SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Dwight Lowery walked around the facilities at San Jose State, drawing inspiration from his journey to the NFL.
The safety was a two-time All-American with the Spartans and holds the school record for most interceptions (nine) in a single season. He helped build the program and is doing the same with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are using the San Jose State facilities this week in preparation for Sunday’s game at Seattle.
Lowery played in the New Mexico Bowl during his junior season with the Spartans — a 20-12 victory over New Mexico — and made a contribution to the school’s football program for its apparel for last year’s 29-20 win over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl.
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On Thursday, in front of the Jaguars, San Jose State Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier presented Lowery with his own set of Military Bowl apparel in appreciation of the player’s generosity.
“D-Lo has done great things for this university,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. “They recognized him and it was great for the team to see that.”
Lowery said the Jaguars also are making significant progress toward a better future.
“It feels like a fresh start,” Lowery said. “Sometimes that’s what you need to build a program.”
Lowery recalled his days at Soquel High, in nearby Santa Cruz, and at Cabrillo College, in Aptos, where he also helped shaped the future of those football programs.
“When I’m here, it reminds me what I’ve been through and what got me here,” Lowery said. “It’s still a source of inspiration. Now, with the Jaguars, we’re able to build again. I relish being a part of that.”
In his sixth year in the NFL, and third with the Jaguars, Lowery has re-established his own career.
“It’s a great experience to go out and compete every day to get better,” Lowery said. “That’s all we can control. It comes down to when we want to be great, we will be great. We’re developing a lot of things that the fan doesn’t see, things in the locker room that are helping us get better. We’re not there yet but it will translate to the field eventually.”
The Jaguars are learning a new defense this season under Bradley, the former defensive coordinator with the Seahawks. It’s beginning to take shape.
“When you can let your instincts take over and play without thinking, that’s when you’re good,” Lowery said. “This is what this defense is doing.”
Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, who also coached with the Seahawks, sees a lot of Pete Carroll in Bradley.
“His passion, his energy and his focus on the process, that’s similar,” Fisch said. “It was a gradual process in Seattle. This the fourth or fifth year that defense has been together and they’ve done a great job of building talent and now they are playing really good football.”
Fisch said the biggest challenge will be up front.
“We have to win the battles,” he said. “We have to block their pass rushers so we can run the football and have success with balance.”
The Jaguars may be without running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who was held out of practice again on Thursday while he recovers from an ankle sprain.
“We need to get the swelling down,” Bradley said. “It still bothers me. The swelling is causing the pain. We’d like to have him 100 percent.”
NOTES: If Drew-Jones is unable to go Sunday, Bradley said Jordan Todman would get the start and Justin Forsett would also see action. “We’d have to make adjustments in special teams,” Bradley said. … QB Blaine Gabbert tested his hand injury after some of the stitches were removed but was limited with his reps. Bradley said it’s “highly unlikely” he will play Sunday. … CB Alan Ball (groin) did not practice but still has a chance to play this week. Jamell Fleming would see increased playing time should Ball be unavailable. … TE Marcedes Lewis was limited in practice.