There’s not a lot of vacation time for a college football player.
Between spring ball, summer conditioning and the start of fall camp in August, athletes only enjoy a few months out of the year not dedicated to football.
It makes a six-day reprieve for the Fourth of July all the sweeter to Frank Ginda. The Pacheco grad and soon-to-be San Jose State sophomore plans to use the week to see as much of his family and friends as he can. It’s basically one final hurrah before Ginda embarks on a highly anticipated second season with the Spartans.
“I’m definitely excited for it, both personally and as a team,” Ginda said. “We’re coming off of a bowl victory and return most of our starters on both sides of the ball, so we’ve got high expectations. I had some success starting as a freshman at middle linebacker, and I feel like I can build on that this season.
“We’ve got new defensive coaches, so they’re going to use me slightly differently, but I think it’s a good fit for me. I’m going to be kind of a hybrid linebacker that could drop back into coverage or could rush the passer.”
Ginda shined as a freshman for the Spartans, finishing third on the team with 80 tackles. He added a sack, forced fumble and 4 1/2 tackles for a loss.
He has plans to top all of those numbers in 2016.
“I sat down with my linebacker coach and came up with goals that we both thought I was capable of hitting this year,” Ginda said. “I want to have 100 or more tackles, 15 or more tackles for a loss, six or more sacks, two or more interceptions and three or more forced fumbles.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the offseason working on getting stronger and faster. The coaches actually want me to play at 245, so I’ve put on a little weight, but I feel good out there. I’m playing fast and everything is coming a little more naturally after playing a season of D-I football.”
Pacheco coach David Snapp can attest to Ginda’s continued physical transformation. His former player makes a cameo at Panther practice every time he’s in town.
“I saw him the other day,” Snapp said. “Every time he comes home, he works out in the weight room and runs with the other guys. He was always a big kid in high school and loved the weight room, but he’s gotten even bigger.
“We were lucky enough to get out to a few spring practices, and I think this is going to be a big year for him. They’re running a 4-2-5 on defense now, and I think it really suits Frank. The defense in particular looked good. They play fast and are going to be fun to watch. I think it’s going to be a very good year for him and the team.”
San Jose State will open the season at Tulsa on Sept. 3. The Spartans’ first home game will be the following week when Portland State comes to town. Other big games on the schedule include a home game against Utah in Week 3, a trip to Iowa State in Week 4 and a game at Fresno State to close out the regular season.
“Going to Iowa State and taking on a Big 12 team will be great, but I’m really looking forward to the Utah game,” Ginda said. “It’s going to be at home, so we should have a huge crowd against a team that was in the top 25 last season. There’s definitely a lot to look forward to.
“I’m going to use this weekend to see old friends and spend some quality time with my family. My mom called and said she had the pool all ready for me. It’s a good time to get home and recharge the batteries a little bit before the season gets going.”
Five more to watch in 2016
Alec Barcellos, LB, Colorado Mesa
Barcellos played in two games and recorded two tackles for the Mavericks as a true freshman. With only three upper class linebackers on the roster, the opportunity is there for Barcellos to see an uptick in action.
Jabar Byrd, RB, Humboldt State
The Merced High grad only appeared in half of the Lumberjacks’ games, but made the most of his touches. He carried the ball 43 times for 270 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry, second on the team behind 2,300-yard back Ja’Quan Gardner.
Aundre Sherman, DB, Humboldt State
Sherman redshirted last season and has had a full year to learn the system. The good news is that no one in the Lumberjack defensive backfield has more than two years of varsity experience, possibly presenting an opportunity for the Buhach Colony alum to earn some playing time.
Tyrone Williams, QB, Azusa Pacific
Williams has had a year to get stronger, faster and learn the offensive system inside and out. The only thing that might hold the former Merced quarterback back is the fact that the two guys ahead of him on the depth chart a year ago both return.
Armando Gauger, DL, Southern Oregon
The former Atwater defensive lineman has played in back-to-back NAIA national title games. He played in all 13 games for the Raiders last season, recording 35 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks. Look for him to elevate his game heading into his junior campaign.