The team got a lot done - Coach Tomey

Spring practice for 2009 ended on Saturday with a situational scrimmage. Head football coach Dick Tomey spoke afterward about what they learned during the 12-practice session, who stood out, and how the team came out of this spring compared to last year.

The San Jose State football team concluded the 2009 spring practice on Saturday with a situational scrimmage in front of approximately 200 fans. The final practice was held at the Spartan practice facility due to the renovations going on at Spartan Stadium. After the practice, Spartans head coach Dick Tomey said the squad accomplished a lot, but was especially happy with the level of depth available. "I'm pleased that we've been able to hit so much this spring because we've had the lineman both on offense and defense," he said. "Today we touched on a lot of situations that in the past, because of our depth, we hadn't been able to do. This is a first since we've been here."

Tomey went on to mention that even with the depth on the team during the spring, they'll have even more when fall rolls around. "We had three of our best defensive ends out of the scrimmage, and we had a couple offensive lineman out of the scrimmage," he said. "But we have enough guys that we're able to go ahead, and we'll have more in the fall."

The competition at quarterback has been fierce throughout the spring. Junior Jordan La Secla has stepped up the pressure on senior Kyle Reed for the No. 1 spot. "Kyle's got a little bit of an edge but it's very close," Tomey said. "They've both done a good job."

Senior Chad Bozzo may also see playing time in the fall. "He'll be someone we can insert into the game as a change of pace who can do some different things," Tomey said. "He's finally healthy enough that I think we're going to be able to count on him in the fall."

Tomey said that a lot of the younger guys are stepping up, which helps with the depth situation. He mentioned three sophomores who have stood out — tight end Ryan Otten, defensive tackle Pablo Garcia, and cornerback Peyton Thompson. "Those are three guys that come to mind right away," he said.

The 12 practices in the spring session gave the coaches a glimpse of what they'll need to address when fall camp opens. One of things worked on during the scrimmage on Saturday was end-of-game scenarios. "The game is all about how you handle situations that come right at the end," he said. "We were able to touch on some of those today."

Throughout the spring, players and coaches have talked about the positive influence on new quarterbacks coach Terry Malley. Coming over from the Arena League has forced an adjustment for Malley, "He's still looking for the extra three guys on the field and where the hell they came from," Tomey joked.

Tomey touched on the fact that Malley is the only new member of the staff, and how he's fit in. "Terry's handled that," Tomey said. "He's able to be critical without being disagreeable or being argumentative, and he's able to ask questions without being difficult. He's just been a perfect fit for us. His maturity has made a lot of difference."

Will the offense change much from last year? "We're not trying to be that different, we're trying to be better," Tomey said. "We need to run it better, we need to throw it, obviously we need to score a ton more points."

One weapon the offense is looking forward to having is senior wide receive Kevin Jurovich. He missed most of last season after contracting mono, and appears to be fully healthy coming out of the spring. "He still thinks he's probably not quite full speed but I think he's done a tremendous job," Tomey said. "You can see from what he brings out there that we really missed him a year ago. He's elusive, he's competitive, he's fast, he does a lot of things and we're glad that he's back."

Tomey also said that nothing that happened in the spring in regards to injuries will keep anyone off of the fall roster. They held some players, such as seniors Carl Ihenacho and Adonis Davis, out of the entire spring, but they are expected back in the fall. For the incoming freshman, Tomey hinted that many may get a red-shirt for 2009. With 50-plus returning lettermen, it bodes well if the new guys are allowed to slowly matriculate into the system. "When we were 9-4, the biggest difference in our team then was that we only lost one player (to graduation)," Tomey said. "Last year we lost 16 and we had a lot of true freshman play. As our program gets better there will be a few that can play, but it's going to be harder and harder for them."

San Jose State has arguably the most difficult out-of-conference schedule in the WAC, if not the country. With the opening game at USC, followed by a visit to Spartan Stadium by 2008 BCS No. 2 Utah. The Spartans then travel up the road to take on a resurgent Stanford before hosting Football Championship Subdivsion (Formerly D-1AA) powerhouse Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. "Our non-conference schedule is as ambitious as anybody in the country has at any level," Tomey said. He went on to mention that the tough OOC schedule will prepare the team both mentally and physically for conference play.




Don Hoekwater is the Publisher of Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at publisher@insidesparta.com

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