The Spartans pulled off an incredible 10-2 record in 2012.
1-12 to 5-7 to 10-2 and a No. 24 ranking. No, that's not my dream prediction for a Buffaloes turn around, that's the turn around that already happened at San Jose State in Mike MacIntyre's three seasons as head coach. He took over the Spartans program, leaving an assistant position at Duke, and faced a situation that many dubbed to be "unwinnable" (three winning seasons in the past 20 years) and won... quickly.
In 2012, the Spartans lost by three at Stanford in the opener. The Buffaloes lost by 48 to the Cardinal at home. They beat Colorado State at home by 20 points. The Buffaloes fell by five in Denver. In addition to Stanford, the Spartans only loss was to Gary Andersen's Utah State team in the first WAC game of the season. California's new head coach Sonny Dykes and his high-paced offense at Lousiana Tech? MacIntyre took then down 52-43.
Take a look at these two steps he took at San Jose State and tell me you don't get a little bit excited about how well of a fit this hiring might be...
The subsequent offseason of 2010-11 then allowed MacIntrye to implement two key master-plan moves. He realized his team needed to match up better physically with opponents. He was impressed with how Stanford had beefed up and become more powerful under coaches Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw. So MacIntyre reached out and hired Stanford's assistant conditioning coach, Dave Forman.
"I want us to look like a different football team when we get off the bus in 2012," MacIntyre told Forman, thinking two years ahead.
MacIntrye, meanwhile, organized a plan to have he or one of his assistant coaches meet and personally shake the hand of every single high school football coach in California. MacIntyre also organized "traveling San Jose State camps" at high school fields in San Diego, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Ontario and Sacramento. They were one-day clinics that cost $40 for players to attend -- but also served as evaluation sessions. The high school coaches were encouraged to send along any player they thought had college potential.
"California is like four states in one," MacIntyre said. "It was a way for us to spread the word about San Jose State. If we sign 20 players in a recruiting season, at least 17 or 20 of them have been at our camps."
A stronger, better conditioned team? A recruiting pipeline that stretches all over the State of California? Think the Buffaloes could use some help in those two areas?
|2012 SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS SCHEDULE|
|Fri, Aug 31||0-1 (0-0)|
|Sat, Sept 8||1-1 (0-0)|
|Sat, Sept 15||2-1 (0-0)|
|Sat, Sept 22||3-1 (0-0)|
|Sat, Sept 29||4-1 (0-0)|
|Sat, Oct 13||4-2 (0-1)|
|Sat, Oct 20||5-2 (1-1)|
|Sat, Oct 27||6-2 (2-1)|
|Sat, Nov 3||7-2 (3-1)|
|Sat, Nov 10||8-2 (4-1)|
|Sat, Nov 17||9-2 (4-1)|
|Sat, Nov 24||10-2 (5-1)|
When former San Jose State Athletic Director Tom Bowen interviewed MacIntyre in December of 2009, he tried to get to the bottom of MacIntyre's psyche.
"He wasn't afraid," Bowen said by telephone this week. "He wasn't fearful about confronting the challenges."
He''ll have plenty of challenges in Boulder and it sounds like he just might be the right guy to tackle them.
By Jon Woods