Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Opponent Preview: Game 1-San Jose State

sanjose_spartans300x180 The Tide will open their 2010 campaign against the San Jose State Spartans on September 4th. The Spartans will be lead by their new head coach, Mike MacIntyre, who was a former Duke assistant. While Spartan faithful look forward to the new start, it is hard to overlook just how bad this team is. The Spartans were last in the WAC last year, winning only 1 game in conference and losing their other 7 in conference bouts. Overall, the Spartans had a 2-10 season last year. In fact, the Spartans have only had two winning seasons in the last ten, which most likely contributed to the MacIntyre’s new gig.

While spring practice has been mostly learning a new system under a new coach, we will also have to wait until closer to game time to know who exactly will be running the team on the field. In fact, the only real returning skill position player who has his job safe is the Spartan’s tight end Ryan Otten. With the new system being put into place, the offense will be shifting from a spread offense we usually see out west to a more traditional system which will try to feature Otten. In San Jose’s spring game, Otten caught three passes for 92 yards, two of which were for touchdowns.

As for other skill positions on offense, the returning senior quarterback is Jordan La Secla who threw for 1926 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2009. He also threw 11 interceptions and had a quarterback rating 116.7. Though he comes of the 2009 season as the number one, the Spartans do have a juco transfer in Matt Faulkner who will challenge for the job this spring and in the fall. If the passing offense was bad, the word on the street is the running offense is even worse. In fact, SJS recruited 3 running backs to join the team in 2010, all who will try for the job. The incoming freshman with the best chance is Forrest Hightower. Last season, their leading rusher was Lamon Muldrow who ran for a team leading 592 yards and three touchdowns.

On defense, the Spartans run a 4-3 base, however the defensive line is probably their worst unit on the field. They have only one returning starter, and most of the other lineman were hurt this spring. Their rush defense was ranked 119th in the country. And with the Tide’s potential on the ground, their first game will be a challenging one. While MacIntyre wants a more attacking offense this year, with the potential the Tide has on the offensive side of the ball, this game could get ugly.

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