Q&A With Thomas Tucker & Maurice McKnight

Thomas Tucker plans to earn a significant role in the running back rotation.
March 13, 2015

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Thomas Tucker and Maurice McKnight shared little in common during San Jose State University's 2014 football season.

Tucker, a running back, was impressive in the season-opening win over North Dakota, but was sidelined for the remainder of the year after the Minnesota game on September 20. McKnight played in the defensive secondary in every game and made his presence felt more and more on the field as the season unfolded. At the end of 2014, McKnight was named the Spartans' Newcomer of the Year at the team's annual awards banquet.

This spring, they share sophomore status athletically and a strong-willed desire to improve individually and help the Spartans become a better team this season.

San José State continues spring practice on March 13 and 14. Coach Ron Caragher made several adjustments to the practice calendar postponing the March 16 by two days and concluding 2015 spring practice on Friday, April 10.

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Running back Thomas Tucker

Q: You missed last season due to an injury. How are things going for you this spring?

TT: "Things are going good. I'm getting back in the rotation and getting back to the feel of playing running back. I was out for a year. So, I had to get used to receiving the ball from the quarterback, going back to the basic skills and sharpening up on things."

Q: What's been the hardest thing for you to pick up so far?

TT: "Adjusting to the new system Coach Borges is putting in. He's thrown in some new techniques. I'm working on it every day. I'm staying late (after) practice and coming in early (before practice)."

Q: How is your timing coming along?

TT: "Honestly, starting off in the beginning, it was difficult, but we practiced it - the quarterbacks, the running backs, the offensive side is starting to mesh and have a lot of camaraderie.

"There are more things I have to learn, but I feel I'm at a good stage right now. And, where we are at with spring ball. Every day, I just try to get better.

Q: "How do you think the offensive players are responding to the new things Coach (Al) Borges is introducing?

TT: "Coach Borges does a great job explaining it to us - how to do stuff. And, our position coaches as well. If we keep practicing it and keep focused, we'll do well."

Q: Some of the linemen commented previously that this spring practice is more physical than others. What is your opinion?

TT: "I feel like we've been very physical. We are trying to make a statement that we are a physical team and we won't back down from anybody."

Defensive back Maurice McKnight

Q: How would you describe the work of the secondary this spring?

MM: "We picked up where we left off. We've been competing hard. We want to keep the same intensity we left off with (from last season), stay together and play as one."

Q: In a broader view, how do you feel the defense is progressing the first part of spring ball?

MM: "This is our second year in the system, so everyone has a good idea. We're playing faster, because we know what we're doing and we have a better understanding of what we're doing."

Q: What do you feel about the secondary's experience with three returning starters and a lot of guys back?

MM: "(Coach) Donte (Williams) did a good job preparing everybody. Everybody should know what we're doing. He is emphasizing we need to be as one."

Q: Since this is your second spring, do you have a greater comfort level?

MM: "I know exactly what I am supposed to do and what everybody on the defense is supposed to do. That helps me out a lot."

Q & A archive:

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

March 8 - Offensive tackle Wes Schweitzer, linebacker Christian Tago.

March 9 - Special teams coordinator Dan Ferrigno, wide receiver Hansell Wilson, defensive tackle Tony Popovich.