2010 San Jose State Preview
San Jose State S Duke Ihenacho
San Jose State S Duke Ihenacho
Posted Jul 10, 2010

CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - San Jose State Spartan Preview

San Jose State Spartans

Preview 2010

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By Pete Fiutak

Head coach: Mike MacIntyre
1st year
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 16, Def. 24, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 27
Ten Best San Jose State Players
1. S Duke Ihenacho, Sr.
2. WR Marquis Avery, Sr.
3. RB Lamon Muldrow, Sr.
4. S Tanner Burns, Soph.
5. WR Josh Harrison, Jr.
6. WR Jalal Beauchman, Sr.
7. TE Ryan Otten, Soph.
8. DE Mohamed Marah, Sr.
9. LB Pompey Festejo, Sr.
10. CB Peyton Thompson, Jr.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 4 at Alabama
Sept. 11 at Wisconsin
Sept. 18 Southern Utah
Sept. 25 at Utah
Oct. 2 UC Davis
Oct. 9 at Nevada
Oct. 16 Boise State
Oct. 23 Fresno State
Oct. 30 at NMSU
Nov. 13 Utah State
Nov. 20 at Hawaii
Nov. 27 Louisiana Tech
Dec. 4 at Idaho

Dick Tomey was able to generate a real, live buzz about San Jose State football with a stunning 9-4 2006 season, complete with a New Mexico Bowl win, followed up by not-that-bad 2007 and 2008 campaigns going a combined 11-13. And then came last year with a slew of injuries, horrific line play, and no breaks whatsoever in an ugly 2-10 season which made San Jose State, San Jose State again. Maybe.

With Tomey retiring, the program needed to go young and to go with some new ideas. Enter Mike MacIntyre, a hot name known as one of the top assistants in college football. However, he doesn't have any head coaching experience and is still an unknown when it comes to style, teaching, and running a program, meaning San Jose State might be the perfect fit.

It's not like there are expectations for a program that hasn't done much of anything over the last few decades, but it's also not like the cupboard is bare. Tomey brought in just enough good athletes to work with, and while MacIntyre is saying all the normal new-coach things about everyone needing to be in better shape and needing to toughen up, the truth is that the 2-10 2009 season was probably more of a fluke than the 9-4 2006.

17 starters are back including the entire secondary, most of the receivers, and a backfield that's good enough to win with. The key from the start of MacIntyre's reign will be to keep everyone as healthy as possible, develop a good rotation using all the emerging depth, and hope to finally start generating a little bit of offense.

The 2009 attack simply didn't work, scoring 14 points or fewer in eight games and with way too many blowouts. The Spartans simply weren't in the contests losing eight games by ten points or more and suffering a horrendous midseason stretch losing to Boise State, Nevada, and Utah State by a combined score of 148 to 23.

The defense didn't exactly help the cause with no run defense, not enough of a pass rush, and little clutch play. So while Tomey might have brought in some sensational athletes, plenty of speed, and good size for the lines, no one could actually play football. That's where MacIntyre will get to show what he can do and just how good he can be.

The Spartans aren't going to win the WAC, but with so much returning experience, so much decent depth, and so many good, raw parts to work with, 2-10 could be 6-6 with a little bit of tweaking. Okay, a lot of tweaking, but if nothing else this should be a team that becomes a thorn in everyone's side. What to watch for on offense: The end of the spread. Maybe the spread won't go away entirely, but the offense will go to more of a one-back, conventional attack that'll work more with the power running game, throw more to the tight end, and will work the ball deep in the passing attack. Anything will be an improvement over last year's nightmare, and if the line can provide the time, the skill players are just good enough to produce.

What to watch for on defense: The depth on the defensive line. The pass defense, statistically, was among the best in the country last season, and with all four starters returning to the secondary there's hope for an even bigger year. However, there's a reason the stats were so great; everyone was tired from running the ball down the Spartans' throats. The line was hit by a slew of injuries, most notably a shoulder problem suffered early on by end Mohamed Marah, and it got shoved all over the place. With a few good-looking JUCO transfers coming in, plenty of size, and a healthy Marah, the line should be tougher and far better. At least that's the hope.

The team will be far better if … the offensive line isn't awful. The defensive line might have been miserable against the run, but the offensive front was a big bowl of bad, too. The Spartan front five gave up 34 sacks and paved the way for the nation's 117th ranked rushing attack. It's a big line returning with three decent starters, and it should be far better if everyone can stay healthy. Considering the receiving corps is fast and the quarterback aren't that mobile, better pass protection is a must and more physical play for the ground game is needed, too.

The schedule: With games against Southern Utah and UC Davis mixed in with brutal non-conference road games against Alabama, Wisconsin and Utah, the first part of the season shouldn't be a total disaster. The Spartans get Nevada, Boise State, and Fresno State out of the way in the first three WAC games, with the last two in San Jose, but trips to Hawaii and Idaho aren't going to be easy and there can't be home slips against Utah State and Louisiana Tech.

Best offensive player: Senior WR Marquis Avery. Kevin Jurovich might have been the team's best receiver last year, but Avery was the better scorer with a team-leading six touchdown grabs. With 6-4, 205-pound size, terrific athleticism, and the potential to do far more with ultra-athletic Josh Harrison and Jalal Beauchman taking the heat off, Avery could be in for a tremendous year.

Best defensive player: Senior S Duke Ihenacho. The veteran star could've turned pro early and likely would've been drafted somewhere around the fourth round, and now he's back and could be the best defensive player in the conference. The 6-1, 210-pounder has started 30 times and has made 187 career stops, and he's instinctive enough and tough enough to be a major playmaker all over the field. He'll be the one the rest of the defense works around.

Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Jordan La Secla, or junior QB Matt Faulkner, or redshirt freshman QB Dasmen Stewart. The lines each need better play and it's a must for the offensive tackles to be better and the defensive tackles to be far more productive. But for there to be any overall improvement, the quarterback play has to improve and the issue of who the starter is might not be settled all year. The coaching staff will wait until the last possible moment to name a starter, and even then it likely won't be set in stone (even after MacIntyre says all the right things about the named No. 1 being "the guy" no matter what).

The season will be a success if … the Spartans win five games. It might not seem like a great year to finish with a losing record, but considering how bad the team was last year, and with a new coaching staff in place, being a +3 from 2009 would be a big step forward. Beating Southern Utah and UC Davis are a must, getting by Utah State at home would be nice, and coming up with a win at New Mexico State or Hawaii, or coming up with an upset over Louisiana Tech or Idaho will be needed to get to five wins.

Key game: Oct. 30 at New Mexico State. It'll take a big upset to pull off a win over Nevada, Boise State, or Fresno State in the first three WAC games, and if all goes according to form, the Spartans will be 2-6 at worst, 3-5 at reasonable best, before going to Las Cruces. If the Spartans can't pull out a win over the one FBS team it beat last year, they have no shot of finishing at .500 or better.

2009 Fun Stats:
- Second quarter scoring: Opponents 161 – San Jose State 44
- Rushing offense: Opponents 259.2 yards per game – San Jose State 76.7 yards per game
- Punt return average: Opponents 10.7 yards per try – San Jose State 1.7 yards per try

- 2010 San Jose State Preview | 2010 San Jose State Offense
- 2010 San Jose State Defense | 2010 San Jose State Depth Chart
- San Jose State Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006