2008 CFN San Jose State Preview
San Jose State CB Christopher Owens
San Jose State CB Christopher Owens
Posted May 16, 2008

CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - San Jose State Spartans

San Jose State Spartans

Preview 2008

Pete Fiutak

- 2008 CFN San Jose State Preview | 2008 SJSU Offense

- 2008 SJSU Defense | 2008 SJSU Depth Chart
- 2007 CFN San Jose State Preview | 2006 CFN San Jose State Preview 

It's easy to look at the 5-7 2007 season as a disappointment after a breakthrough 2006, complete with a New Mexico Bowl win over New Mexico, but for a program that has known little but misery and indifference for so long, it wasn't all that bad a season.

For the first time in a long, long, time, there are expectations for a team that has the talent to not just play with the best teams in the WAC, but could actually win the whole thing with the right breaks and for some key areas to come through big. There are several big questions, but the answers might be all positive.

Head coach: Dick Tomey
4th year: 17-19
28th year overall: 175-129-7
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 19, Def. 23, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 20
Ten Best Spartan Players
1. CB/PR Coye Francies, Sr.
2. CB Christopher Owens, Sr.
3. DE Jeff Schweiger, Sr.
4. WR Kevin Jurovich, Sr.
5. DT/DE Jarron Gilbert, Sr.
6. DE Carl Ihenacho, Jr.
7. WR David Richmond, Sr.
8. C Ronnie Castillo, Jr.
9. QB Myles Eden, Jr.
10. OT Fred Koloto, Soph.

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 0-0

Aug. 30 UC Davis
Sept. 6 at Nebraska
Sept. 13 San Diego State
Sept. 20 at Stanford
Sept. 27 at Hawaii
Oct. 11 Utah State
Oct. 18 at New Mexico State
Oct. 24 Boise State
Nov. 1 at Idaho
Nov. 8 Louisiana Tech
Nov. 15 at Nevada
Nov. 21 Fresno State

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record:

Sept. 1 at Arizona St L 45-3
Sept. 8 at Kansas St L 34-14
Sept. 15 at Stanford L 37-0
Sept. 22
at Utah State W 23-20
Sept. 29 UC Davis W 34-14
Oct. 6 Idaho W 28-20
Oct. 12 Hawaii L 42-35 OT
Oct. 20 at Fresno State L 30-0
Nov. 3 at Boise State L 42-7
Nov. 10
N Mexico St W 51-17
Nov. 17 at La Tech L 27-23
Nov. 24 Nevada W 27-24

The running game was non-existent last year with injuries and inconsistencies on the line a big problem. There's size up front, but can the front five generate a push? It has been great in pass protection, but generated just 84 rushing yards per game. With plenty of beef up front and with good experience, the ground game could suddenly become a plus.

Adam Tafralis was an underappreciated passer and a good leader, and now the Spartans have to find a suitable replacement among four prospect. Cal transfer Kyle Reed was supposed to be the guy, but he hasn't been able to get over a broken foot. Meanwhile, Myles Eden has been solid in practices and brings more mobility to the position. Again, a potential problem could turn out to be a plus.

From losing star corner Dwight Lowery and replacing him with Oregon State transfer Coye Francies, to getting more of a pass rush with the addition of USC transfer Jeff Schweiger, to the emergence of a receiving corps that could be the best in the WAC by the end of the year, there are plenty of bright spots to build around. In other words, the expectations from the beginning of last year should be back.

Getting Fresno State, Boise State, and this year, Louisiana Tech at home is a major plus, head coach Dick Tomey has done a good enough job of recruiting to upgrade the talent level, and there's optimism for a second bowl trip in three years. The program is on the map, and now it wants to do more.

What to watch for on offense: The wide receivers. The running game should be better, it can't be any worse, but the real excitement is over a receiving corps that might be the best in the WAC, even if the stats don't show it in a league with teams like New Mexico State and Hawaii. Kevin Jurovich is a legitimate No. 1 to build around, David Richmond and Jalal Beachman are talents, and Josh Harrison is a speedster who'll find a role.

What to watch for on defense: The new guys. Senior DE Jeff Schweiger was a good recruit for USC and might be the highest decorated prep player San Jose State has ever had. Senior CB Coye Francies isn't just a replacement for All-WAC star Dwight Lowery, he'll be an upgrade. These two jack up the talent level on an already solid defense.

The team will be far better if … it can cover a punt. Redshirt freshman Shaheen Pourfallah had an up-and-down off-season and will be challenged by JUCO transfer Philip Zavala. Their job will be to improve the nation's worst punting game that netted just 30.33 yards per try. Former punter Waylon Prather wasn't bad, but the coverage team was awful allowing 19 yards per return even though Prather put 24 kicks inside the 20.

The Schedule:
Alright Spartans, if you want to be real, live WAC players, this is your schedule with Boise State and Fresno State at home. Road trips to Hawaii and Nevada will be tough and there needs to be at least a split of the two, and there can't be home mistakes against Utah State or Louisiana Tech. The non-conference schedule is manageable outside of a trip to Nebraska, but, for good and bad, Stanford and San Diego State will be mentally penciling in the SJSU game as a win. The big problem is the lack of time off. There's a not-that-helpful off-week in the first week of October after the Hawaii trip, and then there's not another open date; the regular season ends with Fresno State on November 21st.

Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Kevin Jurovich. Not considered to be much of a prospect, Jurovich turned out to make a potential problem area, the receiving corps, a plus by catching 85 passes for 1,183 yards and nine touchdowns. While not necessarily a home-run hitter, he showed he could stretch the field as well as be the team's most reliable target. He'll draw attention away from the other receivers all year long.

Best Defensive Player: Senior CB Coye Francies. Running mate Christopher Owens led the team in interceptions and is one of the WAC's best ball-hawking corners, but Francies has the potential to be special. A tremendous punt returner who should keep the nation's ninth-best punt return game going, he's a big (6-1, 185-pounds) speedster who'll be a difference maker right away. If there's more of a pass rush, he should erase everyone's number one target.

Key player to a successful season: Junior LB Justin Cole. The entire linebacking corps needs to step up and shine with the loss of Matt Castelo and Demetrius Jones leaving gaping holes. Cole, a defensive end, has the size and toughness to be a brick wall of a linebacker. Travis Jones and safety Duke Ihenacho have to become consistent playmakers at the other two linebacker spots.

The season will be a success if ... the Spartans win the WAC title. Go ahead and set the bar way too high. This isn't the best team in the WAC, that's probably either Fresno State or Boise State, but the overall talent level is there and the experience is in place to go on a special run and win the conference title. The schedule works out as well as could be asked for to make this the year where it all has to come together.

Key game: Nov. 15 at Nevada. It's not like the Spartans have a Death Valley-like home field advantage, but getting Boise State and Fresno State at home is a mega-plus. Winning both games might be too tough, but a split is more than possible. If they can come out of Reno with a win over the Wolf Pack, the table might be set for the Fresno State showdown the week after.

2007 Fun Stats: 
 - Fumbles: Opponents 17 (lost 7) – San Jose State 13 (lost 3)
 - Penalties: Opponents 95 for 793 yards – San Jose State 77 for 550 yards
 - Fourth quarter scoring: Opponents 107 – San Jose State 65 


Related Stories
2008 San Jose State Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 16, 2008
2008 San Jose State Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 16, 2008
2008 San Jose State Preview – Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  May 16, 2008

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