Spartans Begin To Focus On USC

Since the beginning of fall camp on August 8th, the focus of the San Jose State football team has been towards preparing for the entire season. This morning, the focus will change, as the Spartans begin to prepare for their first opponent of the 2009 season, which just happens to be the No. 4 ranked team in the nation; the University of Southern California Trojans.

When the San Jose State football team reports to practice this morning, their focus will have changed. Since the opening of fall camp on August 8th, the focus of the team has been in preparing for the season in its entirety. On Wednesday, August 26th, the focus changes to preparing specifically for the season opener on September 5th. The opponent they will be preparing for is not just any opponent either. The Spartans will begin preparation to face the University of Southern California Trojans, who are currently ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press pre-season poll. The Spartans will visit the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Trojans have a 45-1 record since 2002. Winners of the last three Rose Bowl games, the Trojans have been in seven straight BCS Bowl games, including two national championship games, (winning it all at the conclusion of the 2004 season).

The Spartans will be 30+ point underdogs, but Head Coach Dick Tomey is not deterred. "We're anxious to get our season underway", Tomey recently told KLAC radio in Los Angeles. "We're excited about the chance to test ourselves against the best program in the country." Tomey feels that playing an opponent of USC's caliber in the opening game motivated his players to work that much harder throughout the off-season. "Playing this game has helped us since last January." He hopes that his Spartans will not only rise to the occasion, but that they will continue that level of performance throughout the entire season. Tomey does not want the USC game to be his team's best game of the season.

Asked by Inside Sparta if it was more difficult to prepare for the first opponent of the season as compared to the other opponents, Tomey indicated that in the case of USC it was not any more difficult. "We know what they're going to do. That's not the problem. It's who's doing it" said Tomey. "They (USC) do the same thing all the time; the defense and offense. You just got to stop it. You've got to be able to move the ball against them. The mystery is not what they're going to do; it's who's doing it, and how to beat it." Although today will mark the first time that the players begin to specifically prepare to face USC, that is not the case for the Spartans' coaching staff, as Tomey indicated. "We've got plenty of film. We've studied them all year. We've looked at every tape they've got. We looked at the bowl game. We looked at everything. So, we know who they are."

Tomey indicated that this year's Spartan squad has what he feels are the best offensive skill position players since he's been at San Jose State. He also brings a team to Los Angeles that is led by players that have been in his system for four years. As he told KLAC this week "We have a lot of guys that have spilled a lot of Spartan blood over the past four years, and they're anxious to test themselves. I want to celebrate this group of seniors who put the program where it is today. We're going to come down to USC and try and put together a great effort."

So today, the Spartans will begin preparation for what will be probably the biggest test that any of them will face in their football careers. As Tomey said "We're going to find out a hell of a lot about ourselves."

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

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