Coach Tomey on Spring Practice

San Jose State Head Football Coach Dick Tomey spent a few moments after Sunday's practice talking with the media. He touched on a number of topics, including team leadership, field turf, the NFL draft, and the incoming freshmen.

Regarding team chemistry and leadership, San Jose State Head Coach Dick Tomey echoed the comments made in our earlier interview with linebacker Justin Cole, "Team chemistry happens through competition and hard work. Your leaders emerge as competition takes place. I don't think you know who your leaders are before the season starts," he told "Leaders emerge during the spring, during the summer, and the early fall. Right now, Carl Ihenacho, who is out of spring practice with an injury left over from the fall, and Justin Cole are the two guys right now who provide great leadership on the defense. Offensively, Ailao Eliapo who is a junior, and Ronnie Castillo, who is our center, and Pat Perry, are providing outstanding leadership so far."

With his largest senior class and highest number of returning lettermen that he and his staff have had at San Jose State, Tomey stated "I'm confident we'll have good leadership".

When asked about his thoughts on the upcoming NFL draft, Tomey said that he really hadn't given it much thought. He believes several San Jose State players will be selected, but really has no idea when in the draft or to which teams. He said that NFL coaches do not let on as to what their plans are.

Coach Tomey was non-commital regarding incoming freshmen that could come in and contribute right away. He said they never plan on that happening, but doesn't rule out the possibility. For example, he pointed out that last year a walk-on freshman contributed significantly. Tomey may have been referring to cornerback Ralph Johnson, who played in all of the 2008 Spartans' games except the season opener.

Spartan Stadium is now in the midst of converting it's natural grass field to Field Turf. Tomey said no changes would be necessary in game planning because of the new field, and pointed out that the Spartans already play on artificial turf several times each season. With the new Field Turf at Spartan Stadium, only three WAC school stadiums will remain natural grass in 2009.

Mike Morgan is Senior Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Mike with any questions, comments, or tips at

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