Young Spartans have aid of veteran coach

By By Paige Fieldsted

By Paige Fieldsted

The San Jose State Spartans are looking to end the Utes’ 15-game winning streak in both teams’ second game of the season this weekend in California.

The Spartans, like the Utes, have young and inexperienced personnel at several key positions.

San Jose State saw tight end Ryan Otten, safeties Tanner Burns and Tiuke Tuipulotu and cornerback Alex Germany get their first major college start in last week’s game against USC. Also seeing action were five freshmen at the cornerback, defensive end and wide receiver positions.

The young team struggled against No. 3 ranked USC in a 56-3 blowout. Both the Spartans’ offense and defense were unable to make plays when needed.

“They are coming off a tough loss,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “They had to go into Memorial Coliseum and play the Trojans, which is a tall order for anyone. They were ahead three-nothing after the first quarter, but it was downhill after that. We don’t put a lot of stock into that. Whether they won 56-3 or got beat 56-3, we prepare the same way. You’ve got to go through your process throughout the first of the week and be ready to play.”

The offense gained a total of 9 yards, while quarterbacks Kyle Reed and Jordan La Secla completed 15 of 30 passes for 112 yards. The Spartans’ 121 total offensive yards is less than a third of the 519 yards the Utes gained against the Utah State Aggies in their season opener.

Spartan wide receiver Kevin Jurovich led the team in yardage, earning 64 yards on five passes for a 12.8 yard-per-catch average. Running back Patrick Perry rushed for a total of 55 yards on 14 carries for an average of 3.4 yard per carry.

The San Jose defense also had trouble against the Trojans, giving up eight touchdowns and 620 yards, despite getting two sacks.

“They’ve got some good athletes,” Whittingham said. “Their quarterback is a good athlete8212;Kyle Reed. They’ve got some front guys on defense that are very good players as well.”

Although the Spartans lost three defensive players to the draft last year, Whittingham said they have several guys coming back on defense who play similarly to those lost.
Working in San Jose State’s favor is fifth-year head coach Dick Tomey, who has a 23-26 record in his four seasons as head coach. Although Tomey has a losing record at San Jose, he is in the top five head coaching victories by active coaches with a 181-136-7 record.

“His teams are very well coached,” Whittingham said. “He is one of the best in the business; look at his track record in Hawaii. The players believe in him. He is the epitome of a players’ coach8212;they love him and consequently perform for him.”

As a head coach, Tomey is 4-4 against Utah, going 3-3 when he was coaching at Hawaii and 1-1 at Arizona; six of the eight games were decided by four points or less.
Whittingham said he is familiar with some of Tomey’s strategies, things he learned from working with Ron McBride, who worked with Tomey at Arizona.

“I had the benefit of learning a great deal of his philosophies through coach McBride,” Whittingham said. “He hung onto a lot of what Tomey did and brought a lot of that to Utah.”

The last time the Utes faced San Jose State was when they played in the Western Athletic Conference in 1998. Utah holds a 4-1 lead in the all-time series.