Brent Brennan’s familiar face popped up on Zoom with an unfamiliar background. Instead of seated at his wooden desk below the high ceilings of his office in San Jose, the Spartans’ coach was fumbling his phone in a boxy Las Vegas hotel room.
Changes of scenery have become the norm for the Spartans, who’ve seared through relocation tumult and pandemic protocols with their first 5-0 since 1939 and a win against Nevada away from a Mountain West championship.
After a taxing win against Hawai’i in the unrelenting heat on Saturday, the Spartans are just happy to have a home in this short, important week.
“This is just the best case scenario because they were supposed to come to us,” Brennan said. “Having this game here, where we’re going to practice all week, I think that’s good for our football team. These kids need some stability right now, in my opinion, so this is the best way to get that. ”
San Jose State will stay in Las Vegas for the final week, playing Nevada at 7 pm PT Friday at Sam Boyd Stadium, home of the Mountain West’s UNLV. Because of Santa Clara County’s ban on contact sports, the Spartans can’t play at CEFCU Stadium – even if they can lock in home field advantage for a championship game.
San Jose State has grown familiar with the relocation grind; county restrictions forced the Spartans to practice in Humboldt County into early October. They returned to San Jose before the newest county ban pushed them out again.
“It’s been a heavy lift, but we just look at the positives,” San Jose State athletic director Marie Tuite said of the relocation. “Roll our sleeves up and no matter what curveball is thrown our way, we figure it out. I will say it’s devastating not to be able to play our last few games in CEFCU Stadium, to say goodbye to our seniors. ”
The team’s strength, its focus, has kept them one of the top teams in the nation despite the turmoil. They’re taking that focus to practice for their most important game yet.
“This team does an awesome of attacking the practice environment,” Brennan said. “And that’s been consistent. And I think that’s a reason we’ve played well, is because we focus on right now. ”