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Spartans week 9: Pivoting back to football & life

Camdan McWright. Family. God. Permanence.

SJS LB Alii Matau (8) & DL Lando Grey (90)
photo by: Austin Ginn

Location: CEFCU Stadium – San Jose, CA

Date/Time: Saturday, October 29th @ 7:30 PM PDT

Broadcast: MWN/NBC Sports Bay Area | KTRB 860 AM

Head-to-head history: Nevada (2-6, 0-4 MW) leads the 123-year series history 23-2-10 over San Jose State (4-2, 2-1 MW). Spartan head coach Brent Brennan’s teams are 1-3 vs. the Wolf Pack.

After the tragedy that took the life of Spartan freshman Camdan McWright last Friday morning, emotions ran deep at SJS’ weekly football presser.

McWright’s parents Tina and Cleve McWright spoke to the media and answered questions before Brennan’s regular podium appearance.

Both parents reflected on the focus, deep commitment to family, and faith in God the late McWright held since childhood. As the McWright parents accepted that God had other plans for his son - their faith and strength were unwavering.

The young McWright epitomized the ideal student-athlete with a 4.3 GPA, blessed athleticism and a keen sense of humanity that was ready to take him far. His expected trajectory wasn’t going to surprise his family and hometown friends in Sylmar, CA.

With Pac-12 offers on the table, McWright chose San Jose State because of the brotherhood and family ethos Brennan and staff have always emanated.

Along with Eric Scott (WR coach) and Alonso Carter (RB coach), they knew within a few seconds of watching tape that McWright had clear cut talent. Immediately after meeting McWright at his high school in Sylmar, they all knew he was family.

“Camdan had this incredible light and spirit when we first met him,” shared a tearful Brennan. “And from the moment we met him, it was instant. We knew he’d be a great part of our family.”

Brennan and McWright also shared a love for super hero movies. Before it was known that McWright committed to be a Spartan, they’d DM Batman gifs as signals to each other as a sign of the football and family relationship that was to come.

Carter, also true to form, was just beginning to ramp up McWright in the game against UNLV.

Time churns into week nine against an almost forgotten Nevada team

Life unabashedly continues and the hard pivot to football comes Saturday night vs. the Wolf Pack.

After pre-season polls had the Wolf Pack finishing in the middle of the pack, Nevada is a struggling last place team. Currently on a six game losing streak, Nevada is more than three touchdown underdog.

After former Pack head coach Jay Norvell left to Colorado State and receivers Elijah Cooks, Justin Lockhart and Charles Ross found their way to San Jose (among other Wolf Pack players who entered the transfer portal), the Nevada program has an identity crisis.

After two convincing wins to start the season, Pack head coach Ken Wilson is struggling to find the right player combination; considering Wilson had only six returning starters from 2021.

It was further amplified after benching Pack QB Nate Cox five games in and in the middle of the first half in a 23-7 loss to SDSU last week. Oklahoma State transfer Shane Illingworth filled in to produce the only score for Nevada and is expected to start against SJS.

But statistically in the conference, the Wolf Pack are still around middle ground in various performance indicators.

As Brennan would certainly agree in what looks to be a down year for Nevada so far, the Pack are still dangerous as any D1 team should be and are not to be underestimated - especially in this Mountain West year.

What to watch for

No doubt the Spartans are always playing for each other. Those around the program on a consistent basis see it, feel it and hear it.

“Our training staff, team doctors, coaches and all of us are constantly checking in with each other,” said Brennan on concerns around safety, especially with the need for 100% of ones’ faculties.

“Everybody grieves differently and feels it at different levels, so trying to work through that together is about everybody having a collective awareness for it and for each other.”