Linebacker Alex Manigo picked up a fumble and raced 52 yards for a touchdown highlighting the defense's strong play in the first preseason scrimmage for the San Jose State University football team.
The defense came up with a second fumble recovery by linebacker Jared Leaf, six quarterback sacks and did not allow an offensive score in the 2-minute drill portion of the 67-play scrimmage.
"They came out very physical, very active and very aggressive from the start. I was very pleased to see that. They put good pressure on the quarterback. They created some fumbles and turnovers, one scoop and score. It was exciting to see that. They're playing well as a unit," said San Jose State head coach Ron Caragher about the defense that yielded only 246 yards and was charged with just one penalty that did not figure in the offense's scoring. "We're going to need that in the 2015 season.
"They made a big jump in this scrimmage from a week ago."
OFFENSE FINDS PAY DIRT THREE TIMES
Tight end LeVander Moore caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Love and running back Darrion Hancock scored on runs on runs of 20 and 4 yards for the three offensive touchdowns. Hancock's two scores came in the red-zone segment of the scrimmage.
`I see it as a chance to give some guys opportunities to compete and play and see what they can do. It was a great learning experience. You'd rather work out the kinks early to mid-August so you're a well-oiled machine as you hit September for the games," the Spartans coach stated.
Senior Joe Gray and junior college transfer Kenny Potter both worked at quarterback with the first offensive unit in the scrimmage. Gray was calling signals for Hancock's two scoring runs and was 11-of-15 for 99 yards. Potter was 4-of-9 for 14 yards. Neither quarterback threw an interception.
"There were some missed opportunities. We had the receivers make some good plays. There were some good throws. The run game seemed to hit, but some plays were called back. I liked that the officials were aggressive in calling penalties. That's how we learn our lessons," added Caragher. The offense was called for six penalties and one holding penalty negated a 60-yard scoring burst by Thomas Tucker.
Caragher also pointed out freshman kicker Bryce Crawford had a good night with a pair of PAT's and making all five of his field goal attempts before and during the scrimmage.
SCHOLARSHIPS HANDED OUT
Following the scrimmage, Caragher announced to the team that defensive ends Mikal Berry and Nick Oreglia, quarterback Mitch Ravizza and offensive lineman Michael Talafus would be placed on scholarship.
"When he called my name, I thought he was asking a question about the (inspirational) quote we talked about last night. When he finally said it at the end, it was a blessing," said Berry who began his San Jose State career in 2013 as a tight end prospect.
"I've gone through a lot of obstacles the last three years. I was an offensive guard. Then, I got moved to defensive tackle when Coach Jones became the defensive line coach. And, then to defensive end. I was pretty confused where I was on the depth chart," said Oreglia, who set the tone for the defense early tackling top running back Tyler Ervin for a 3-yard loss on the first running play of the scrimmage.
"Constantly getting moved and people getting put ahead of me on the depth chart, it was tough to stay strong, not knowing if I'm ever going to play or getting a chance. I had a pretty good spring and I knew something good was going to come. I just kept grinding."
The 280-pound fourth year junior who was named one of the team's Scout Team Players of the Year in 2014 found out at the end of July that he would be a defensive end when fall practice began on August 4. And, most of his action in practice the first two weeks has been with the number-one defense.
"It's (defensive end) is a lot different from defensive tackle. I don't get double-teamed a lot. I have to cover sometimes the running back that is completely out of my norm. Sometimes, I have to contain the quarterback that is extremely difficult especially when you are going against a super fast guy. It's been a good transition and I'm loving it."
For Oreglia, a product of nearby Willow Glen High School, he's seen the attrition rate of non-scholarship players after three years and is aware very few walk-on stay with a squad for as many as five seasons. He credits his parents for motivating him to continue his college football career.
"It (grinding) paid off. I'm very lucky to have extremely supportive parents through all the obstacles I've been through. It's real cool to (eventually) help them," Oreglia said about the economic impact of being placed on scholarship.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Spartans return to practice Monday, August 17, with three days of afternoon practices. There is no practice on Thursday, August 20, the first day of instruction for the fall semester.
The annual Spartan Football Fan Fest in Spartan Stadium is Saturday, August 22, starting with a 4:00 p.m. scrimmage open to the public. After the scrimmage, fans will have an opportunity to take the field and meet the players and coaches.
Season, group and individual tickets to six home games are available by calling the Spartan Athletics Ticket Office at (408) 924-SJTX or by visiting sjsuspartans.com.
|Malik Roberson, 5-44||Joe Gray, 11-15-0-99 yards, 0 TDs||Thomas Tucker, 3-19|
|Darrion Hancock, 4-31, 2 TDs||Kenny Potter, 4-9-0-14 yards, 0 TDs||Hansell Wilson, 2-26|
|Thomas Tucker, 5-16||Malik Watson, 2-3-0-5 yards, 0 TDs||Tim Crawley, 2-14|
|Zamore Zigler, 3-12||Mitch Ravizza, 2-2-0-28 yards, 0 TDs||Bailey Gaither, 2-13|
|Tim Crawley, 1-4||Josh Love, 1-1-0-4, 1 TD||Brad Kuh, 2-12|
|Mitch Ravizza, 4-3||Tyler Ervin, 0-1-0-0, 0 TDs||Chris Kearney, 2-5|
|Kenny Potter, 3-3||Totals: 20-31-0-150 yards, 1 TD||Tyler Ervin, 2- (-3)|
|Ray Lomas, IV, 2-2||Punting||Jarrod Lawson, 1-23|
|Jarrod Lawson, 4-1||Michael Carrizosa, 5-47.2 yd. avg||Chris Dadson, 1-23|
|Tyler Ervin, 1- (-3)||Bryce Crawford, 2-45.5 avg.||Thai Cottrell, 1-5|
|Malik Watson, 1- (-6)||Kicking||Zamore Zigler, 1-5|
|Joe Gray, 3-(-11)||Austin Lopez, 1-1 PATs, 2-3 FGs||LeVander Moore, 1-4, 1 TD|
|Totals: 36 carries, 96 yards, 2 TDs||Bryce Crawford, 2-2 PATs, 5-5 FGs|