Areas of needed improvement for the offense include downfield blocking and pass protection. Spartan head coach Dick Tomey, in pointing out both those areas, said that they are "typical of spring practice".
|Junior quarterback Jordan La Secla has impressed the coaches this spring, and looks to be the No. 2 contender for the starting job|
From our vantage point, it appears junior Jordan LaSecla is currently slotted in the No. 2 quarterback spot, surpassing Myles Eden, with Kyle Reed still the No. 1 QB. Chad Bozzo's return from his shoulder injury appears to be going well. He was 3 for 4, in the recent scrimmage and threw for 58-yards and a touchdown. He provides the offense wih a different wrinkle with his running ability. That in and of itself may be his ticket to seeing a fair amount of playing time this fall.
The wide receiving corps is probably as deep as any in school history. The return from injuries of 6-foot-4, 220-pound Beauchman and All-WAC Jurovich, and the addition of 6-foot-4, 205-pound Marquis Avery from Fullerton Junior College, give the Spartans an imposing group to attack opposing defenses. Adding to that trio is the blazing speed of sophomores Josh Harrison and Mike Avila. Both saw extensive playing time in 2008. Redshirt freshman Jordan Johnson has once again shown great elusiveness for the second spring in a row. Wide receiver Coach Ken Margerum concurs. "This is a very talented group" adding "I don't think I've had a group where the talent level is that bunched together".
Mostly due to improved health and depth, the offensive line is ahead of where they were last spring. The increased availability of both offensive and defensive linemen has allowed the team to run approximately 100 plays during the April 11 scrimmage. "Last year we had no chance to have that kind of scrimmage because we just didn't have enough linemen. (Last spring) we had most of our first team defensive front out and a couple of offensive guys out," Tomey said.
|Junior Lamon Muldrow transferred from Sierra College and has bee an immediate presence in the backfield|
The addition of 5-foot-10, 205-pound junior Lamon Muldrow, and the return of 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior Patrick Perry will give the Spartans a power, up the middle running game that was lacking last season. Tomey also likes what he's seen from 5-foot-9, 205-pound senior Chris Reese and 5-foot-10, 186-pound redshirt freshman Marcos Garces. Sophomore Brandon Rutley was held out of the scrimmage, but should also be a huge factor this fall.
Due to the graduation of three starters from last season's defensive backfield, the Spartans are having to rebuild the secondary. The coaches are optimistic that the young guys will be able to step into those vacated roles. The one returning starter, junior Devin Newsome has moved from safety to cornerback. Junior Duke Ihenacho is moving from linebacker to safety. Joining him are sophomores Tuike Tuipalotu and Tanner Burns, who were two of the top freshman players last year. Tomey has liked what he's seen from sophomores Peyton Thompson and Alex Germany, stating that they have both been "outstanding". Alex Germany, and redshirt freshman Even Taylor had interceptions in the April 11 scrimmage. Newcomer Manu Ngatikaura also received extended playing time in the scrimmage.
The defensive line was without the services of senior end Carl Ihenacho and senior tackle Adonis Davis during the scrimmage. Both are recovering from injuries and are being held out of contact drills. Also missing from the scrimmage was sophomore Pablo Garcia, who Tomey said "has been our best inside player".
Sophomore placekicker Tyler Cope, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound sophomore who transferred from the University of Colorado, has the inside track in winning the starting role vacated by the graduating Jared Strubeck. Cope boomed a field goal of nearly 50 yards, and was 5 for 6 during the April 11 scrimmage, and has shown a very strong leg throughout the spring.
Mike Morgan is Senior Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Mike with any questions, comments, or tips at email@example.com
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