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2003 PREVIEW: San Jose St. offense breakdown
Basically ... The offense should be one of the most explosive in America with a veteran quarterback throwing to an experienced receiving corps behind a big, strong line. The running game isn't used all that much, but the talent is there to move the ball on the ground.
of the offense: Senior QB Scott Rislov
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior OG Kevin Israel
Unsung star on the rise: Senior OG Justin Arrington
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Kendrick Starling
- Scott Rislov, Jr. - The former JUCO transfer had a huge season throwing for 3,251 yards and 22 touchdowns while completing over 61% of his passes. Very smart as a member of the WAC All-Academic team, he's a great decision maker. He's not a runner, but he has decent mobility in the pocket.
- Beau Pierce, Jr. - Pierce is bigger, stronger and has a better arm than Rislov. He's the holder for the kickers and a strong number two option.
- Danny Armstrong, Jr. - The former San Diego State quarterback will come to camp this fall pushing for time behind Rislov. He isn't the passer Rislov and Pierce are, but he's a little more mobile.
The Skinny: Rislov should have a huge season with knowledge of the offense and a loaded receiving corps to throw to. It'll be a shock if he isn't one of the top ten statistical quarterbacks in college football. Pierce and Armstrong are decent backups.
Quarterback Rating: 7.5
- .Lamar Ferguson, Jr. - The 5-5 Ferguson became a mighty mite on the ground leading the Spartans with 634 yards and eight touchdowns averaging five yards per carry. He's extremely quick and a decent receiver out of the backfield. After missing spring ball with a knee injury, the hope is that he'll be back to new by the start of the season.
- Damarcus Ingram, Sr. - Ingram offers the best mix of size and speed among the backs. He's the number one back coming out of spring ball, but he might move down the depth chart once Ferguson comes back. In only five games, Ingram ran for 209 yards averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
- Lance Martin, Jr. - At 212 pounds, Martin adds more power to the rushing mix averaging 6.1 yards per carry going for 249 yards and three touchdowns. He can play fullback if need be, but he's role will be at tailback with Ferguson coming off his knee problem.
- Ezekiel Staples, Soph. - Even though he's only 198 pounds, he's technically a fullback. He ran for 63 yards and a touchdown.
The Skinny: The backs are extremely effective for what the offense wants to do. Each of the top three returning backs average more than five yards per carry and each can carry the rushing workload. San Jose State will never try to win on the ground, but it has the backs to do so if needed. The rating is assuming Ferguson will be healthy.
Running Back Rating: 6
- Kendrick Starling, Jr. - Starling was great at finding ways to get into the end zone catching five touchdown passes. He's a big player with outstanding speed. After originally signing with Marshall, he became a JUCO superstar before joining the Spartans. Look for an All-WAC caliber season.
- Jamall Broussard, Jr. - Broussard doesn't have the overall talent Starling has, but he's been more productive leading the team with 62 catches for 681 yards and five touchdowns. Even though he's not necessarily a deep threat, he can get deep.
- Tuati Wooden, Sr. - Wooden was the team's fourth leading receiver making 35 catches for 539 yards and two touchdowns last year. He's not a No. 1 receiver, but he's a great complement to Broussard and Starling always finding ways to get open deep.
- Tight end Courtney Anderson, Jr. - The 6-7, 267-pound Anderson caught 13 passes and two touchdowns showing his ability to get open. He's a big blocker.
- Rufus Skillern, Soph. - After not catching a pass last season, he's expected to become an impact player behind Broussard. He's a big-time deep threat prospect.
- Clarence Cunningham, Jr. - The former running back moved over to receiver behind Starling. He has good open field moves and decent quickness.
- Casey Miranda, Jr. - The junior redshirted last year and worked his way up to the backup role this spring behind Wooden.
- Tight end Justin James, Soph. - He's 237 pounds and not as big as Anderson, but he's expected to be a decent pass catching option.
The Skinny: Even with the loss of Charles Pauley, this group should be really good. Starling is a rising star that should break out this season, while Wooden should be a great deep threat. In this offense, the numbers will always be there and will be spread out among the talented receivers.
Receiver Rating: 7
- Tackle Joseph Hayes, Sr. - Hayes can play guard or tackle. At 310 pounds, he's a mauling run blocker with the feet to play tackle. After missing time with an injury last year, he appears to be 100% this season. he might move back to guard at some point.
- Guard Kevin Israel, Sr. - Israel is a 310 player without the quickness of Hayes. He's better suited for center or guard starting on the right side.
- Center LaMons Walker, Sr. - Walker will get an extra year of eligibility after graduating this summer. He moved from tackle to center last year and was a reliable all-around player.
- Guard Justin Arrington, Sr. - Arrington has bulked up to 300 pounds and will be one of the rocks on the line. The former JUCO All-American could turn into the best player on the line.
- Tackle Jeff Gordon, Sr. - Gone is Tim Provost from the right side. Gordon moved over from the left to the right tackle spot after this spring to allow Hayes to move to tackle.
- OG Eric Olson, Jr. - At 315 pounds, Olson is one of the team's biggest offensive linemen and will push for time at right guard.
- C Matt Cantu, RFr. - The 325-pound Cantu is one of the rising stars on the line. He'll back up Walker at center and can play guard if need be.
The Skinny: There will be some jockeying at the positions all season long depending on how the guards produce. Hayes could move back to guard if there are problems. Overall, this is a good WAC line with size and experience.
Offensive Line Rating: 5