The last time San Jose State University won back-to-back football games was Oct. 4 and Oct. 18 of the 2014 season.
A bye week in between those wins against UNLV and Wyoming could easily be contributing factors, but the Spartans of 2016 haven’t caught a break.
Over 10,000 miles have been traveled, more than 1,000 combined snaps on offense and defense have been taken, and several players have shifted in and out of the lineup with still two more games before the Spartans (2-6 overall, 1-3 Mountain West) get a bye week.
On whether it’s a disadvantage for the bye week to come significantly late, SJSU wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Andrew Rolin believes it works in their favor.
“I think it works for our advantage in a couple ways,” Rolin said. “Obviously No. 1 is recruiting. We’ll be able to see some games and see some players that we need to see … and then it falls prior to Air Force, and with what they do on offense it gives us really two weeks to prepare defensively for what they do with the triple option.”
The receiving core for Rolin had more touchdowns in the game at New Mexico (3) than the the last three games combined (1), but he said the offense has a plan this week vs. UNLV (3-5, 2-2 MW) that will showcase a different passing game.
One of those targets, tight end Billy Freeman, was recently named to the John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List (top collegiate tight end), despite his numbers drastically on the decline from last season.
“I think his offseason injury, which lingered until midway through the fall, really set him back,” tight ends coach Dan Ferrigno said. “I think another thing is we’ve used a lot of different personnel groups where he’s not included.”
Ferrigno mentioned however that he’s had a great season blocking which needed to be improved from last season.
Consistently, it’s been junior punter Michael Carrizosa who has made the most of the offensive struggles. After averaging 47.5 yards per punt last season, he has averaged 45.3 yards per punt through eight games this season.
Reno Gazette-Journal sports columnist Chris Murray praised Carrizosa – saying he’s “NFL quality,” and Ferrigno, also the special teams coordinator, believes so, too.
“I agree he is … he’s been tremendous for us. Not only does he punt it high and with hang time, but he puts it exactly where we want it,” Ferrigno said.
Ferrigno has spent 37 seasons in collegiate football, making numerous stops at prominent programs like USC, CAL, Oregon State and Michigan, and knows where it starts for SJSU to elevate its program.
“Recruiting is where you start. I’ve seen a lot of good coaches who lost a lot of games because they didn’t have good enough players, or enough players. We just don’t have quite enough guys yet. We’re still a young team and we’re developing those players. So I think recruiting is where it lies, getting the right fit for our program,” Ferrigno said.