Preview 2017: San Jose State Spartans

Preview 2017: San Jose State Spartans

Teams & Conferences

Preview 2017: San Jose State Spartans

Preview 2017: San Jose State Spartans


Previewing and looking ahead at the San Jose State Spartans season – and what you need to know.


Contact @PeteFiutak

2017 San Jose State Preview: New Coach, New Energy
2017 San Jose State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– San Jose State Previews: 2016 | 2015

What You Need To Know About The San Jose State Offense

There’s going with a youth movement, and there’s the San Jose State offensive coaching staff. New offensive coordinator Andrew Sowder is only 28, but he’s been around some brilliant offensive minds and now gets his shot to crank up the attack.

He worked under now Syracuse head coach Dino Babers after starting out at Baylor, and he’s going to try cranking up the high-powered attack in San Jose.

Is there a quarterback who can run the thing? It’ll be a battle well into the summer between Josh Love and Montel Aaron to see who gets to the starting quarterback job, with the winner getting a nice receiving corps to throw to. Leading receiver Tim Crawley is gone, along with star tight end Billy Freeman, but Justin Holmes and Tre Hartley are excellent targets.

There’s quickness and skill in the backfield, but everyone needs the ball more, starting with Malik Roberson. Give the team’s leading rusher from last year the chance, and he should be able to produce if the line is stronger. Four starters are back up front, but …

Biggest Key To The San Jose State Offense

The pass protection has to be far better. There’s experience, and there’s even a little bit of talent, but the line has to do its job to give the quarterbacks a little bit of time. With this offensive style, the goal is to get the ball out of the QB’s hands as soon as possible – it had better work.

The Spartans gave up a nation-worst 50 sacks and 101 tackles for loss. To put this into perspective, no team allowed 50 sacks or more since 2013.

What You Need To Know About The San Jose State Defense

In comes Derrick Odum from Oregon State to take over the defensive coordinator gig, and he’s got plenty of work to do.

Last year’s Spartan D got destroyed by anyone with a decent ground game, and was hit too hard by the more efficient passers, giving up 435 yards and 35 points per game.

If it gets help from the pass rush, the secondary should be excellent with all-star corner Andre Chachere and all four starters back. The Spartans were hit by too many big plays, but there’s a good group of hitters.

Star tackler Christian Tago is done from the linebacking corps, but Frank Ginda turned into an all-around playmaker at one spot, and with other veterans back to a trio that needs to be tougher at the point of attack.

All the tackles are back, but they have to hold up in a good rotation that makes up for the lack of bulk. However, both starting ends are gone, making life harder because …

Biggest Key To The San Jose State Defense

Can there be a steadier pass rush? The secondary should be okay, but it’ll need help with more quarterback pressures. The Spartans destroyed Fresno State in the season finale, coming up with 14 plays behind the line. But the D came up with a grand total of 55 tackles for loss in the other 11 games. The pass rush went bye-bye at times, generating fewer than two sacks in six games.

San Jose State Will Be Far Better If …

The run defense finally starts to stop someone. Gutted way too often, the Spartan defensive front seven was a nightmare for long stretches. It got hit for 300 yards or more in four straight games over the second half of the season, bottoming out against Air Force allowing 458 yards and well over seven yards per carry, and allowed 200 rushing yards or more eight times. But that’s nothing new. The Spartans gave up 200 yards or more 22 times over the last three seasons.

Best San Jose State Offensive Player

RB Malik Roberson, Jr. – While he didn’t get a whole bunch of work, he still led the team with 508 rushing yards and two scores, averaging more than five yards per carry, and caught 18 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.

He carried the team to a win over Nevada with 139 yards on 35 carries, and he hit the 100-yard mark against Boise State, but he also ran for fewer than 20 yards seven times. The new coaching staff will make sure the 5-8, 189-pound academic all-star gets the ball more.

2. WR Justin Holmes, Jr.
3. WR Tre Hartley, Jr.
4. PK Bryce Crawford, Jr.
5. C Keoni Taylor, Sr.

Best San Jose State Defensive Player

CB Andre Cachere, Sr. – The team’s leading playmaker when the ball was in the air, the 6-0, 200-pounder earned All-Mountain West honors coming up with four picks and 14 broken up passes and 36 tackles. With good size and terrific ball skills – and the reputation after his great season – no one’s going to throw his way.

2. LB Frank Ginda, Jr.
3. S Maurice McKnight, Sr.
4. P Michael Carrizosa, Sr.
5. DT Owen Roberts, Jr.

Key Player To A Successful Season

QB Josh Love, Soph. Or Montel Aaron. The 6-5, 210-pound Aaron redshirted in his first season, and now he’s neck-and-neck with Love for a shot at taking over the starting job. He’s a smart, accurate passer with a next-level fastball – literally, he was a great high school baseball picture – and great athleticism. However, Love has a little bit of experience.

The backup throughout last season, the 6-2, 205-pound Love completed 31-of-60 passes for 392 yards and two scores with five picks in his mop-up duty time. He’s got the slight inside track for the starting job, but Aaron, again, is right there. No matter who gets the job, improving the mediocre passing attack is a must.

The San Jose State Season Will Be A Success If …

It wins five games. That’s a very, very big task considering all the turnover and with a brutal schedule, but if last year’s team could win four games, now the Spartans have to go one better. Even with a 13-game season — good luck.

It’ll take a slew of Mountain West road wins to get close to five victories, to go along with a win over Cal Poly. With what should be a more interesting offense – if this thing works – SJSU could be a wild-card.

Key Game To The San Jose State Season

Nov. 25 vs. Wyoming – Just how good is San Jose State going to be by the end of the season, and just how much will it improve in the first season under the new coaching staff? No one’s expecting a Mountain West title, but if the team is getting the right pieces in place going into 2018, beating the Cowboys could be a big deal. After playing four road games in five dates, the Spartans will need this.

2016 San Jose State Fun Stats

– Sacks: Opponents 49 for 250 yards – San Jose State 23 for 147 yards
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 12-of-14 (86%) – San Jose State 10-of-23 (43%)
– Yards Per Carry: Opponents 5.5 – San Jose State 3.9

2017 San Jose State Preview: New Coach, New Energy
2017 San Jose State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– San Jose State Previews: 2016 | 2015

More College Football News
Home