San Jose State Coach Brent Brennan Talks Upcoming Game Vs. Nevada
First-year head coach Brent Brennan looks back on the San Diego State loss and looks forward to the Spartans’ trip to Reno.
What’s next for San Jose State? Head coach Brent Brennan has some thoughts.
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Well, it was another painful loss for the Spartans, who have lost their last eight games and haven’t won a game since September 2 against the Cal Poly Mustangs. Sure, Spartans head coach Brent Brennan is a first-year coach, but there’s not a lot of excuses left for the team’s struggles.
Here are the five questions that I asked Brennan.
1. How would you describe the plays that are called by coach Derrick Odum on defense?
I think Coach [Derrick] Odum has us in our good position a lot of the times… Some of the personnel challenges we’ve had with some of the people we’ve lost has made it harder to play the kind of defense we want to play. But Coach Odum and Coach [Will] Harris… and all of those guys are working hard to put together a plan with the personnel we have to give us a chance to stop others.
2. What are some things you could do to help the Spartans avoid getting penalized at important moments in the game?
We work really hard on that. We’ve seen real improvements since the Hawaii game. So that’s something I feel is much better than where it was than a month ago. That’s part of a young team—a team that’s just struggling trying to do everything they can. You’ve seen the offensive lineman jump offsides. He’s jumping offsides because he thinks he has to go faster and try to block the guy… We build a bunch of disciplinary stuff in our practice environment… We’ve seen some benefits in that the last two weeks… So I think that’s trending in the right direction.
3. How can the Spartan defense force more punting situations?
We got to stop them… That was hard for Saturday night. That [San Diego State] program has been competitors in the building… That’s a CSU program that we would love to be like. They win consistently, go to bowl games and graduate. Their kids are doing the right things… Those are guys that we have real respect for. For our defense, they’ve been fighting their tails off, but they need to be in the right gap and make the tackles or else they’ll turn into the big plays that really hurt us.
4. How important is it for the Spartan defense to come up with more turnovers that can lead to points?
It’s really important. And there hasn’t been enough of that. And on the flip side, there has been too much on offense. Some of that is our young quarterback, our young players get the spots but, like I mentioned the other night after the game, Tre Walker was trying to make a play, trying to gain a couple of extra yards, but it resulted in a fumble. But obviously, it was a huge stress point for our defense. They practice it every day—turnover emphasis, all these things—and hopefully they’ll get better.
5. Both the Spartans and Wolf Pack have just one win so far this season. How could San Jose State increase their hope on their side of the field?
We just need to play, and play better, and some of that comes from making sure that we’re executing at a high level, but the biggest part of that is… That turnover margin. We’ve been just awful in that regard. That’s something that Coach [Dick] Tomey reminds me of every week when I talk to him. And he’s right, so we’re trying to put stuff into our practice environment to help our guys focus on creating turnovers or protecting the football. But I think that’s the biggest piece—we need to go up there and handle the trip and we need to make sure when it comes time to play, we’re emotionally ready to play and we’ll focus on protecting the football.
The Spartans (1-9) visit the Nevada Wolf Pack (1-8) Saturday afternoon at 1:00 PM PST on ESPN3.