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Spartans look to climb in WAC


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POSTED: Monday, August 24, 2009

San Jose State coach Dick Tomey had to learn to do with less over the last few years.

Falling short of the NCAA's requirements under the Academic Progress Rate left the program without its full complement of scholarships and practice dates for spring ball. Those have since been restored as the scores improved.

Now after hanging around the middle of the WAC the past three years, Tomey has the program aiming for higher goals this season.

; “;In the last three years we have a trajectory that's unmistakably positive,”; Tomey said. “;Has it been good enough for me? No. Because we let too many games get away when we had a great opportunity.”;

Strengths

Defensive end Carl Ihenacho ranked among the nation's leaders in tackles for losses before being slowed by a dislocated thumb late in the season. Playing through the injury, he still finished with seven sacks and 18 1/2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

His brother, Duke, was an All-WAC first-team selection as a rover and finished tied for the league lead with five interceptions.

Quarterback Kyle Reed returns from injury to lead an offense that sputtered after he suffered a season-ending injury. The Spartans also welcome back receiver Kevin Jurovich, an All-WAC performer in 2007 who sat out most of last season due to illness.

Weaknesses

The defensive front must replace WAC co-Defensive Player of the Year Jarron Gilbert. A schedule that begins with USC, Utah and Stanford could take a toll early on.