With the start of the 2012 season fast approaching, SJSU superfan SierraSpartan of SpartanBlitz.com was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Spartans. Enjoy.
What can you tell us about new quarterback David Fales?
David Fales came to us out of Monterey Peninsula College. He was initially recruited to be the understudy for Colin Kaepernick up at Nevada, but things did not work out for him up there. Of the four QB's in camp, it is my understanding that Fales has been much closer to the "complete" package that Coach Mac is looking for, especially since in this first game SJSU's offense is going to be pass-first.
With Duke Ihenacho gone, who are some of the players to watch out for on the defensive side of the ball?
The funny part about the departure of the Duke is that there are a couple of other guys, Ronnie Yell and James Orth, both of whom I believe got more tackles last season than Ihenacho. Several years ago, when Dwight Lowery was tearing things up for us in the defensive backfield, it kind of set a tone that SJSU was a good place to be if you wanted to play DB and get some good stats and some good looks from NFL scouts, and that hasn't changed. The Ihenacho brothers are still on NFL rosters; Lowery was a success for the Jets but now expects to see a lot of work for the Jaguars.
What's SJSU's biggest strength? What's its biggest weakness?
SJSU's biggest strength, by far, is the talent pool at WR/TE - and that again gets back to some of the historical strengths that SJSU has had. TE Ryan Otten is a consensus all-WAC first teamer, and is listed as one of the top-5 TE's nationwide, and Jabari Carr and Noel Grigsby both are set to give a lot of DBs nightmares. Our biggest weakness as I see it right now is in the O-line. We've graduated a lot of guys, but for some reason we can never seem to put a consistent line together - which is probably why we were something like 110th (Editor's Note: 106th) in rushing offense last year. In the game up on the Farm last year, I think we had something on the order of 27 yards on 35 rushing attempts or some such ridiculous number. We return an all-WAC lineman in LT Dan Quessenberry who will protect Fales' blind side, and C Ruben Hasani is a returning starter as well, but if the line does not protect Fales well, it'll be a rough season.
The Spartans went from one win in 2010 to five last year. What are your expectations for 2012?
This year will be the "move up" year Spartans fans have been waiting for. The two toughest teams in the WAC, Utah State and LaTech, both visit San Jose this year. We also have home games against the MWC's Colorado State and (*spit*) BYU (*spit*). The game against WAC preseason favorite LaTech will be the final regular-season WAC football game in its storied history, and will probably decide who goes to Boise to play in the Tater Bowl. My fearless prediction for the season on the MWC Connection website was 9-3/5-1 and (at long last) a WAC championship. The table is set for SJSU - all we have to do is to pick up the knife and fork.
What's your prediction for Friday's game?
As to Friday night - that all depends on the matchup in the trenches between your defensive front seven and our O-line. If our O-line can help to establish some sort of ground game and give Fales time to go through his progressions, and the athleticism of the SJSU receivers will begin to show, and SJSU will go into halftime on even terms; if that happens, then the Spartans will have a puncher's chance of pulling off the upset. If, on the other hand, things progress as they did last year, though, then do not be surprised if our #2 and possibly even the #3 QB get some playing time for experience's sake. We will know how things shake out probably by the end of the first quarter. Realistically, though, SJSU's a year or two from being able to match up equally with you guys. I do not predict another curb-stomping like last year, but something on the order of a 30-10 Stanford win would not surprise me in the least.