilson, 97

Sacks: Sean McNamara, 5

Interceptions: Trestin George, Mike Liranzo, 2

DEPTH CHART

Returning Starters (5)

DE - Larnell Ransom, 6-0 253 Jr.

Justin James, 6-4 238 Jr.

DT - Eddie Brown, 6-3 319 Sr.

Tony Ficklin, 6-2 265 Jr.

DT - Kinji Green, 6-2 275 Jr.

Anthony Flores, 6-4 299 Jr.

DE - Sean McNamara, 6-5 214 Sr.

Derrick Jones, 6-5 250 Jr.

LB - Jamonte Cox, 5-11 216 Jr.

Rafael Pineda, 6-0 226 Fr.

LB - Ezekiel Staples, 5-11 203 Jr.

Demetrius Jones, 6-0 222 Soph.

CB - Trestin George, 5-9 178 Jr.

Jerrell Hardy, 6-2 180 Sr.

S - Eric Wilson, 5-9 202 Jr.

Katrell Collier, 6-1 210 Jr.

S - Brian Nunez, 5-11 176 Jr.

Bobby Godinez, 5-11 207 Jr.

S - Josh Powell, 6-3 202 Jr.

Jason Evans, 6-1 177 Soph.

CB - Marshall Hendricks, 5-11 171 Sr.

Trevore Archie, 5-9 165 Jr.

Returning ST Starters (1)

PK - Jeff Carr, 6-1 202 Sr.

Jeff Ferrier, 6-3 215 Fr.

P - Waylon Prather, 6-3 228 Fr.

Dale Rogers, 6-2 239 Sr.

Star of the defense: Junior LB/S Eric Wilson

Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior CB Trestin George

Unsung star on the rise: Junior DE Derrick Jones

Best pro prospect: Senior DT Eddie Brown

Top three all-star candidates: 1) S Josh Powell, 2) Wilson, 3) Jones

Strength of the defense: Safety

Weakness of the defense: Linebacker

Defensive Line

Projected Starters

- Defensive end Larnell Ransom, Jr. - Ransom was an undersized tackle and now moves to a more natural end position.

The 253-pound junior made 18 tackles last year, but had a hard time getting into the backfield.

- Defensive tackle Eddie Brown, Sr. - The 319-pound Brown adds some much needed size to the line.

He didn't do much last year only able to play in seven games, but he made 12 tackles and two tackle for loss.

- Defensive tackle Kinji Green, Jr. - Green has started the last two years as an undersized tackle. Now he's up to 275 pounds and should be more of a run stuffer with his experience coming off a 19 tackle season.

- Defensive end Sean McNamara, Sr. - McNamara is a tall 214 pound speed rusher who became a major factor by the end of last year.

He has problems against the run, but he's quick at getting into the backfield with five sacks last year to go along with 30 tackles.

Top Backups

- DT Tony Ficklin, Jr. - The former linebacker started for most of last year making 36 tackles and four sacks as one of the team's quickest linemen.

He'll be a quick backup behind Eddie Brown.

- DE Derrick Jones, Jr. - The star JUCO transfer is a 6-5, 240-pound pass rushing machine with 14.5 sacks and six forced fumbles last year.

He's expected to take over one of the starting end spots when he arrives this fall.

- DT Anthony Flores, Jr. - Flores is an experienced 300-pound tackle coming over from the JUCO ranks.

He's good at getting into the backfield and should be a top backup behind Kinji Green.

The Skinny:

The line has to be far stronger against the run after allowing 187 yards per game and 25 touchdowns.

The emergence of Eddie Brown is a key in the middle of the line, while JUCO transfer Derrick Jones has to be the same pass rusher at the D-I level that he was last year.

Player to keep an eye on: Derrick Jones ...

Defensive Line Rating: 4.5

Linebackers

Projected Starters

- Jamonte Cox, Jr. - The 216-pound Cox has mostly been a special teams performer, but he stepped up his overall play and took over one of the starting linebacker spots this spring.

He'll have to battle to keep it with several good prospects on the outside.

- Ezekial Staples, Jr. - The former fullback is the team's leading returning receiver. He looks like a natural at linebacker where he'll use his toughness to get the first look on the inside.

Top Backups

- Rafael Pineda, RFr. - Pineda is a good, young, tough linebacker able to play either inside or outside. He'll backup Jamonte Cox going into the fall.

- Demetrius Jones, Soph. - Jones became a factor as last season went on finishing with 19 tackles. He has the range to become a good overall defender pushing Ezekial Staples for a starting job.

The Skinny:

Linebackers don't have the same impact on the Spartan defense that they do in other defenses, and that's a good thing with little overall experience in this group.

Essentially the SJSU linebackers are slower safeties.

Ezekial Staples should be an interesting prospect coming over from the offensive side, while Rafael Pineda looks like a rising young star.

Player to keep an eye on: Rafael Pineda ... Linebacker Rating: 3

Secondary

Projected Starters

- Cornerback Trestin George, Jr. - George has seen time as a corner and as a receiver over the course of his career, and now he'll get the start at one of the corner spots. He's a good tackler and not a bad coverman with two interceptions and 40 tackles last year.

- Safety Josh Powell, Jr. - The defense took a bit hit when it lost Powell for most of last year with an injury. The 6-3, 202-pound junior is a big hitter who took over the new third safety/linebacker position to utilize his speed and athleticism.

He made 86 tackles in 2002 and 13 in only three games last year.

- Safety Brian Nunez, Jr. - It'll be up to Nunez to try and replace All-WAC star Gerald Jones and his 101 tackles and six interceptions. Nunez has a bit of experience making 25 tackles as one of the team's quicker reserves.

