Sparty over here: San Jose State WAC football preview

Part 4 of our WAC football preview is here. Today, I'm examining the oft-mediocre, but always scary, San Jose Stat Spartans. The Spartans have some intriguing transfers and returners, but you just never know what you're going to get with Tomey's boyz. Let's what they have to offer in 2008.

In 2003, Boise State defeated San Jose State in Boise by a score of 77-14...in regulation. To this day, it is the most points the Broncos have ever scored on an opponent. The following year in San Jose, the Broncos won 56-49 in overtime. These night-and-day type performances typify the play of the Spartans over the last few years...at times horrific...at other times terrific. What "ific" will they embrace this year? It is hard to say.

Sock it To-mey
Dick Tomey's sleepy demeanor pushed his Spartans to a 9-4 season in 2006 and a bowl win over New Mexico. The momentum for the Spartans was then so great that it catapulted them to a 5-7 season in 2007. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Tomey has been one thing since he took the reins of the Spartan program in 2005: Not Fitz Hill. He has guided his Spartans to new heights and par-for-the course lows in his brief tenure...but playing close-to-500 ball is what the Spartans do best. Tomey looks like he may just take a nap on the sidelines or during interviews at any moment—maybe his apathetic, Stan Laurel-like persona is what keeps the Spartans on such a milktoast even keel. We know the team can play...but when they decide to is a different story.

No O...no go
Losing your top tailback in the first game of the year is tough. When you have no capable backups for that injured tailback—it's real tough. This is the scenario that the Spartans faced last year. Star RB Yonus Davis went down in the Spartans opening game against Arizona State and never returned—neither did the Spartans rushing attack. The Spartans barely scratched the 1,000 yard rushing mark last year as a team...their top rusher had 331 yards on the year and 1 touchdown. This lack of a running game hampered the Spartans all year, and had it not been for the inspired play of WR Kevin Jurovich and the capable passing of senior Adam Tafralis, the Spartans may not have even been lucky enough to win the 5 games they did. However, for all of their offensive difficulties last season, the Spartans nearly toppled eventual champ Hawaii, dropped 51 points on New Mexico State and defeated a pretty good Nevada team in their finale. Not the type of year that Spartan fans had in mind, for sure, but no reason to push the panic button quite yet either. Yonus Davis returns to the backfield and Jurovich will be a threat...a little O can go a long way. The Spartans do have to replace 3-year starter Tafralis...but capable replacements abound in Myles Eden, Jordan LaSecla and Cal-transfer Kyle Reed. I doubt the Spartans will repeat their feat of getting shutout twice in one season, as they did against Stanford and Fresno State—but they have a little ways to go to trade offensive blows with the WAC's best.

Come one, come all
The welcome sign is always on and buzzing at Spartan Stadium, apparently, as they have drawn Pac-10 transfers with the greatest of ease. Besides the Cal-transfer on offense, the Spartans have added Coye Francies from Oregon State to their defensive secondary and more impressively, ex-USC defensive end Jeff Schweiger. Schweiger and Francies should make their presence known this season...the Spartans already had a pretty good secondary and the addition of Francies alongside all-WAC second team corner Chris Owens will soften the blow that Dwight Lowery's graduation/drafting dealt. Schweiger is a big boy and with a Trojan pedigree may wreak havoc on WAC O-lines. Heck, OBNUG thinks he may be the DPOY. Could be...but you gotta go through Ryan Winterswyk to get it, savvy?

Is a winning season so much to ask?
A winning season is never too much to ask...but is often too much to deliver. I think that the best-case scenario for the Spartans this year is a 7-5 record, but likely a 6-6 outing is in the tarot cards. I think they'll get by UC-Davis, SDSU and Utah State and then defeat NMSU, Idaho and La Tech. Fresno and Boise State have to come to the Bay...and I think the Spartans will put a scare into one of 'em (please, not Boise State again) but ultimately come up short. This is a big year for the Spartans and I think that even a .500 campaign will give them a nice boost after last years injury-plagued and disappointing season. After all is said and done, Dick Tomey will take a nice, long nap.

Hey Spartans, at least you don't have to deal with this tool anymore, right?

Previous previews:
Utah State preview
Idaho preview
New Mexico State preview

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