The Spartans finished 2008 averaging 18.7 points per game, dead last in the WAC. They will need to improve on this mark if they are going to achieve bowl eligibility status in 2009. Perhaps part of the reason for the volatility on the offensive side of the ball was SJSU’s unstable quarterback situation. As the old saying goes, “If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one”. I imagine the saying holds true if you have three quarterbacks.
Former Cal-transfer Kyle Reed (6-3, 215 lbs, SR) saw the most snaps behind center last season and will be the opening signal caller against the Trojans come Saturday afternoon. While Reed completed 64% of his passes and threw just six interceptions, he appeared to rather take a sack than throw the ball away, generating negative yardage in the process. He played in 10 games last season, starting eight, and the team was 4-4 in his starts. He showed flashes of promise early in the season by completing 88.5% of his passes (23-26) against Stanford in September. But by the end of the year, performances against New Mexico State (8-18, 50 yards, 3 INTs) and Louisiana Tech (4-14, 79 yards) had fans calling for relief.
Jordan LaSecla (6-3, 205 JR) is Reed’s main competition heading into the season and figures to see some playing time in the Coliseum. LaSecla quietly enjoyed his most productive spring since joining the Spartans in 2006. He appeared in two games last season and four in 2007. He was the 2005 Marmonte League MVP for Newbury Park HS after passing for 4,070 yards and 35 TDs in his senior prep year.
Myles Eden (6-1, 205, SR) is currently #3 on the depth chart, yet figures to get a chance at some point during the season, perhaps even Week One. Eden started three games and appeared in three others in 2008. His best game last season came in conference play against Idaho, completing 23 of 31 passes for 295 yards and two TDs in a 30-24 victory. Eden has the most mobility of the three QBs that USC may see on Saturday.
At least four players figure to be in the mix at running back for the Spartans. Brandon Rutley (5-10, 190, SO) is the top returning rusher from 2008 with 358 yards, a 4.5 average and three touchdowns. He has the best breakaway speed of the group. Patrick Perry (5-10, 215, SR) led SJSU in rushing TDs in 2006 and is back after missing the last two seasons to injury. Chris Reese (5-9, 205, SR) is the most effective rusher between the tackles and figures to be involved in short yardage situations. Lamon Muldrow (5-9, 210, JR) is the most durable of the bunch, coming to San Jose from Sierra JC, where he carried the ball 617 times for 3,260 yards and 44 TDs in two seasons and was a unanimous 2008 JC All-American.
SJSU’s quarterbacks will all benefit from the return of WRs Kevin Jurovich (6-0, 190 SR) and Jalal Beauchman (6-4, 220 JR). Jurovich, who missed most of last season with an illness, was a second-team all-WAC standout in 2007 after setting a single-season school record with 85 receptions for 1,183 yards, third-best all time.
Jurovich is a model of consistency and the Spartans are excited to have him back. “You can see what he brings out there,” Tomey said of Jurovich after the spring game. “It was something we were missing a year ago. He’s elusive. He’s fast. He’s competitive.”
Between Jurovich and Beauchman, the Spartans return 142 career receptions and 11 TDs, making the position of WR a plus heading into the 2009 campaign. Terrance Williams (6-5, 240, SR), third on last year’s team with 22 catches, is moving from WR to TE to take advantage of his wide body and to make room for spring arrival Marquis Avery (6-4, 205 JR), who figures to factor in as well.
The Spartan offensive line is considered to be a strength heading into this season. SJSU have six O-linemen who have started at least 10 games at the major college level. Ronnie Castillo (6-0, 292, SR), who has started at guard and center, tops the depth chart at center with Robbie Reed (6-3, 290 JR) pushing for playing time. Right guard Ailao Eliapo (6-2, 320, JR) was the one San Jose State lineman to start all 12 games at one position last season. Isaac Leatiota (6-4, 305 JR) has been the primary left guard the last two seasons. John Konye (6-4, 290, JR) and Fred Koloto (6-3, 290 SO) manned the left tackle position in 2008 and 2007, respectively. Either one could slide over to left guard. Jon Moreno (6-4, 285) is the returning starter at right tackle and will be pushed for playing time by Andres Vargas (6-4, 305, SO). This unit is very deep, talented, and compares favorably in size to many offensive line units in the Pac-10.
San Jose St. WR Kevin Jurovich had 85 catches for 1,183 yards and 9 TDs in ‘07
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