Ryan Otten Interview
TE / San Jose State / Sr.

Updated - 7-15-12

By: Alex Kozora


Alex Kozora:  What are your measurables (height, weight and 40 time)?
Ryan Otten:  I’m 6’6, 240 pounds and I have no idea what my 40 time is.  I haven’t run one in awhile.


Alex Kozora:  What made you commit to the Spartans?
Ryan Otten:  San Jose was one of the only schools coming out of high school that gave me an opportunity and offered me a scholarship.  It was between here and a couple DI-AA schools.  It came down to here or going to play for the Air Force Academy.  I decided that I wanted to stay a little closer to home.

Alex Kozora:
You’re from California, right?
Ryan Otten
:  Yeah, I’m from the Sacramento area.


Alex Kozora:  You were just named to the John Mackey Award watch list.  Are you excited about that or do you tend to not pay attention to those types of things?

Ryan Otten:  I’m excited about it.  It’s cool.  But I’m more focused on trying to win and go to a bowl game this year because I haven’t been to one.  I’d definitely take a winning season and going to a bowl game over any individual awards.


Alex Kozora:  Aside from being healthy, what do you attribute to your breakout season in 2011 (52 catches, 739 yards, 5 TDs)?
Ryan Otten
:  Like you said, I was healthy which was good.  The main reason was that I had a lot of talent around me.  We had really good receivers around me so I was able to get open.  I had a really good quarterback last year.  We also had a much-improved running game, so I think the talent around me helped me.


Alex Kozora:  What was your favorite game from this past year?  Was it the Hawaii game?
Ryan Otten
:  Personally, even though I didn’t do much in this game, it was the Fresno St game.  They are our biggest rivalry, and it is the first time that we beat them in 20 years.  So that’s my favorite moment of the year.  It’s a good way to go out.


Alex Kozora:  Take me back to your sophomore season.  How frustrating was it to watch from the sidelines for most of the season in a year that the team won just one game?
Ryan Otten:  It’s hard to have a losing season like that, but it’s even harder when you can’t do anything about it.  It was tough.  I felt kind of helpless on the sidelines watching the team struggle like they did.  There were a lot of games where I felt like I could have helped.  That was definitely a tough year.


Alex Kozora:  San Jose State won 5 games last season, two more than the past two seasons combined.  Were you happy with those results or has the team not met expectations yet?

Ryan Otten:  I’m definitely happy that we’ve made clear improvements.  That’s a good thing.  There were a couple of games last year where we felt like we should have had that we let slip away.   That was a little disappointing.  We felt like we were good enough last year to compete for the WAC championship and go to a bowl game, but we obviously fell a little short.  I’m really encouraged with how hard everyone fought last year.  We played to the end every time and gave it our all.  Some of those experiences in those close games where we came up a little short last year are definitely going to help us.  We did that at the end of the year too with two wins over two pretty good teams [Navy and Fresno St].


Alex Kozora:  What are your team and personal goals for 2012?  Can you top the numbers that you put up last year?

Ryan Otten:  I don’t care about the numbers.  I just want to do whatever is asked of me to help the team win.  Team goals, we have it in our minds is to win the WAC championship.  We feel like we can compete for it.  We want to go undefeated at home and want to go to a bowl game and win that bowl game.  We haven’t been to one since I’ve been here.  Next year they’re going to the Mountain West Conference, so our focus is to win the last WAC championship.


Alex Kozora:  You were statistically one of the best tight ends in college football.  Do you feel that you don’t get the credit you warrant because you’re at a smaller Division One school?

Ryan Otten:  I don’t get too caught up in national exposure.  I feel like I don’t get as much credit because we play in a smaller conference, but it’s not that big of a deal to me.  People who know football know about the things we’ve been able to do.


Alex Kozora:  What is your best attribute?

Ryan Otten:  Just my ability to find openings in the defense and catch balls.


Alex Kozora:  What area of your game are you trying to improve on?

Ryan Otten:  I’m always trying to improve my all-around game.  The biggest thing that I’ve been trying to work on is my footwork in the blocking game.  Trying to become better as a receiver as well.


Alex Kozora:  Are there any Spartan players that you expect to break out this season the way you did last year?

Ryan Otten:  We have a number of guys that can potentially do that.  Obviously, [receiver] Noel Grigsby has had a couple of really good years.  Some guys that could blow up this year: [receivers] Jabari Carr and Chandler Jones, [running backs] De’Leon Eskridge or David Freeman.   We got a lot of guys that can make plays for us.


Alex Kozora:  Are there any coaches or players during your time at San Jose State that have really helped you get to where you are today?

Ryan Otten:  Two guys.  One is my current tight ends coach, Coach Klayton Adams.  He came last spring and he’s helped me a lot.  Through last spring, through the season, and this year I feel like I’ve improved a lot.  I give a lot of credit to our strength and conditioning coach Dave Forman.   I feel like I’ve gotten a lot bigger, stronger, faster and more flexible since he’s been here.  I’ve stayed healthy after working with him, and I think that’s a big part of things he does.  We do a lot of things to try and keep our guys healthy.  You can see that last year we were much healthier than we’ve been.



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