San Jose State’s new football coach, Mike MacIntyre, expects his team to be victorious. He just isn’t sure when the victories will begin. “I know we will win,” he says. “I don’t know when we’ll start, but I know it’s just a matter of time.”
The former Duke defensive coordinator might have to wait a couple weeks before getting that first win. The Spartans open the season by traveling to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama’s Crimson Tide, the No. 1 team in the nation. The so-called “body bag” game is followed by a game against Wisconsin, the No. 12 ranked team in the nation.
The rough start of the season will be a mental and physical challenge for the Spartans, but MacIntyre relishes the opportunity to test his team’s toughness. He says conditioning and toughness are cornerstones of his program and he wants his players to be the most physical squad on the field.
“We’re not there yet by any stretch of the imagination,” MacIntyre says, “but eventually I hope our program has that mentality.”
MacIntyre hopes to establish a ground game. Last year the Spartans were one of the worst rushing teams in Division I, and only two teams had fewer touchdowns than the Spartans. Nevertheless, MacIntyre is steadfast in establishing a power game.
“You have to be a little hard-headed,” he says. “That’s going to be a big part of our offense. We are going to be a team that can run the football.”
MacIntyre is also counting on wide receivers Jalal Beauchman and Josh Harrison to catch passes from the yet-to-be-named starting quarterback. Beauchman is a big body capable of winning a jump ball and Harrison is a speedster.Tight end Ryan Otten has good hands and should be a contributor.
All of the offensive weapons are relying on a strong offensive line—something that was painfully absent last season. Defensive tackle Pablo Garcia sees the biggest improvement this year on the line—offensive and defensive. “We’re going to step up our game,” Garcia promises.
The team is happy to have a different message from a new coach after a 2-10 season that saw 73-year-old head coach Dick Tomey retire. Tomey, the former Arizona legend,, was with the Spartans for five years and managed just one winning season. MacIntyre hopes to build a culture of winning that Tomey wasn’t able to, and that starts with recruiting.
“I honestly believe this is a gold mine,” he says. “There are only seven Division 1 schools in California and there are 1,048 high schools and 70 junior colleges that play football..”
MacIntyre says establishing a winning culture is a step-by-step process. “It’s an everyday thing that builds up,” he says, “and all the sudden it just starts happening.”