San Jose State University football head coach Ron Caragher was quick to single out the overall performance of the linebackers and defensive backs following the Spartans' second day of preseason workouts leading to the August 28 opener against the University of North Dakota.
"I complimented the defense. I saw the `back seven' put in that extra effort to strip the football or come up with a pass break-up by hustling and following all the way through. We've been emphasizing that and really encouraged defensively and compliment the `back seven' for the efforts they put forth," the second-year head coach said.
"I think the offense really picked it up in the area of ball security and using `four points of pressure'. We picked it up after a few costly center-quarterback exchanges and handoffs. Those things happen early in camp, but we definitely need to clean that up. I saw improvement there the second half of practice."
Caragher also elaborated on the learning curves for the new players, how some of the veteran players practicing with the newcomers are not far away from being with the top group and what it means individually and collectively. He also mentioned some of the more experienced players participated in both practice sessions.
"The young guys are still coming along and they are learning. You could see there was a little `paralysis through analysis.' They're slowed down and not playing as fast as we want. That will come," Caragher explained. He doesn't look at the second group as the disadvantaged, but one that needs to be ready to contribute when called on.
"This is very valuable in their learning experience to be able to get these quality reps and have our coaching staff coach them, 1-on-1, smaller numbers, better ratios. We will need them.
"I reminded them last night (August 1), the whole team, Tyler Winston was practicing with the second group last year. He kept working hard, hanging in there and competing. He ends up as the Mountain West Freshman of the Year. You never know when your number is called. You have to keep working and being ready.
"I told them this is not the JV's and the varsity by no means. We have starters that will be from the second group. We have certain individuals we think that maybe with a position change or getting good repetition we think it would be good for them to be in the second group.
"Some guys are going both practices and getting real good work in. I think they understand in the game of football you have to be ready. You have to be excited. I think our team is in good shape to be able to be enthusiastic and keep that high energy. Whether they are seniors in the second group, they still are working hard and they are getting after it."
The Spartans close out the weekend with an August 3 afternoon practice starting at 3:15 p.m. It is the final day of split practices.
Season tickets featuring the $299 (four reserved tickets & four Bill Walsh bobbleheads) 4-PACK for the Spartans' five games in Spartan Stadium are available and are on sale. Use the promo code 4pack.
Call 408-924-SJTX or visit www.sjsuspartans.com to order your tickets.