Monday, July 10, 2017
Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: San Jose State Spartans
San Jose State Spartans
The Spartans are starting over again after hiring Oregon State WR Coach Brent Brennan as head coach this off-season. The program has once again fallen into disarray since Mike MacIntyre left the program for the Colorado job, and that, unfortunately, has been a problem for this floundering program, off and on, for years. Brennan was probably not the most high profile hire one will ever hear of, and has a mountain of a job to do to get this program right again. Will he be the right guy to turn the ship around, or will it be more of the same?
What To be Excited About: Offense
Malik Roberson was not used nearly enough last season, but expect the leash to be removed after he led the team in rushing on just 99 carries last fall. He finished with 508 yards and averaged 5.13 yards per carry. Zamore Zigler also showed some flashes here and there, and averaged 5.35 yards per carry. If San Jose State is going to surprise anyone, the ru is going to be the way to do it.
Justin Holmes and Tre Hartley are moving up in the receiving corps, and will be the two primary targets this season. They combined for 72 receptions for 1185 yards last fall, and should help with a young QB group.
The line will have some serious senior leadership in LT Nate Velichko, LG Jeremiah Kolone, C Keoni Taylor, and RG Chris Gonzalez. RT Troy Kowalski is the kid of the group as a sophomore.
Bryce Crawford was a major bright spot at PK last season, as he hit 16/18 FG tries. He is back to give the Spartans a solid scoring option.
What To Be Concerned About: Offense
The QB group will be severely young and inexperienced with the departure of Kenny Potter this season. Josh Love, a RS sophomore will start, but was not promising in limited action last fall. He completed just 51.7% of his pass attempts, and tossed five INTs to just two TDs. If he cannot win or hold the job, Montel Aaron, a RS freshman, is the only backup option worth looking at currently.
What To Be Excited About: Defense
The Spartans will run a 3-4 defense this fall. Two players of note return on the line in DE Owen Roberts and DT Bryson Bridges. Roberts finsihed with 8.5 TFLS off of the edge, while Bridges added 5.5 more up the middle. Roberts finished with 56 tackles overall last fall, while Bridges picked up 33 tackles.
The LB corps is expected to be a bit up and down this season, but has some quality in OLB Ethan Aguayo and ILB Frank Ginda. Ginda finished last season with 99 tackles, while Aguayo added 53.
The CB group should be solid as Austin Chechere returns after recording 14 PBUs last fall. He also led the team with four INTs. Jermaine Kelly also returns after recording five PBUs and 26 tackles.
Maurice McKnight is back at FS after recording 68 tackles and Trevon Bierria is back at SS, and recorded 54 tackles last fall. Bierria was solid in pass coverage, scoring six PBUs on the year.
Michael Carrisoza is back at Punter, and is one of the best in the nation after averaging 44.31 yards per punt last fall.
What To Be Concerned About: Defense
The LB corps could be a weak link, even with the return of Ginda and Aguayo. They are only as good as the other half of the equasion, and William Ossai and transfer sophomore Justin Parcells are unknown quantities in the starting role. Mykal Berry is another severely inexperienced player at DE as well, giving the Spartans three huge questions in the front seven. As good as some of these defensive pieces are, and there are good pieces, the unit still allowed over 34 points per game last season as it crumbled under the pressure of holding up a terrible offense. If the offense cannot come through with inexperience aplenty at QB, this unit may collapse yet again.
2017 Schedule: 8/26 USF, 9/2 Cal Poly, 9/9 at Texas, 9/16 at Utah, 9/23 Utah State, 9/30 at UNLV, 10/7 Fresno State, 10/14 at Hawaii, 10/28 at BYU, 11/4 San Diego State, 11/11 at Nevada 11/18 at Colorado State, 11/25 Wyoming
In order for the Spartans to find any success, that front seven has got to hold up, and the offense has got to unleash their talent in the backfield in the run game. The schedule is brutal early, and even the game against FCS member Cal Poly is no guaranteed win. I still see an opportunity for this team to win five games, but there is no room for error, and the talent, specifically on defense, has got to hold that up.