After being named head coach at San Jose State on Dec. 17, Ron Caragher stepped on the field as the top Spartan for the first time on Tuesday. How did he evaluate his new team's first practice?
"We anticipated a bunch of mistakes - offensively, defensively, terminology with the coaches, practice tempos - all those things, and we had that. We need to shore those things up, and I anticipated that. But we had the effort, and that's really the starting point. Having great effort and guys flying around trying to make plays. We definitely need to clean up. We have a long ways to go."
The Spartans beat the rest of their Mountain West Conference bunk-mates on the field by nearly a week. San Diego State and Fresno State start spring camp on Feb. 25, with Air Force opening up a day later. San Jose State will close camp on March 23, four days after Utah State opens their spring schedule.
"I love going early in spring practice. We can coach our guys earlier rather than wait another month. We as coaches love the game of football and it's great to get out on the field and do what we love doing."
Caragher inherits a team that returns 13 starters from a season that saw the Spartans finish 11-2 with a Military Bowl win and a first-ever appearance in the BCS Top 25. After a second place finish in the now-defunct WAC, the Spartans will begin play in the Mountain West this fall.
"Spring football is very important for finding out your identity. Who are you? What are your strengths? What are some areas you need to shore up? What can you and can not do as a football team from an execution standpoint? You don't want to be so hard-headed philosophically that you try to fit a square peg into a round hole. You want to go with your strengths."
Good advice for any head coach at a new school.