College Football Preview: The 2014 San Jose State Spartans
San Jose State has enough pieces to make them a threat in the MWC.
2014 College Football Preview
The San Jose State Spartans look to avoid the injury bug and improve on last season's 6-6 record.
Overview: Second year head coach Ron Caragher experienced a rough first year. Number one he was replacing highly successful Mike McIntyre and second he had numerous injuries to contend with. Now he loses star quarterback David Fales so how will things go in 2014?
USA TODAY Sports
Offense: Fales threw for almost 4,200 yards with 33 TD's and 13 picks so replacing him is not going to happen. Option two is trying to find somebody that is competent with the starting job being a battle between 2013 backup Blake Jurich or Joe Gray who looked good in the spring. Top receiver Chandler Jones takes 1,356 yards to graduation leaving Tyler Winston (58-858) and TE Billy Freeman (27-427) as the top targets. The rushing attack gets Jarrod Lawson (164-788) and Thomas Tucker (66-338) back with both also capable receivers out of the backfield. The O-Line is a huge area of concern with only two players back with All MWC RG Nicholas Kaspar a key loss.
Defense: The defense as a whole has quite a few bodies back in the fold but the Spartans also lose a few key players. The defensive line is solid experience wise with the top six back while the linebacking corp returns four of five. That one missing player was tackle machine Kevin Smith who recorded 118 and also led the team with eight sacks which is not replaceable production. Bene' Benwikere is the most notable loss in the secondary with five interceptions and eleven passes defensed at cornerback but this unit appears to be have reasonable talent otherwise.
Special Teams: The Spartans need a punter and an overall upgrade in the return game but what they do have is placekicker Austin Lopez who nailed 22-27 FG including an impressive 10-12 from over 40 yards.
Outlook: San Jose State might be one year away from being really significant but in 2014 the defense will take a step forward and without Fales the offense can't be as good. San Jose State could squeak in to the postseason and could be out as I see them going either way.