The San Jose State University football team added its next building block to its preseason puzzle with its first practice in full pads to close out the weekend. The Spartans split their practice time between their practice field and a warm CEFCU Stadium once the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic women's tennis championship final in doubles began.
One position group that will have a new look this year is the offensive line. Four starters completed their eligibility last year with guards Jeremiah Kolone, now with the Los Angeles Rams, and Chris Gonzalez, very recently signed by the San Francisco 49ers, pursuing professional careers.
That's where senior Jake Colman factors into the Spartan plans for 2018. The Ventura College transfer started at right tackle in the Nevada game near the end of the season and was a contributing reserve. Since spring practice, he's doing everything possible to be the starting left guard when the season begins on August 30 against UC Davis.
"Last year, I was playing right tackle. This year, I switched to left guard. There are a lot of technical differences (between the two positions). It's been a lot of fun. It's playing next to Troy (Kowalski.)... We like to get some movement on our double teams," Colman said.
He described the opening week of practice as a lot of work both from new offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven and his position coach, Joe Bernardi. Now with a year's experience, he also wants to establish himself as a team leader. Of the team's 17 offensive linemen, he is the only senior.
"I want to start at left guard. That's my plan. I want to establish myself as a leader. I like to lead by example. I want to lead with my hard work and my dedication. Also, obviously, we're looking forward to making it to a bowl game this year," said Colman.
One of the players he sees a lot on the opposite side of the field is linebacker Ethan Aguayo. Now in his third season, Aguayo is the top returning tackler from the 2017 team with 84 tackles. He actually was the national leader in tackles per game after the Cal Poly win.
For Aguayo, it's not the individual achievement that is primary to him, but the team concept.
"We're trying to get everyone bought in to what we are doing here. We're all trying to fly to the ball as a defense. That's the main goal -- effort. We can control effort 100 percent of the time," said Aguayo, who has 19 starts over the last two seasons.
The Spartans have practices scheduled August 6, 7, 9 and 10 during the week starting at 10:00 a.m. There is a Saturday, August 11 scrimmage on the practice field beginning at 5:00 p.m. followed by the first "Movie Night" in CEFCU Stadium. "Little Giants" is the feature film. There is no charge to watch the scrimmage and $5.00 fee for Movie Night for adults not yet members of the new Shield 365 donation program.