|3rd For Spartans At WAC Preview; T. Johnson Cited|
Las Vegas, Nev.-----With 13 returning starters including two first-team all-conference seniors, San Jose State University is picked to finish third in the 2012 Western Athletic Conference preseason football coaches and media polls.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre enters his third season coming off the Spartans' best finish since 2008 with a 5-7 win-loss record and a fourth-place tie at 3-4 in the 2011 conference standings.
Defending champion Louisiana Tech and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl participant Utah State, two teams on this year's home schedule are named ahead of San Jose State.
"It's (picked third) is a good pick, because Louisiana Tech had a great year last year and returns its quarterback and the WAC Preseason offensive Player of the Year in (wide receiver Quinton) Patton," says MacIntyre. "Utah State has a very good football team. They return both quarterbacks and a lot of defensive players that played well for them last year.
"... The good thing is the teams picked one and two come to our place. That gives us a chance to play the best at home this year and we have a great home schedule."
Besides selecting an order of finish, media members voting named San Jose State defensive end Travis Johnson as the WAC preseason Defensive Player of the Year to go along with the choice of Patton as WAC preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Earlier this summer, Johnson was named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award watch lists. In 2011, he was credited with 9.5 quarterback sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss.
"Travis has earned every bit of that. He's a playmaker. He blocked kicks that were big in the (2011) Hawaii game. He just makes a lot of plays and he's also a team captain. I think he is a heck of a football player," the Spartans coach says about the returning first-team All-WAC player from Sunnyvale, Calif.
Jose State opens preseason practice, Friday, August 3 and plays its season opener,
Friday, August 31, at Stanford in a 7:00 p.m. contest.