Use Spring Practice To Work On Fundamentals & Eliminate Mistakes

Christian Tago was a 2014 honorable mention All-Mountan West linebacker.
March 8, 2015

For San José State University football returning starters Wes Schweitzer and Christian Tago, their final spring practice is more than routine.

Schweitzer's physical growth parallels the added responsibilities of playing the left tackle position on offense. He has 25 starting calls at the position and is the Spartans' most experienced offensive lineman heading into his senior season.

Tago shared the team lead in total tackles with Vince Buhagiar last season at 96. Though his numbers point to being better and being recognized as an honorable mention All-Mountain West linebacker in 2014 compared to his 90 tackles as a freshman, the fourth-year junior's focus is on the team's improvement.

The second week of spring practice begins Monday, March 9, and includes practices on March 11, 13 and 14.

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Wes Schweitzer

Q: As a fifth-year senior, do you have a different perspective on spring practice compared to earlier in your career?

WS: "Looking back on it, what you do in spring ball determines how your season will go. The mistakes you make in the spring will be the same mistakes you make in the fall if you don't fix them. So, it's really important. "

Q: How have you dealt with the various offensive line coaches through the years? (For Schweitzer, the list working backwards is Adam Stenavich in 2015, Keith Carter, 2014; Hank Fraley, 2013; Gary Bernardi, 2012 and 2011.)



WS: "They all want the same thing. They all want effort. They want good focus on technique. I think it's made me a well-rounded player. I've seen everything. It comes down to they want the same basic thing. You have to get past the personal part of it. They're just trying to make you better. Regardless of one scheme or another, they are going to make you better."

Q: Summarize the first two days of practice from an offensive perspective?

WS: "It was really physical. The offense is the same, but it has more of a run emphasis. I like how we mix it up. I like our new offensive line coach (Adam Stenavich). I like the drills he does and I respect him."

Q: From a player's perspective how would you describe Coach Stenavich's way of coaching?

WS: "Real physical. There is a real emphasis on the run game. We went back to the (blocking) sleds - pushing the sleds and pushing weight. It makes me excited for this year. I'm pumped. I'm ready."

Q: Is left tackle still your position? Is it sort of like your home?

WS: "Yes. Hopefully, our team does better and, hopefully, I do better, like all-conference. We'll see how it goes."

Christian Tago

Q: Please summarize the first two days of practice from a defensive perspective?

CT: "As a defense, we're a lot more comfortable than the past two springs. It's nice and reassuring we are coming back and playing the same kind of defense. We don't have to learn a whole new system and learn new techniques. Everybody feels comfortable with Coach Robinson's defense."

Q: What can you see from your defensive teammates after two days?

CT: "I can tell we are not satisfied with the outcome of our season from last year. Everybody is hungry. Everybody is focused. Everyone wants to get better and help our achieve the goals we want."

Q: For these first two days, was the emphasis on fundamentals and are the first-string guys practicing together and the second-string guys doing the same?

CT: "Coach expressed to us this camp is all about fundamentals. Personally, I watched the film (from) last year. Watching the film, I saw how much better I could be if I did a certain technique or stuck to my fundamentals like I was supposed to. This camp, we're trying to concentrate on our fundamentals."

Q: Does having six returning starters (DE Cedric Lousi, DT Tony Popovich, CB Cleveland Wallace III, CB Jimmy Pruitt, S Maurice McKnight and himself) from last year's defense add to the comfort level?

CT: "It definitely adds to it. Since there were back, there already is chemistry there. The new guys will add to the chemistry we already have."

Q: Any new wrinkles in the defense so far?

CT: "We are zoning in (on our fundamentals) and perfecting our craft within that."

Q: Statistically, the defense improved from 2013 to 2014. Does that give you or any of the returning guys any satisfaction that there was progress?

CT: "It's a nice stat to have, but we're not satisfied with it. We want to work harder and be a better defense than we were last year."

Q & A archive:

March 6- Head coach Ron Caragher, defensive back Jimmy Pruitt, running back Tyler Ervin.