Date/Time: Saturday, October 7, 2023 - 5 PM PDT
Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Broadcast: CBS Sports
Radio: 860 KTRB AM
Head-to-Head: San Jose State (1-4, 0-1 MW) is 1-14 against Boise State (2-3, 1-0 MW) with the Spartans lone win over the Broncos in the 2020 Mountain West Championship game.
Two weeks will have gone by before visiting Boise State on Saturday. With the Spartans licking their wounds and regrouping from tough losses, the character and brotherhood holds steady in the house that Brennan has built.
“The one thing I’ve been excited about last week and this week is the players have attacked the practice environment,” said head coach Brent Brennan on going through a bye week. “That’s been extremely positive.”
“The only way you get to feel better after a couple tough losses is to go back to work and to go back to the process and to be together and to do it all together.”
The work is endless
In short spurts, the Spartans have shown the promise and potential against every power team they’ve played this year, before the wheels came off.
Often a well-scripted offense and rambunctious defense showed what SJSU could be. The bigger question is how to sustain it.
Or perhaps another question is how do the Spartans adjust and answer back when their opponents settle in and adapt?
“In those moments, we need to be executing at a super high level, so we can stop whatever’s happening to us on either side of the ball,” said Brennan on the inflection points when momentum is turning on them. “Or someone needs to make a play, whether it’s a big catch or a big run or throw or interception or sack to start to build that momentum back.”
Brennan added, “Normally, momentum builds back with consistency of high-level effort and high-level execution. That’s how we can get back on track.”
What needs to be done
It’s basic: relentless execution.
But in a real-time sense, it’s also about a constant adjustment and constant energy.
Also, of course, matching up to the athleticism of the opposition with schemes and counter-schemes. In the end, it comes down to each athlete packaging it altogether.
Take one early standout example in sophomore cornerback Jay’Vion Cole, who’s shown the aptitude and athleticism to start to make teams think twice.
“The difference with Jay’Vion is he got to play last year and had some college football experience,” said Brennan on comparing some of his young talent. “Being in the games is the best teacher and it can also be the hardest teacher.”
“And that experience it vital,” said Brennan.
Brennan’s other recruiting measuring stick he’s preached from day one is seeing how/if a player truly loves football. Therein is the answer to any question, really. From there, coaches know what they’ve got and how they can help shape them for greater things on and off the field.
“I will also say for Jay’Vion that coach Viney is doing a fantastic job coaching him,” said Brennan. “Jay’Vion’s got incredible poise and work ethic. He’s a real serious young man and he’s serious about what he’s trying to do.”
“He is singularly minded and focused that way and that’s why he’s seeing positive results on the field, because he’s so intentional about how he attacks every day.”
This week we’ll not mention records, stats, over/unders or any comparisons - just know that Boise State is favored by a touchdown.
And just know, San Jose State is completely capable of beating Boise State. Any team worth their weight in salt prepares like any team can beat them and Andy Avalos, the Broncos head coach, surely knows the Spartans are capable. Certainly, Boise’s one and only loss to SJSU in 2020 is still worthy motivation.
The Spartan’s signature so far this season is to start fast and wane. A mature team like the Broncos will surely keep their poise. So, the question will be is if SJSU can collectively show their own maturity.
Any lead or any sense of confidence early on the Spartans can develop with a fast start is fool’s gold at this point, especially against Boise State.
The Spartans know what they need to do and they’ve shown the world what they’re capable of - in the first halves. Even in a loss to the Broncos, it’s pretty simple that SJS’ performance must be consistent.
Win or lose against Boise State, it will be the last huge measuring stick of progress until the Spartans face the next powerhouse in Fresno State in November.