The Brent Brennan era at San Jose State is heading into year three. To put it lightly, the first two seasons haven’t gone according to plan. The Spartans are 3-22 under coach Brennan.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Even with that scary record hanging above his head, there have been some positives during Brennan’s tenure, along with the negatives. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of coach Brennan going into a crucial season.
- He’s a player’s coach
In the time I’ve spent at practices and around the team, you can tell it’s a tight-knit group. Even through the losses on the field, the players rally around their coach and support him. There’s been no quitting on Brennan on this team, and for a squad which won only a single game last year, that in itself is a huge positive. A big factor in getting programs turned around is getting players to buy into the coach and his system. To me, it looks like Brennan has this part down.
- The team improved in year two
Looking at the records, you might think I’m crazy for this one. After going 2-11 in 2017, SJSU dropped to 1-11 in 2018, which included a loss to a FCS school in UC Davis. But the thing is, even in their losses the Spartans were competitive in a majority of their games. They took a good Hawaii team to five overtimes. They almost took down Colorado State with a miracle 30-point third quarter. They lost to San Diego State by just a field goal and put up a solid fight against Oregon. This wasn’t the same team as the year before. Now with some stability on offense and improvements to the offensive line, it might be time for SJSU to take the next step.
- He’s a good recruiter
Recruiting is tough when you’re not a historically successful program. It’s even tougher when you’re located in the backyard of two academic powerhouses from the PAC-12 in Cal and Stanford. But coach Brennan has made good use of what’s been made available to him in a crowded state. Last season a few freshmen made a big impact on the field, like linebacker Kyle Harmon and defensive end Cade Hall. Not to mention, some big transfer pickups like lineman Quinn Oseland are going to be huge for SJSU in 2018.
- I mean, just look at his record
This goes without saying, but 3-22 is bad. Really, really bad. The Spartans, and Brennan, need to figure out how to close games. In 5 of their 11 losses, the Spartans were within one possession of their opponent in the second half. They were plagued by turnovers and poor playcalling in crunch time. Obviously, this needs to improve.
- Speaking of turnovers…
SJSU quarterbacks combined for 13 interceptions in 2018, which put them near the bottom of the nation, tied for 90th. Not only is that too many, but they often came at costly times when the game was on the line. Josh Love, 2019’s presumptive starter, accounted for 9 picks but that number should lower considering that the offensive line will be improved and that he suffered from some shoulder injuries which surely affected his ability to throw downfield. But nonetheless, turnovers have been an issue for the Spartans as long as Brennan has been on the sidelines.
- Road woes
Of coach Brennan’s three victories as head coach, zero have been on the road. That’s correct, he has never won a game outside of CEFCU Stadium. Not only that, but his average point margin is -26.5 on the road. Yikes. He needs to figure out how to coach on the road, because whatever he’s doing clearly isn’t working.
There’s obviously good and bad to every coach. With coach Brennan it’s hard to look past the wins and losses, and without an improvement in that department it’s safe to say year three will likely be his last. But looking at the positives, there’s a potentially solid foundation under his feet in San Jose. Let’s see what happens this upcoming season.