San Jose State University's first full football scrimmage of the preseason takes place Saturday, August 5. For offensive line coach Joe Bernardi, growth in a number of areas is important takeaway from the scrimmage.
"I'm really excited to watch the guys play. The coaches will be off the field. There's nobody to help them on the field. I just want to see them play with a great attitude, great effort, great intensity and see them grow together as a group more than they have," says Bernardi, who wants versatile linemen capable of playing more than one position. He'll be looking to see how well the line can establish a running game.
One of the beneficiaries of solid offensive line play could be tailback Zamore Zigler. The sophomore speedster was one of the Spartans' long-distance threats from the running back position in 2016. Zigler had a pair of 70-plus yard touchdown runs as a redshirt freshman.
"I'm looking forward to the offensive line pushing the ball so I can get some good carries, get out of the backfield, and have a good yardage game -- me, `Bull' (Malike Roberson), all our tailbacks. Then, we're looking to open up the passing game," said Zigler, who describes the new AstroTurf in CEFCU Stadium as fast and smooth.
Linebacker Will Ossai will be doing his best to get the defense on top during the scrimmage scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. And he could be doing it in front of two of his brothers. His older brother, Onyeka Ossai, was a San Jose State linebacker during the 2001 through 2003 seasons. Younger brother Isaiah Ossai is a freshman who recently joined the team when preseason practice began.
"...I never anticipated it happening considering I am four years older than him, but that's what college does. It opens your doors for things to happen, experiences to happen. It's been a blessing in disguise," Ossai said about Isaiah enrolling at San Jose State to start his college career.
Free parking for the August 5 scrimmage is available in the Park & Ride Lot across the street from CEFCU Stadium. There is no charge to watch the scrimmage.
Tickets for all home games starting with the season opener against USF (South Florida) are available at (408) 924-SJTX or www.sjsuspartans.com/tickets.