- Safety Eric Wilson, Sr. - The 5-9, 202-pound Wilson has become a good safety using his cornerback-like speed to always be around the ball.

He was second on the team with 97 tackles last year and should again be among the team leaders.

- Cornerback Marshall Hendricks, Sr. - Hendricks has good quickness and decent skills, but he has to be far tighter this season.

He made 23 tackles, an interception and broke up three passes, but he spent a lot of time chasing receivers.

Top Backups

- Cornerback Larry Collins, Jr. - The JUCO All-American adds more speed to the secondary. He'll challenge for a starting spot and be in on kickoff returns.

- Cornerback Jerrell Hardy, Sr. - The 6-2 Hardy provides some much needed size at corner. He was a decent back up last season making 20 tackles with four broken up passes.

- Cornerback Travonne Jackson, Jr. - Jackson can flat out fly clocking in with a 10.83 100 meter dash. He started his career out at BYU and should become a top backup in the cornerback rotation.

The Skinny:

The secondary improved a little bit but still allowed 271 yards per game and 21 touchdowns. There are several good cornerback prospects with the addition of some JUCO transfers, and the safeties should be fine even after the loss of Gerald Jones. The return of Josh Powell is a huge boost.

Player to keep an eye on: Brian Nunez ...

Secondary Rating: 4

Special Teams

- Placekicker Jeff Carr, Sr. - Carr turned into one of the bigger surprises of the 2003 Spartan season hitting 11 of 17 field goals while showing decent deep range. He'll have a battle on his hands from Jeff Ferrier to keep the starting job, but at the very least he'll be used often inside the 40.

- Punter Waylon Prather, Fr. - The freshman walk-on has a slight hold on the job coming out of spring ball, but he's going to have to keep on producing to hold off quarterback/punter Dale Rogers.

The Skinny:

The kicking game should be fine as Jeff Carr is a reliable placekicker. Departed punter Bryce Partridge won't be all that hard to replace. The return game will be strong if Casey Miranda can adequately replace Jamall Broussard's 10.9 punt return average.

The coverage units have to be far better after allowing 10.6 yards per punt return and 24.8 yards on kickoffs.

Special Teams Rating: 6

Take Ov, Eh? –

A quick question – if a guy throws for 18 TDs, only 5 picks and over 3,000 on the Left Coast, and his name is not Matt Leinart, do you ‘hear' it?

Perhaps not, because it's a safe bet that most of you don't know, or hadn't ever heard, the name Scott Rislov, the former San Jose State quarterback.

Rislov kept the Spartans competitive in most games against WAC opponents not named Boise State or Fresno State.

How do you describe his seven TD, 543 yard performance against UTEP? How can you put a price on his 470-yard output in the last game of the year against bowl bound Tulsa?

In one word – scary.

The sad part is that ‘scary' has two meanings.

One, for any person to throw for over a thousand yards in two games is indescribable.

But, two, and most importantly, what are the Spartans going to do in 2004 without him – that's the true definition of scary.

Rislov has taken his game to the Cincinnati Bengals, leaving head coach Fitz Hill's crew in sore need of a signal caller to lead this year's team. Redshirt freshman Adam Tafralis and fifth year senior Dale Rogers (talk about opposite ends of the age spectrum) will take their QB battle into the fall, with fellow fifth year senior Beau Pierce trailing, if only slightly.

No matter which QB steps up to take the reins, he's got to get some semblance of a running game going. The 2003 version of the Spartans only posted a little over 100 yards per game on the ground, which is akin to what Darren Sproles does in a half.

The last thing Hill can have is a stagnant running game with an inexperienced quarterback at the helm (well, then again, who else would want or could deal with that?).

But, the possibilities of a stronger running game are much higher than in 2003 with the return of leading rusher Lance Martin, a rehabilitated Lamar Ferguson and former Texas high school stud Tyson Thompson (in his last game in junior college he lit it up for 323 yards, which would have put him third in rushing for the year for the 2003 Spartans).

And, it does help that each of the above candidates are able to make plays running the ball (in particular, the precocious freshman Tafralis), whereas Rislov was strictly a pocket passer.

Regardless, whoever takes over is going to struggle with inexperienced receivers. Leading receiver from 2003 Tuati Wooden is gone, along with Jamall Broussard, Kendrick Starling and prodigious tight end Courtney Anderson.

Finding a synergy with a group of young pups is going to take a while, so the strong stable of running backs could signal a mild change in philosophy, especially early on in the season. Keep an eye on this quarterback situation in the fall, as it'll be the key to the Spartans season in 2004.

Conclusion:

The defense looks to be in even better shape, with six returning starters, but the biggest addition may be former Tulsa head coach Keith Burns. He's a ball of energy and is a highly successful defensive coordinator (USC and Arkansas are two entries on his DC resume).

His arrival as DC will definitely infuse a more experienced group, but whether that is enough in the wide-open, versatile WAC is anyone's guess. Between Fresno State, Hawaii, Boise State, a potent Rice squad and last year's surprise Tulsa, it's going to be tough sledding for Hill's Spartans in 2004.

Hill must decide on one quarterback and that choice must limit turnovers and make the right ‘decisions' at the line of scrimmage.

Even that might not be enough to get to five wins this season.

CFN predicts the following for this years SJSU football record.

San Jose State CFN Prediction: 1-10

The 9/18 Morgan State match up is the ONLY win that is predicted.

PROVE THEM WRONG BOYS! SHOCK THE WAC!!

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