On the most perfect Saturday afternoon, at San Jose State’s sixth spring scrum event for head coach Brent Brennan, it was something different.
More people. More fanfare. More “there’s something in the air”. And, no Lawrence fan; the beloved pillar of sports news who passed away six weeks ago.
Addressing the first two is easy. Friends, family, former players and future players were looking forward to playing football and dying to be part of an optimistic program and what should be the most formidable team in the SJSU of the Brennan era so far.
10 head coaches as one
At the coaches conference before the scrimmage, everyone provided summaries and expectations. Their different styles and personalities ran the gamut, but each had their own mastery that seemed to complete the package.
As spring is one of the few times when all 10 coaches are together and available in one gathering, it’s easier to assess and cross-check what we ordinary people see and feel during practices.
And everything is lining up, so far.
These problematic points of a disappointing 2021
After becoming 2020 Mountain West champions, the following 5-7 season was seen as a disappointment: plain and simple. Wide receiver production and series production faltered.
“We knew we wanted and needed to get bigger at the receiver level,” wide receivers coach Eric Scott said. “6’4″ Elijah Cooks and 6’2″ Justin Lockhart match that bill along with 6′ Charles Ross and 6’4” Maliki Miller.
Cooks, Lockhart and Ross are former Nevada WolfPackers stars turned Spartans through Scott’s influence. Each of his protégés shone on Saturday.
Tight ends coach Matt Adkins then touted Sam Olsen, who was injured last year, and the rest of the tight ends. Adkins expects his group to be an integral part of the passing offense and, of course, blocking patterns. Other watchful eyes also agree that Olsen could be one of the best wingers in the conference.
“We’ll be great at running back,” said spirited running back coach Alonzo Carter, “We’ve got a 10.7 100-yarder Camden McWright. NorCal Player of the Year JuJu Teu. And Kenyon Sims and Shamar” Scootie” Garrett are fast and dynamic.
An even more pumped-up Kairee Robinson leads Carter’s back group.
“I’ll be dancing all night when we win the Mountain West conference,” Carter added, “And we’ll win the Mountain West. Hold me to that.
What stood out the most this spring
The new Spartan Chevan Cordeiro would probably be most people’s choice, but on paper, in person and in action, the defensive front of SJS seems to be even more remarkable.
Relatively speaking and analyzing the conference early on, this has got to be one of the best if not the best D-line group in Mountain West.
“I hate our defensive front seven,” CO Kevin McGiven said. “They make them an absolute nightmare to train against every day, but really, it was fun watching them develop and that’s pretty cool.”
McGiven is generally calm, cool and collected, but his bonanza at quarterback seems to make him giddy. This QB stable is likely to differentiate San Jose State over the next few years.
“The group of quarterbacks this year is probably the most exciting group I’ve had in my entire career,” McGiven said.
“Chevan learned and applied the system faster than any other quarterback I’ve ever had,” McGiven added. “He was able to take it from day one and apply all the concepts, especially growing up in running and shooting, and you can see he can really run.”
Chevan definitely looks sharp, clean, quick and decisive as advertised and as he has proven over the past two years with the Rainbow Warriors.
McGiven was quick to add that top QBs Tyler Voss and Anthony Garcia are also very impressive.
Oh, there was a fray
Cordeiro threw two touchdowns at Lockhart, one for 40 yards and one for 11 yards. Their chemistry and connection immediately jumped out in the first series.
QB to remember Nick Nash threw a 40+ yard to Ross that was just short of the touchdown. CB Kenyon Reed also intercepted Nash in the end zone.
All in all, the performance was livelier and more piquant than in recent years and also more relaxed at the same time.
The competition is dense and the depth formidable enough to say that if the Spartans are not well in the game at the end of the season, there is something wrong.
A Brennan Cordeiro Moment
When Cordeiro made the decision to transfer to San Jose State, there were more surprises than not that he chose the Spartans.
“We’ve always sought to be a program that provides stability and consistency,” Brennan said at the Coaches Conference. “The young men who come to this program; we support academically and give all the support of a true fraternity.
Brennan added: “We went to Big America when he visited here with his family, my son Scottie and two of our coaches. We’re having this awesome weekend, but here’s the thing: Chevan was driving upstate Colorado the next morning and Chevan’s mom wants to take a picture of everyone up front and while we’re there doing cheese, Chevan said to me, “I’m coming here, coach.
“Although I’m alone here, the guys make me feel comfortable and at home,” Cordeiro said of his general transition to San Jose.
Cordeiro also broke off his normally stoic media delivery and let out a smile and a skyward look when it was mentioned that Brennan had the Aloha spirit and saw Aloha, which is likely why Cordeiro’s decision didn’t go down well. been so surprising to some.
Stay tuned for more off-season treats ahead of the 2022 season.