Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com
By: Ana Kieu
Three things — excitement, energy and enthusiasm — were evident in San Jose State football’s first day of the fall practice period.
Brand-new shiny white helmets clearly stood out as the Spartans ran into CEFCU Stadium, but practice was more than just a sharp-looking helmet.
“It was great start. We have a lot of work to do. We are further along and you can see there is more scheming and guys are comfortable. Now, the next step is helping those new guys to become part of it, and those new guys to get into the mix where they can contribute and know what to do and understand it,” said San Jose State football head coach Brent Brennan.
“I think we spent two years going through a really hard time building this foundation and I think the expectations are clear. The expectations are clear, player to player, in what they expect of each other and how they expect them to work, behave and go about their business. So I think that’s the biggest thing. It was the best offseason we’ve ever had and I’m hoping that this is going to be the best fall camp. It’s off to a good start.”
Brennan mentioned one of the points of emphasis early on is winning the turnover battle. A year ago, San Jose State was the second most improved team in the FBS going from minus-26 in 2017 to plus-1 in 2018, an improvement of +27.
A similar improvement in 2019 would be an unreasonable expectation for any team, but simply going from +1 to +5 would portend well. 23 of those 39 FBS teams won nine or more games and only four didn’t get invited to a bowl game last season.
“Today was a huge emphasis on turnover battle and the defense won that handedly, so that was exciting to see. That is one of our big challenges for the season,” said Brennan.
“Before you get pads in, it’s a lot of repetition, a lot of technical work, a lot of scheme and teaching, and then once you get the pads on it becomes a little more combative and you get a little bit closer to playing real football. Tomorrow will be a lot like today.”
The Spartans’ upcoming practice schedule includes a morning session the next four days. The first open practice is on Tuesday, August 6, at 9:40 am.
The season opener is Thursday, August 29, with San Jose State hosting Northern Colorado in a 7 pm non-conference game. Tickets for all San Jose State home games are available at www.sjsuspartans.com/tickets.
NOTES: Former San Jose State offensive lineman Tom Bass, better known for 17 seasons as an assistant coach for four NFL teams between 1964 and 1985, passed away at age 83 on Saturday, July 27. He coached with Don Coryell at San Diego State and the San Diego Chargers and with San Jose State coaching legend Bill Walsh for three seasons as a Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach (1968-70). Bass was a member of the 1955 San Jose State team.