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Otten on path to stardom?

Del Oro grad impresses former NFL all-pro Cosbie as Spartans brace for No. 1 Alabama
By: Ray Hacke Journal Correspondent
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He’s only a sophomore, but some folks think San Jose State football player Ryan Otten already looks like a pro. That pro just happens to be the Del Oro High grad’s mentor. Otten spent the summer of 2009 working out with Doug Cosbie, who played Otten’s position – tight end – for the Dallas Cowboys from 1979 to 1988 and was selected to three Pro Bowls. The two worked together on footwork, route running and the mental approach to the game. “I think it’s awesome,” Otten said of learning from a former NFL standout. “I had an opportunity that not too many people have because he lives in my area.” SJSU running backs coach Terry Malley played with Cosbie during the 1970s at Santa Clara University and before joining the Spartans’ coaching staff, suggested to Otten that he arrange to work out with Cosbie. “(Malley) told me he was a good guy to model my game after,” Otten said. Malley said comparisons between the two tight ends are uncanny. “Both are similar body structure-wise, in the 6-(foot)-6 range,” Malley said. “They’re both very athletic. They’re both very intelligent. They’re both very good pass catchers and have a good understanding of the passing game. They both have the ability to run good routes. “And they’re both in the position of having to gain weight during college. Doug did a good job of that, and I think Ryan’s doing a good job of that now. They have very similar personalities – they’re both good students and good people. They have so many similarities, it’s almost like taking you back in time.” Cosbie would disagree with Malley in one regard – he believes Otten is actually further along in his development. “He was a lot better in high school than I was,” Cosbie recently told the San Jose Mercury News. “We have similar skills, but physically he’s a lot further along. He has great athletic instincts.” Otten didn’t have many opportunities to showcase what he learned from Cosbie last season. Though he started in all 12 of San Jose State’s games, he caught just 10 passes, none for longer than 14 yards, and scored no touchdowns. He did, however, catch three passes for 92 yards and two TDs in SJSU’s Spring Game earlier this year. With first-year coach Mike MacIntyre at the Spartans’ helm this season, Otten expects to play a bigger role in SJSU’s offense – starting with the team’s season opener on Saturday against No. 1-ranked Alabama, the reigning NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision champion. “We plan to use the running game a little more often, which should open things up for the passing game,” Otten said. “In that sense, I should get the ball a little more often.” Otten got to test himself against two of college football’s best teams – USC and Utah – last season and will face even more powerhouses this year as the Spartans attempt to improve on last year’s dismal 2-10 record (1-6 Western Athletic Conference). “Last year USC and Utah were my first two games, and I got thrown into the fire a little bit,” he said. “I just tried to learn on the run, and that helped me get ready this year for our games at Alabama, Wisconsin and Utah. “We’ll find out where we’re at real quick. We’ll see how far we’ve come since last season when we go up against programs that have been proven winners for a real long time. It’ll be a good measuring stick.”