Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com
By: Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE, Calif. — You know what they always say: “There’s always next year.”
That’s what Spartan nation said last year after head coach Brent Brennan’s lowly 2-11 (1-7 MW) record in 2017. But this year wasn’t much better. In fact, it was numerically worse than 2017, as we saw a hapless 1-11 (1-7 MW) record in 2018.
So what’s next for the Spartans? Only time will tell if the coaches on the coaching staff will be on the hot seats and if any players on the roster will request trades to other colleges.
But for now, let’s shift our attention to Brennan’s final press conference of the season in Simpkins Stadium Center on Monday afternoon. Here’s my Q&A with Brennan.
1. Last week, you said that the Spartans had to win the turnover battle to have a chance to beat Fresno State. The Spartans did that in both halves, but they fell short in the end. What went wrong in the loss?
I think when you’re playing a team like Fresno State, who is playing at such a high level and so mature, your margin for error is very slim and I think we made just too many mistakes in both offensive and defensive situations.
We came out at halftime behind 3-0 and we got the ball, so I was feeling great about how our players responded in that first half–rivalry game on the road and all that. I was really feeling great about how we were playing on defense. I knew we had to get something going on offense, and you saw us insert Chance LaChappelle a little bit–trying to give us a little bit of a spark in his running.
But I think what we found was that the team we were playing was better than us and it was that simple. We got our work cut out for us coming into this offseason to get into a place where we can finish those games in the fourth quarter next year that we didn’t finish this year.
2. Michael Carrillo had his first 300-yard passing game at the major college level in his final game as a Spartan. That was an incredible feat that I’m sure he’ll remember for years to come, but now, the seniors will be replaced, so what are a couple of things that you’re going to look for in future quarterbacks on the NLI Signing Dates?
We’re going to recruit quarterbacks in this class.
I think the good news is that we have Josh Love coming back. He played really well at times this year and we all saw a lot of growth in him and I’m really encouraged by that. He was able to throw the ball effectively. I think he did a really nice job pushing the ball down the field with some of those big throws that he completed.
And then, Chance LaChappelle. We had him run around for a little bit, so Chance is learning; and with that new redshirt rule, he wasn’t able to get out there since he was still technically a redshirt even though he played in the game.
Then, obviously, Montel (Aaron). Montel was working through his family thing and getting locked back into school and the team and all that stuff.
We’re heavily recruiting five or six quarterbacks, so I think that’s going to be an important position as we get into the next three weeks.
3. There were many defining moments this season, but what were your top five most memorable moments?
My top five most memorable moments? That’s a big question!
I’d say my first favorite moment was the locker room after the UNLV game. It was just incredible in there and just that feeling of seeing how those players felt winning that game. I thought that was just really, really special.
I think that the blocked field goal at Oregon was a big moment. I think that game was kind of a big moment because of how we responded. We were on the road against one of the toughest environments in the country to play in and we had just gotten beaten badly by Washington State on the road, so how our team responded was exciting.
I thought it was special on Senior Day. I was disappointed we didn’t get the win, but just seeing those players and their families and letting them know how much they meant to us and how much we cared about them, that was really special.
I think after Army, we came in here and met at 6:00 AM as a team and that was a big moment for us. Everybody was here, everybody was locked in. We kind of talked about redefining what we want going forward because that game was really hard and it disintegrated so quickly. And then we came back and played the heck out of San Diego State the next week. We had another game where we were tied in the fourth quarter and just needed to make one more play or one more tackle or one more block to win against a really good opponent.
I can think of a million different things, but that’s four for you and that’s good enough, right?