We spoke to San Jose State University's play-by-play man, Mike Chisholm, about the Spartans' 2010 team, new Coach Mike MacIntyre, the upcoming Alabama opener, Boise State's chances of going undefeated, and how San Jose wins--at least when it comes to having better weather.
Bleacher Report: Have you had a chance to see much of the SJSU team in the spring or early summer prep?
Mike Chisholm: Yeah. Things look good. Coach MacIntyre wants to run the ball, so we've been seeing a lot of the Pistol Formation, some shotgun runs, a lot of 1-back sets, and some H-back leads. If holes can be made...
BR: That's Question 2-Since Coach Mac will run more than (former) Coach (Dick) Tomey did—does SJSU have the players to make the transition to the different blocking schemes and offensive abilities a running game requires?
MC: Well, two good runners return in Lamon Muldrow and Brandon Rutley. Plus, we have a (University of Washington) transfer (and JUCO player) David Freeman. He's quite the talent.
Also, Coach MacIntyre will throw to the Tight End, which Coach Tomey never did. We've got a great TE in Ryan Otten, a guy with a long frame, a guy who can block and has the hands. I see him in the (former U. of Wyoming and Dallas Cowboy) Jay Novacek mold.
But yeah; blocking will be the key.
BR: Coach MacIntyre has a pretty good pedigree for a first-time coach, doesn't he?
MC: Absolutely. He talks all the time about his two biggest influences: Coach (David) Cutcliffe (Duke Head Coach--MacIntyre was the DC there before coming to SJSU) and Coach Parcells (Coach Mac was a defensive coach under him in the NFL). That's a great defensive background to have.
Especially since this team needs to improve defensively in the coming season. And Coach MacIntyre has completely changed the fitness regimen here, and that will reap benefits far down the road.
BR: What recruits do you see that point to Coach MacIntyre looking for defensive help, run blockers and RBs to fit his scheme?
MC: Right. Coach Mac is looking to build a program, not a team per se. Since California is rich with talent, he's been hitting the recruiting trail hard since he was hired in December. He and his staff have visited over 1,000 schools since then.
What he's looking for is athletes. Even now, the coaches are looking at players in different roles, places where they may fit better than they do now. Some players are even going to see some time on both sides of the ball--that means athletes that have the ability to play defense, for example, but still have 20 or so snaps on the offensive side of the ball.
BR: In your opinion, knowing that fall camp has yet to start, is (last year's starter and senior) Jordan La Secla going to be your starting quarterback?
MC: I honestly don't know, and I don't think the coaches know. All three quarterbacks took snaps with the first team in the Spring Game, and all three have different skill sets that can help the team. Besides Jordan, you have (Matt) Faulkner (a JUCO transfer) and (RS Freshman Dasmen) Stewart.
Stewart is a great athlete. He's 6'3", weighs over 200, and can really run. He's the type of quarterback you want running a system like the one Coach MacIntyre has put in place here. If he hits the corner on the run, he's gone.
BR: What will it take for the Spartans to turn around the 2-10 season you guys had a year ago?
MC: Like I said, we're looking for the long term, and last year was a difficult year. What I do know is how hard we work--coaches, players, staff, everybody. Being stronger and getting better athletes will bring great changes to the program, and that's what we're looking for long-term.
As I said, Coach MacIntyre is building a program, not a team.
BR: Will you guys be ready for Alabama?
MC: We'll do our best. And our early schedule is a killer. We play four ranked teams in our first seven games, including last year's National Champion. We face Wisconsin the week after we get you guys, then Utah two weeks after that. The only good news here is that we do face Boise at our place, and we usually play them tough here.
BR: Do you think Boise State will go undefeated this year?
MC: Undefeated? Probably. Everybody's got that Virginia Tech game circled. If they can win that one... The funny thing is--even in their Fiesta Bowl win years, they still had several close calls within the conference. Their win over SJSU in '06 was only 23-20, and that was on a last second field goal.
But yeah; Boise is incredible. As Coach Tomey used to say, "Boise does everything better than everyone else." And he's right.
BR: Can you tell 'Bama fans a little bit about the history of this program?
MC: Sure. It's a pretty old program (SJSU first fielded a team a year after Alabama did--1893). There was a time a few years back when San Jose sent several draft picks a year to the pros. There was success when the school was a member of the old Big West Conference; the team won more games in that conference than any other team at the time.
And the success in the '80s and '90s was due in large part to the program's use of JUCO players from the large talent pool that the California junior college programs provide.
The Spartans also went to a bowl game as recently as 2006.
BR: How's the weather in San Jose?
MC: Great! Weather here is mild, mid-70's; we always get a good breeze going being this close to the ocean.
BR: Nice. We have temps in the 90s with 90% humidity. It's like breathing through a sweat sock. Thanks for talking with us.
MC: You bet. See you in September.