Back on the field this fall are 16 returning starters, including quarterback David Fales, who finished with the country’s third-best passing efficiency last season (170.8 rating).
“It’s a good group,” said new coach Ron Caragher, who comes over from the University of San Diego. “(MacIntyre) did a good job recruiting. What we need to do is bring the chemistry together and get everyone on the same page.”
San Jose State was one of the first teams to wrap up their spring session, holding its annual spring game on March 23.
Caragher was impressed with the effort given by the entire crew and emphasized that “a number of players had a great spring,” but pointed out a few special names that really seemed to stand out throughout practice.
Rising junior defensive lineman Travis Racidi topped that list and has all but engraved himself into the starting roster once the regular season rolls around. Fales and interception machine Bene Benwikere followed, with names like Damon Ogburn, Garrett Guanelle, Chandler Jones, Jabari Carr and Wes Schweitzer getting recognition.
“You can’t replicate what they did last year, because we lost some key positions – not glorified positions, but heart and soul type positions,” Caragher said of this year’s group. “There are a number of guys coming back, but we need to continue to develop players. The bar has been set high especially moving to the Mountain West and out team has to step it up.”
In order for the Spartans to contend for a very competitive Mountain West Conference in 2013, they will need to find replacements for a number of impact players.
Stud left tackle David Quessenberry is one of them, and is projected to be a third- to fourth-round pick in this month’s NFL draft. But Schweitzer and Evan Sarver have “battled well” for that vacancy and both are viable candidates to carry the load.
“You have to be yourself and also go with what your team does well,” said Caragher. “(You have to keep) assessing your players and figure out what works.
“Spring football practice is all about finding your identity, strengths, and knowing who you are,” he added. “You can’t go in to the fall not knowing your identity, and I think we came out mission accomplished.”
San Jose State will continue working through conditioning activities until school lets out toward the end of May, and then are “on their own” with strength coordinator Gary Uribe until summer workouts begin in July.
*All quotes were obtained first-hand
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