Former DeSales, Idaho QB Lindgren rising in coaching ranks

November 21, 2012 

Brian Lindgren’s name is getting bandied about in Northwest football circles again.

The 1998 DeSales High School graduate and San Jose State University offensive coordinator has been linked to the University of Idaho head-coaching job.

Former Washington State University quarterback Jason Gesser took the Vandals job on an interim basis after Robb Akey was fired earlier this year.

“I would love to get back there someday,” Lindgren said by phone Wednesday. “It would be a great opportunity and something I’d definitely be interested in, but the focus down here is to finish out the season and try to get our 10th win. And worry about that stuff, see what happens with that next week.”

Lindgren, a 32-year-old Walla Walla native, is in his first year as offensive coordinator at San Jose State, helping lead the Spartans to a 9-2 record. They host Louisiana Tech at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in their regular-season finale. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Lindgren graduated from Idaho in 2004, and he still holds numerous passing records at the school.

He went on to get his master’s degree at Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, where he served as the offensive coordinator for three years.

His first year at San Jose State has been nothing short of remarkable. The Spartans are enjoying their best season since 1987, and Lindgren and quarterback David Fales are big reasons why.

“The question going into the season was we had some talented receivers -- could we get a quarterback to go with them?” Lindgren said. “David Fales has done a really good job as a first-year starter at the Division I level. I think he has exceeded our expectations. He has been really consistent, making great decisions and has been really accurate.”

Fales is the most accurate passer in the Football Bowl Subdivision, completing 72.6 percent of his passes.

The Spartans seek their first 10-win season since 1987. Two more wins would give San Jose State its most in 63 years. Not bad for a program that won one game in 2010.

“A lot of the work had been done before I had even gotten here, as far as the development and the changing of the program in the right direction,” Lindgren said. “They beat Fresno State last year and Navy. There was some excitement and buzz that carried over from those two games.”

Lindgren learned his offense while playing at Idaho under the tutelage of then-head coach Tom Cable and offensive coordinator Bret Ingalls, who now coaches with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.

“As a quarterback, what you like to do is throw the ball,” Lindgren said. “At middle school all the way through high school, we were a spread offense and we were throwing it around.

“At Idaho, I kind of learned a little bit more the importance of balance. I believe you have to be balanced now, but you have to play to your personnel.”

At Northern Arizona, Lindgren had a solid running back and a good line, so he geared his offense around that. This season, he has been blessed with Fales and a strong group of receivers and tight ends.

“I was a coordinator at a younger age, and I learned a lot on the run,” Lindgren said. “You learned a lot on trial and error. I learned a lot the hard way.”

Coaching was something Lindgren wanted to do from a young age. Those around him at DeSales figured one day he would be in this position, including middle school coach -- and present DeSales head coach -- Mike Spiess.

“I can still remember him standing next to me on the sidelines and saying, ‘Mr. Spiess, I think this route would be good,’ ” said Spiess, a longtime family friend. “And I’d watch and say, ‘Gosh, you are right,’ and we’d call it and ‘boom.’

“I would say he always had that in mind. He sees things so well.”

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