After three days of dividing the team into two groups, San Jose State University football coach Ron Caragher had the Spartans practice together for the first time at its August 4 practice. That step was the next one as the team prepares for the 2014 season and the August 28 opener against North Dakota.
"It was our first practice collectively. Real excited to get the whole team together & united. It was our first practice collectively as a team practicing as one unit. There was a lot of fun, a lot of energy," said Caragher whose first three practice days lasted more than four hours in the afternoon.
The August 4 practice was the second for the Spartans in helmets and shoulder pads. Again, the defense caught Caragher's eyes for their energy, excitement and execution.
"The defense did a nice job creating turnovers - whether breaking up passes, interceptions or fumble recoveries. I was pleased with that. We had a real energized 9-on-7 period. All in all, it is an exciting time getting a good look at some of our San Jose State future stars. Some of them definitely showed up today," the Spartans head coach said.
"You want those guys to play with passion, energy and as a unit. I'm seeing some good strides. We still have a ways to go, but I'm encouraged with what I see so far."
The tempo changes on August 5 as San Jose State has its first practice in full pads leading to the team's first scrimmage on Saturday, August 9 on the newly-turfed practice field.
"The first practice of full gear and that means it gets a little more physical. That notch gets dialed up. I think the guys will be energized and enthused. That's what we want - every practice we step foot on the field we want to have that enthusiasm, because that is how to play the game," Caragher stated about what he wants to see from the Spartans.
"What a blessing. We have a great grass field. It's nice. It's great for our players to play on the cushion of natural grass. We love our stadium turf, but this is a nice alternative, a change up to be able to come out here. The space we have is two 100-yard grass fields. It's a tremendous benefit to our football program. We're thankful to our administration, to Gene Bleymaier and the campus, for providing this football grass practice field."
NOTES: Former Spartans Jeff Garcia and Ronnie Yell are making news in the Canadian Football League. Garcia, who began his professional career with the Calgary Stampeders, joined the Montreal Alouettes as its new quarterbacks coach... Yell, a starter on the Spartans' Military Bowl winning team in 2012, was named the CFL Defensive Player of the Week leading the B.C. Lions to a 25-24 win over Calgary. Yell came up with his first career interception and returned it for a touchdown, forced a fumble and made a pair of special teams tackles... ESPN.com picked LeRoy Zimmerman's 1939 All-America season as the best in school history as part of its feature "The Season: The best at every school." The all-everything fullback led the Spartans to a 13-0 record and was tops on the team in rushing, passing, scoring, interceptions and punting... The movie "When The Game Stands Tall" based on the high school coaching career of San Jose State Sports Hall of Famer Bob Ladouceur is due out for a nationwide release on August 22.