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2009 CFN San Jose State Preview
San Jose State S Duke Ihenacho
San Jose State S Duke Ihenacho
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 5, 2009


CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - San Jose State Spartans

San Jose State Spartans

Preview 2009


By
Pete Fiutak

- 2009 CFN San Jose State Preview | 2009 SJSU Offense

- 2009 SJSU Defense | 2009 SJSU Depth Chart
- 2008 SJSU Preview | 2007 SJSU Preview | 2006 SJSU Preview 

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Head coach: Dick Tomey
5th year: 23-25
28th year overall: 181-135-7
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 21, Def. 30, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 17
Ten Best Spartan Players
1. DE Carl Ihenacho, Sr.
2. S/LB Duke Ihenacho, Jr.
3. LB Justin Cole, Sr.
4. WR Kevin Jurovich, Sr.
5. LB Travis Jones, Sr.
6. S Devin Newsome, Jr.
7 QB Kyle Reed, Sr.
8. WR Jalal Beauchman, Jr.
9. RB Lamon Muldrow, Jr.
10. RB/KR Brandon Rutley, Soph.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6
2009 Record:
0-0

9/5 at USC
9/12 Utah
9/19 at Stanford
9/26 Cal Poly
10/3 OPEN DATE
10/10
Idaho
10/17 at Fresno State
10/24 OPEN DATE
10/31 at Boise State
11/8
Nevada
11/14 at Utah State
11/21 Hawaii
11/28 New Mexico St
12/5 at Louisiana Tech

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
5-7
2008 Record:
6-6

8/30 UC Davis W 13-10
9/6 at Nebraska L 35-12
9/13 SDSU W 35-10
9/20 at Stanford L 23-10
9/27 at Hawaii W 20-17
10/4 OPEN DATE
10/11 Utah State W 30-7
10/18 at NMSU W 31-14
10/24 Boise St L 33-16
11/1 at Idaho W 30-24
11/8 La Tech L 21-0
11/15 at Nevada L 41-17
11/21 Fresno St L 24-10
11/29 OPEN DATE

It's time to start including what Dick Tomey is doing was San Jose State as one of the great turnarounds college football has seen in a long time.

While he is going into his fifth year with the program, after being cast off by Arizona (how's that working out for the Wildcats?), he only has a 23-25 record, but that's with a 3-9 first season. Now he has changed the culture of a program that was just this close to being dumped a few years ago.

No longer just a haven for castoffs and JUCO misfits, although there are a fair share of them on this team, Tomey has actually build the team into a decent, consistent winner even though his teams haven't exactly been decent or consistent all the time. Last year there wasn't any offense. A few years ago there wasn't any defense. There have been second half of the season gags when a bowl game was in sight (the last two seasons), and there was a stunning 9-4 2006 with a bowl victory that didn't get enough national publicity. Now he has the team in place to truly do some big things.

The defense was a killer last season, with one of the nation's best pass rushes and a pair of corners in Coye Francies and Christopher Owens that could've played for anyone. This year's D has to replace the two star corners and has to find a new interior pass rusher for Jarron Gilbert, but there's talent in the back seven and Carl Ihenacho is a playmaking end to lead the line. The defense will be fantastic again as long as everyone stays healthy.

While the D will carry the team from time to time, the offense should be night-and-day better now that several key parts are back. All-star receiver Kevin Jurovich returns after missing most of last year with mono, while RB Patrick Perry is back after missing the last two years with a knee injury. Throw in the expected emergence of jaw-dropping athletes Jalal Beauchman and Marquis Avery at receiver, and the hope for Kyle Reed to grow even more into the quarterback job, and the passing game is going to start pushing the ball deep and it should be far more dangerous. It'll help that the line returns healthy and deep after a horrendous year.

If you're looking for the sleeper in the WAC race, this could be it. There are trips to Boise State, Fresno State, and Louisiana Tech that could end the dream to win the title, but thanks to the job that Tomey has done to build up the athleticism and talent, this will be an interesting team to watch out for.

What to watch for on offense: The passing game. With the addition of offensive coordinator Terry Malley from the Arena League, after his offenses put up record-setting numbers, there will be more firepower to a passing attack that muddled along throughout last year. If Reed or Jordan La Secla can be more consistent, and if they can get a little time, the tremendous receiving corps will make big things happen. That should open things up for the running game that struggled so much last year.

What to watch for on defense: The pass rush. The Spartans were among the best in the nation when it came to pressuring the quarterback and coming up with tackles for loss. New Chicago Bear Jarron Gilbert had a lot to do with that, making 9.5 sacks and 22 tackles for loss, but the rest of the defense found ways to get into the backfield as well. The pressure will continue, and that's a must considering the corners are green and need all the help they can get.

The team will be far better if … the offensive line shows up. Injuries were a big problem, but it helped create depth and experience coming into this season. Now, after finishing 104th in the nation in sacks allowed and paving the way for the nation's fifth-worst rushing game, the big, veteran line has to do far more. If the line is merely average, the Spartans will go to a bowl.

The Schedule: The Spartans might not have a chance to beat USC in the opener, but Utah could be ripe for the picking with so much rebuilding needing to be done. Don't overlook the game against Cal Poly, who might be missing some key pieces from last year, including the head coach, but it was a FCS playoff team. There isn't a painful stretch of road games, but three of the killer conference games are away from home. The Fresno State and Boise State away games are back-to-back, but there's a week off in between, while the Louisiana Tech battle is the regular season finale. On the plus side, there should be two built-in wins against Idaho and New Mexico State at home, and the Spartans should be able to take care of Hawaii in San Jose.

Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Kevin Jurovich. After shocking the WAC by catching 85 passes for 1,183 yards and nine touchdowns two years ago, he started out last season hot with 15 grabs for 183 yards and a touchdown in two games. And then he suffered a bout of mono and was knocked out for the year. Now he's back to provide the offense with a true No. 1 target for the offense to rely on.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DE Carl Ihenacho. His stats might not be as strong as last year with everyone double and triple teaming him, but he'll have his moments when he comes up with sacks and plays in the backfield in bunches. Extremely quick and 20 games of experience, he has the ability to get to the quarterback whenever he's blocked by just one player. He'll set the tone and be the anchor for a promising line.

Key player to a successful season: The entire offensive line. Again, the season will revolve around the front five and its ability to give the quarterbacks time to work and pave the way for a revamped backfield. There are several position battles with no job safe or secure, but it would be nice if Fred Koloto, the emerging sophomore star who had back problems last year, could become special at left tackle.

The season will be a success if ... the Spartans go to a bowl game. There are just enough rough patches in the schedule to ask for a conference title, the Spartans aren't going to beat Boise State in Boise, but this is Tomey's best team yet and it should be good enough to shoot for a top three finish in the WAC.

Key game: Nov. 8 vs. Nevada. The Spartans have a tough WAC road schedule and can't afford to give away games at home. The battle with the Wolf Pack, a team good enough to win the conference title, will be a tone-setter for the second half of the season and a must-win considering it's the one home date stuck in between three road games.

2008 Fun Stats: 
- Fourth quarter scoring. Opponents 100 - San Jose State 40
- Penalties: Opponents 104 for 960 yards - San Jose State 81 for 623 yards
- Sacks: San Jose State 33 for 253 yards - Opponents 31 for 224 yards

- 2009 CFN San Jose State Preview | 2009 SJSU Offense
- 2009 SJSU Defense | 2009 SJSU Depth Chart
- 2008 SJSU Preview | 2007 SJSU Preview | 2006 SJSU Preview