Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Summer Filler #2: San Jose State

Is it possible to hype up a team that went 1-12 last year without sounding bored or obligated to do so? I don't know, but I'm about to give it a shot.

San Jose State Spartans


You know those "motivational" posters you occasionally see in office cubicles featuring the phrase "Just Hang in There!" next to a kitten dangling on a tree branch? Well Mike McIntyre slummed his way through a "'Just Hang in There' kitten poster" kind of season in his first year in San Jose, failing to beat a single FBS opponent and even managing to lose to an FCS team along the way.

Offense

Scoring: 16.1 ppg (115th)
Rushing: 78.5 ypg (119th)
Passing: 236.5 ypg (45th)
Total: 315.1 ypg (101st)
1st Downs: 15.6 pg (114th)
3rd Downs Converted: 26.0% (120th)
Red Zone Conversions: 78.8% (86th)

Defense

Scoring: 34.7 ppg (t-104th)
Rushing: 203.2 ypg (104th)
Passing: 260.5 ypg (111th)
Total: 463.7 ypg (117th)
Sacks: 24.0 (t-65th)
Tackles for Loss: 68.0 (t-76th)
Turnover Margin: -7 (t-98th)

Special Teams

Touchbacks: 8 (t-63rd)
Kickoff Returns: 21.1 ypr (t-76th)
Punts: 40.5 ypp (t-72nd)
Punt Returns: 8.33 ypr (59th)

Some Numbers to Ponder: 14 - number of tackles for loss by Keith Smith, the most all-time by a freshman linebacker; 8.9 - average tackles per game for Smith, the most of any freshman in the country; 32 - number of games which have transpired since the last time the Spartans beat a team that finished the season at .500 or better (Hawai'i in 2008).

In the last decade, the gulf between "have" and "have-not" in the WAC has been one of the biggest discrepancies you'll find in any football conference in the country. On one hand, both of Boise State's Fiesta Bowl seasons stand as testaments to the heights that non-AQ programs can hope to reach with the right pieces in place. But at the other end of the spectrum, when WAC football is bad, it's really bad. Horrifically, stupendously, hilariously bad. Tommy Wiseau bad, even.


Enter the 2010 Spartans. Pretty much the only thing they did right with any kind of consistency was pass, but considering how frequently they played from behind and were no doubt forced to throw, that probably doesn't say much. There just isn't much statistically speaking that stands out about this team in a positive way. They couldn't generate much offense when they had the ball, and they couldn't stop much of anything when they didn't have it. This was a team that was forced by numerous injuries to play lots of young players, and when coupled with a first-year coach and a non-conference schedule that only Cary Groth would seek to emulate, their struggles didn't surprise anyone.

The only upside to experiencing what the Spartans weathered last year is how much it no doubt toughened up the players who lived through it. 1-12 seasons force players like the aforementioned Smith or wide receiver Noel Grigsby to rise to the top and take control of the team heading forward. Truth be told, the Spartans return a lot of starters and have very little to replace heading into 2011. Quarterback Jordan La Secla, wide receiver Jalal Beauchman and a couple of offensive linemen are the only departing players of note -- all the defensive and special teams starters from their last game will be back, and there's usually something to be said for that kind of carryover from one year to the next.

Tune in next week when Summer Fillers profiles the Fighting Bell Ringers of Texas Tech.

1 comment:

Jim Philips said...

I dont' know how they did it. but it is a pity there were a lot people on Hostpph.com that they were with them.