Coming less than 18 hours after his team's "abysmal" performance against the University of Nevada the previous night, San Jose State head coach Dick Tomey was in an apologetic mood when he faced the media on Monday. "I think an apology for last night's performance needs to be made for all San Jose State people (and) all our fans, because last night's performance was abysmal" said Tomey. "It certainly the worst performance we've had in five years. Our team did not reflect good coaching (and) did not reflect great a effort by most who played." The Spartans were thrashed and gashed by a vastly superior Wolf Pack squad by a score of 62-7. "We had some guys that played hard, (but) the good out of last night's game is hard to find" said Tomey.
Tomey places the blame for his team's poor showing squarely in his own lap. "I believe very sincerely that players are a reflection of their coach" said Tomey. "The reflection that I see based on that is not good. I think if any coach tries to avoid that responsibility, then you're abdicating your responsibility. Players are mirror of their coach."
"There are all kinds of excuses that we can use, but, in the end, you just need to get better results from the work you doing. As coaches, and as players, you just got to perform better" said Tomey.
To some degree he Spartans (1-7 / 0-4 WAC) have been the victims of a very unusually tough schedule thus far. As Tomey pointed out, the Spartans are one of only a handful of teams in the country that has had to face five teams ranked in the Top 30 of the current Sagarin rankings, and they are the only such team with that distinction that hails from a non-BCS conference. Tomey called it "bizarre" that the Western Athletic Conference schedule had the Spartans playing the top four teams in the conference first. All four of those teams (Idaho, Boise State, Fresno State, and Nevada) are headed to bowl games. Additionally, all three of San Jose State's non-conference FBS opponents (USC, Utah, and Stanford) will be playing in bowl games as well.
Tomey was in no mood to look for any external excuses for his team's overall poor performance this season. "There are all kinds of excuses that we can use, but, in the end, you just need to get better results from the work you doing" said Tomey. "As coaches and as players, you just got to perform better."
Tomey also gave credit to Nevada for the "whomping" that they gave the Spartans. "Two years ago we shut them out in the second half, to win the game" said Tomey. "But they were not running the option at that time. And now they're running the option and it makes them tougher. They're rolling up big numbers against a lot of people. Certainly we were no exception."
The Spartans final four games of the season has them facing four teams that like them have struggled thus far. "We're playing a four team playoff against teams that are a little bit more like ourselves" said Tomey, "That playoff is for pride; which is the most important thing any of us have; pride in ourselves, pride in our teammates." The Spartans travel to Logan, Utah this Saturday to face a Utah State team that is led by quarterback Diondre Borel, who Tomey compares with both Nevada's Colin Kaepernick and Boise State's Kellen Moore as the top quarterbacks in the WAC. Of the four teams remaining on the schedule (Utah State, Hawaii, New Mexico State, and Louisiana Tech) Tomey believes Utah State has been the most competitive. "Of all the teams we have left, (Utah State) has played more good football than I think any of us" said Tomey. "They played very competitively against Nevada, against Fresno, (and) against Texas A&M."
The Spartans have won the previous three meetings against the Utah State Aggies, including a narrow 23-20, come from behind victory the last time they visited Logan in 2007. Since becoming the head coach at San Jose State, Dick Tomey's teams are 3-1 against the Aggies, with the lone 24-17 loss coming during his first season in 2005.
With having this past weekend's game on Sunday night, the Spartans have a short week to prepare for their game against Utah State. Thanks to Wednesday being a national holiday, the team will be able to spend a little extra practice time on that day before flying to Logan on Friday.
The Spartans may see the return of offensive guard Ailao Eliapo this weekend. Eliapo has been out the past three games after suffering a knee injury in practice.
Defensive end Carl Ihenachco, who only took a couple of snaps against Nevada will hopefully see more action against Utah State.
One player that is doubtful for this weekend is wide receiver Marquis Avery, though not due to injury. Tomey did not indicate the reason for Avery not suiting up against Nevada, and doubts he will play against Utah State.
Back-up quarterback Kyle Reed was not available to play against Nevada due to having what Tomey described as a "minor medical procedure" last Friday night. He is expected to be back this weekend.
Asked if his team had suffered any significant non-injury attrition to their roster this season, after it was pointed out that Nevada appeared to have more players suited up for Sunday's game that the host Spartans, Tomey admitted that some players have been held out due to academic suspensions. That in and of itself is not surprising given the delicate situation that San Jose State has had in regards to their Academic Progress Report penalties the past few years. "We're dealing with things internally all the time" said Tomey. "Academics we take very important. (If) people miss too much class or whatever; if they don't get something done, they're out. So, sometimes, those are the results. Our approach with the APR had to be a very aggressive one to get that straightened out."
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