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SJSU football team prepares for intrasquad Spring Game Saturday

SAN JOSE, Calif. - As the Bay Area sports world focuses on the NFL draft, some San Jose State University football players, hoping to one day turn pro, are working the basics this weekend.

The team completed its 15th practice on Thursday, and now is preparing for its annual Spring Game, at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"I’m really looking forward to our offense, honestly. I think it has the potential to be really explosive," said senior wide receiver Nick Nash.

The Spartans have a new offense and are under the direction of new head coach Ken Niumatalolo. He spent the previous 25 years at the Naval Academy, becoming the winningest coach in that program’s history. Now, "Coach Ken" looks to rebuild a barely-above-500 team a year ago, through the college transfer portal. San Jose lost seven of its players to bigger schools such as Arizona and Washington.

"It’s a part of the game. You gotta navigate it. Do the best you can to construct a roster," said Niumatalolo, as he stood on the team’s practice field directly behind CEFCU Stadium. "There’s a lot to sell here. And that’s been our message. Focus on ourselves, our culture. And we’ll do the best with what we have."

At Thursday’s practice, the 80-member roster was broken down by position. QBs and wideouts in one corner, running backs in another. Offensive players wore blue jerseys and defensive players wore white.

 "There’s a lot to sell here. And that’s been our message. Focus on ourselves, our culture. And we’ll do the best with what we have." – Ken Niumatalolo, SJSU head football coach

The two-and-a-half-hour workout was a chance for third-year defensive back Michael Dansby to make an impression and cement a starting role.

"I just told myself I’m gonna stick through the spring, I’m gonna see what he’s talking about. And it went smooth. So yeah, coach’s staff, coaches change was good…no portal for me," said Dansby, as he stood in the brilliant sunshine.

The Spartans went 4-and-1 in the last five games last season but missed a bowl bid because of an ill-fated coin-flip. Coaches and players are hopeful a strong spring will translate into momentum leading into their season opener against Sac State.

"I’m really excited for this team, and where we’re going. There have been some bumps in spring ball. But I think we’ve really pulled it together this last couple of weeks. And I’m honestly really excited about the culture we have here," said Nash.

The Spartans Spring Game is at CEFCU Stadium in San Jose.

Jesse Gary is a news and sports reporter, and a sports anchor, based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on the X platform (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv