SAN JOSE -- Defensive back Damon Ogburn Jr. and linebacker Christian Tago appear ready to return to the San Jose State lineup for Saturday's game against Stanford.

"They look good," coach Ron Caragher said.

Both players missed the season opener against Sacramento State with hamstring injuries but both took the bulk of first-team repetitions at Wednesday's practice.

Ogburn, originally slated to play safety this season, worked at right cornerback with the starting defense and also returned kicks. Tago was beside Keith Smith as a first-team middle linebacker.

Caragher is reluctant to speak about injuries and never places timetables on when a player will return, so it had been unclear how long either player would be sidelined.

"I never want to label or limit something," Caragher said. "It's always comes from mind over matter. Maybe it's the psychologist in me. Mind over matter wins out. I'm a believer in that. That's why I never want to label a guy, 'Well, you're out three weeks; sorry, check back in three weeks.'

"I have all due respect to the medical profession, but if you're mind is right and you're determined to come back, you can transcend those limitations and barriers placed in front of you."

  • The Spartans seem to be using a high amount of starters on their special teams units. For example, star receiver Noel Grigsby is slated to be the Spartans' primary punt returner in place of Tyler Ervin -- SJSU's starting running back who was injured against Sacramento State.


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    Jason Simpson, who will start at running back in Ervin's place, is a personal protector on the punt team. Nearly every starter has some special teams role.

    "I think it's good for starters to be on at least one special team," Caragher said. "Special teams is not secondary to offense and defense. I have an emphasis. I'd rather a player, if you're tired, you take a rep off offensively or defensively. You don't pull yourself out of special teams."

  • Offensive coordinator Jimmie Dougherty talked about the deep shots his team took with regularity against Sacramento State. The aggressive play led to quarterback David Fales completing a career-low 50 percent of his passes.

    "We weren't necessarily planning on taking that many shots but they dictated that by loading the box and playing a lot of man coverage," Dougherty said. "I'd do it exactly the same if I had to do it over. I believe in our wide outs and our quarterback and being aggressive and if people want to come up and jam us at the line of scrimmage, to go after it."

    While the offense didn't showcase its 'A' game, it was a satisfying enough performance in a season-opening win.

    "Would we have liked to score 50 points? Yes," Dougherty said. "But at the end of the day you take a win -- especially in the opener -- and you move on from it and keep getting better."

    Follow Jimmy Durkin on Twitter at twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.