SJS Forgets the Past and Builds for Tomorrow.

If San Jose State wants to contend for its first WAC championship since joining the conference in 1996, the Spartans must survive a tough schedule that includes only five home games and starts with three straight non-conference road games at Arizona State, Kansas State and Stanford. Throw in conference road games at Boise State and Fresno State and it's clear they have their work cut out.

Third-year San Jose State coach Dick Tomey speaks from experience when he tells his players not to take last year's success for granted.

"Just because somebody did something one year doesn't mean it's going to be automatic the next year," said Tomey, whose Spartans are coming off their first winning season since 2000 and their first bowl victory since 1990.

Fifteen starters are back from that 9-4 squad, but his message throughout spring camp was to forget about the past and build for tomorrow.

He can point to his own past for emphasis. After going 9-2 in 1981, Hawaii was 11-10-1 the next two seasons. And after a 12-1 campaign at Arizona in 1998 that ended with a No. 4 national ranking, the Wildcats slipped to 6-6 the following year.

"The good news for me is when you come out and watch our players work, they are taking nothing for granted," Tomey said. "They are not taking for granted that we will be a better team. They understand what we want will have to be earned in the weight room and on the field."

-- Senior CB Dwight Lowery is one of 42 players on the Lott Trophy watch list, which goes to college football's Defensive Impact Player of the Year. As a junior, the All-American set a school record and tied for first nationally with nine interceptions.

-- Gary Emanuel was hired as San Jose State's defensive line coach in April after spending the past two seasons in the same capacity with the San Francisco 49ers. His vast experience in the collegiate ranks includes stints at Purdue (1997-2004), Washington State (1994-96) and Syracuse (1991-93).

SPRING MOVERS:

WR Michael Hooper -- Although slowed by a strained quad and a hyper-extended knee, Hooper caught two touchdowns in the spring game.

"We're hoping he can be a factor in the fall," Tomey said. "He's paid his dues. He's worked hard in the weight room. He's got the ability to do it."

RB Cameron Island -- The sophomore saw more action this spring than expected, with starter Yonus Davis sidelined (academics) and backup Patrick Perry hobbled (hamstring). Island led all rushers in the spring game with 22 yards on seven carries.

S Andrew Ryan -- Job opportunities abound with five safeties gone from last season. Ryan (San Mateo JC) capped a great spring with an interception in the exhibition game. "If we had a game, he would start today," Tomey said. "He has really asserted himself, done a nice job and he'll be competitive."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We need to close the book on last year. We need to learn from it. Like I told the team, they got their championship rings. The rings are for last year's team. We can't get confused about that. Those are for what happened last year." -- San Jose State coach Dick Tomey.

2007 OUTLOOK: If San Jose State wants to contend for its first WAC championship since joining the conference in 1996, the Spartans must survive a tough schedule that includes only five home games and starts with three straight non-conference road games at Arizona State, Kansas State and Stanford. Throw in conference road games at Boise State and Fresno State and it's clear they have their work cut out.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Three players who accounted for 141 of 147 catches by Spartans receivers last season have departed, but the offense still packs a punch.

Senior QB Adam Tafralis followed up a breakout 2006 (155.13 pass efficiency rating) with a sharp spring. Senior RB Yonus Davis gains ground in chunks, averaging 6.4 yards per carry the past two seasons. Three-year starter John Booker and two-year starter Justin Paysinger anchor an experienced line.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Spartans have improved from allowing 42.6 points per game in 2004 to just 20.8 points per game last season. Seven starters are back, led by senior CB Dwight Lowery (nine interceptions) and senior LB Matt Castelo, the nation's top returning tackler. Ten of the 12 members of last year's defensive line rotation return. Both starting safeties are gone, but JUCO recruits Andrew Ryan and Jonathan Harris should provide immediate help.

SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: Arguably the conference's top kicking tandem features senior P Waylon Prather and junior PK Jared Strubeck. Prather was first-team All-WAC with a 43.98-yard average in 2006. Strubeck garnered second-team honors and drilled all three of his attempts in the spring game (43, 44 and 46 yards).

Competition for punt and kick return duties will continue this fall. Among the newcomers with a chance to make an immediate impact on special teams are freshmen Josh Harrison and Davell Brumfield.

ROSTER REPORT: Sophomore DE Justin Cole did not participate in spring drills after tearing a pectoral muscle while lifting weights in March. He had surgery to repair the damage and should return in time for fall camp. Cole tallied 9.5 tackles for loss and was a 2006 honorable mention freshman All-American.

Senior RB Yonus Davis, one of only two returning players nationally to average 6.0 yards per carry in each of the past two seasons, sat out of spring ball to concentrate on academics. Davis averaged 6.2 yards per rush in 2006 and 6.7 yards in 2005.


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