San Jose state coach Brent Brennan knows much remains to be done to keep the Spartan offensive among the nation’s elite. And he has now chosen the man who will work with him to achieve that goal.
Eric Scott, who has coached the University of Nevada for the past four seasons, has been hired as the new coach and coordinator for the Spartans game, Brennan announced on Monday.
Fresh from one of the best seasons in school history, the Spartans (7-1) had to grapple with the departures of star receivers Tre Walker and Bailey Gaither, as well as receiver coach / passing coordinator Kevin Cummings, and Jose State had the country’s fourth-placed offense.
Shortly after San Jose State’s dream of an undefeated season was shattered with a 34-13 loss to Ball State at the Arizona Bowl, Cummings left the coaches at the University of Arizona, and conference attendants Walker and Gaither left the program. After Walker originally planned to move to the state of Mississippi, he and Gaither explained the NFL draft.
Scott has already proven that he can develop talented receivers as four Wolf Pack receivers received All-Mountain West awards during his time at Reno. Even so, it won’t be easy to replace Walker and Gaither, who took 86 catches, 1,352 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
San Jose State’s planned starting recipients – Redshirt Juniors Isaiah Hamilton and Jermaine Braddock and Redshirt Junior Malikhi Miller – had a total of 24 catches for 315 yards and four TDs in 2020. Hamilton’s 13 catches for 206 yards and two points are all top totals for any return Spartan recipient. Miller, a 6-foot-4 former El Cerrito high star and the stepson of San Jose State assistant Alonzo Carter, ran out of catches in two games.
Luckily for Brennan and Scott, Spartan’s standout quarterback Nick Starkel took advantage of the one-time NCAA ruling that allowed any player to re-qualify for another season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starkel, who passed 2,174 yards and 17 touchdowns after moving from Arkansas, will also have a well-known target in Derrick Deese Jr., who will return for his sixth and final season. Deese had 20 receptions for 240 yards and led the Spartans with five touchdown catches.
Brennan completed the coaching team that will be available for the Spartans’ season opener at home against southern Utah on August 28 by announcing the hiring of external linebacker coach Rob Christoff. Christoff, a former Boise State assistant, has experience as a high school, college, and professional football coach for the past 25 years, including the 2020 season as assistant offensive coach for the XFL’s Seattle Dragons. He is replacing Ryan Gunderson, who has accepted an assistant coaching job at UCLA.
“We have added two successful and outstanding trainers to our staff who are also quality teachers,” said Brennan. “They got the best out of their players and we look forward to Rob and Eric doing the same here in San Jose.”
Brennan also announced that offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven’s duties will be expanded to coach the Spartan quarterbacks.