All-American Lowery can’t wait for UH game
SAN JOSE, Calif. » Dwight Lowery doesn't have to intercept a single pass this fall. He'd still be an All-American to San Jose State football coach Dick Tomey.
"(Lowery's value) has nothing to do with the interceptions or the way he plays on the field," Tomey said of the senior cornerback. "It's the serious practice habits and the way he competes and studies football and takes everything seriously. He made everyone better because of the way he approached the game."
Reporters covering the Western Athletic Conference voted Lowery as the WAC's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. He was one of the most popular interview subjects at the WAC Media Preview this week.
Lowery picked off nine passes last fall as the Spartans broke out with a 9-4 record in Tomey's second season at San Jose State. It will be hard to match that many interceptions, because only foolhardy quarterbacks will throw the ball in his direction often.
"You don't have to make interceptions to make plays," said Lowery, who was in on 48 tackles with three fumble recoveries in 2006. "(Allowing no catches is) No. 1 on the list."
The junior-college transfer came out of nowhere to get first-team All-America recognition from the Football Writers Association of America and the American Football Coaches Association.
He surprised everybody, including his own coach.
"A year ago he wasn't even in our program, comes in with no spring practice," said Tomey, noting that Lowery climbed the depth chart at a speed similar to Chris McAlister's when Tomey realized he had a future NFL star at Arizona.
Lowery was a safety at Cabrillo College and scored 25 touchdowns his senior year at Soquel (Calif.) High School. Safety and offense were good training for cornerback, he said.
"Safety you have to see the whole field. I saw all the routes and learned to read tendencies," he said. "Plus I was a quarterback in high school, so I know what goes on in an offensive player's head."
With 185 chiseled pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame, the WAC's preseason Defensive Player of the Year looks like he's ready to play right now. It wasn't that way a few weeks ago, as Lowery lost 11 pounds while his jaw was wired shut for seven weeks. The jaw was broken when he collided with running back Cameron Island during the second-to-last spring practice.
The painful injury -- which also caused two wisdom teeth to be pulled -- kept him from fully enjoying the Playboy All-America photo shoot.
"You don't realize how much food is involved at these social functions until you go to one with your jaw wired shut. I was not able to eat, barely able to talk," he said. "Doing my high heart rate workout stuff was hard because I could only get air through my nose, maybe a little through my teeth.
"Coach Tomey says when something bad happens to you it's all about how you respond to that crisis. That will define you as a man," he added. "The positive was because I couldn't talk, it gave me time to think."
He undoubtedly spent the time thinking of ways to be an even better player.
"He's always looking for some way to improve his game," San Jose State linebacker Matt Castelo said. "He does all the extra things. He makes our receivers better every day in practice, every down."
Lowery can't wait for the Oct. 12 game at Spartan Stadium against Hawaii and quarterback Colt Brennan, the WAC's Offensive Player of the Year. UH torched San Jose State 54-17 last season.
"All of us got burned at Hawaii. Looking forward to it is an understatement. But if we're not at our best, we could get beat the same exact way," Lowery said.