After three days, the San Jose State University football team practiced as a complete 100-plus-player team for the first time during fall drills on its practice field.
According to head coach Brent Brennan, he thought the defense had the upper hand on the offense, at least for the first day.
"Bringing the whole team together today brought a whole different type of energy. Obviously, when you ad 40-something guys to your roster, it's going to change the way things feel," said the Spartans head coach. "It was great. It got very competitive, guys flying around making plays.
"The defense had an outstanding day today. I'm encouraged."
Wide receiver Bailey Gaither, whose 14.5 yards per catch average was tops among all Spartans with at least 20 receptions last season, stood up for the offense more in a big picture context after practice.
"We've gone over a lot of stuff. We had a good summer. We've had the same OC (Coach Kevin McGiven) since spring. Being able to put a transition from spring to summer to fall, it's gone well. We have a lot of vets. Having these new guys, it will be an easier transition for them since we can be the ones setting the foundation for them," said Gaither, whose four touchdown receptions was tops on the 2017 Spartans.
Senior defensive lineman Sailosi Latu is expected to be a part of an improved defensive unit. Latu was a community college transfer last year and made an impact starting 12 of 13 games and finished with 43 tackles. As a returning starter, in some respects he is taking on a leadership role especially with the significant influx of Polynesian players on this year's team.
"I want to make sure they are welcome. When I came in (in 2017), there were just a few of us, it was different, but I felt really welcomed," said the 327-pound native of Tonga. "What I did, I made sure all the Polynesian guys coming in felt welcomed, too. Also, it doesn't have to be just the Polynesian group. I want everyone to feel the welcome I felt (in 2017). I'll come in and talk with them, five minutes, even if it's a quick 20 seconds and shaking hands, it's all about the Spartan family."
"I like where we are going. I honestly have liked where we are going or where we are headed for the last seven, eight months. This team is intent on being better than we've been. They've put in more work than they've ever put in and they are holding each more accountable to a much higher level and a much higher standard."
The Spartans and the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic women's tennis tournament share the South Campus facilities one more day on Sunday, August 5. San Jose State has a 10:00 a.m. daily practice scheduled through Tuesday, August 7. The team will have a day off from practicing on Wednesday, August 8 and resume practicing August 9 at 10:00 a.m.
San Jose State's first weekend scrimmage of the preseason is Saturday, August 11, at 5:00 p.m. on the practice field. After the scrimmage, the Spartans host their premiere Movie Night in CEFCU Stadium starting at 7:00 p.m.