SAN JOSE -- San Jose State won't be taking much of a break despite not having a game this week.

"This is a get-better week," coach Ron Caragher said Monday of the first of two byes on SJSU's schedule. "I need this football team to approach this week as an opportunity to improve, to hone in on fundamentals and to get after it and stay well-conditioned."

Caragher said bye weeks often carry the connotation of a time to rest and get healthy, but, two games into the season, the Spartans are in good shape on the injury front.

"Some people take a bye as a time to go back, heal up, get treatment. That's not our approach," Caragher said. "We're going to go out and hit the ground running tomorrow."

The tempo at practice should be increased with starting units squaring off against each other. There's a high-tempo practice scheduled for Sunday before the team begins fully preparing for its Sept. 21 game at Minnesota.

"The one thing you can lose in bye weeks is that game speed if you go two weeks without actually playing a game," Caragher said. "I find it beneficial to have an up-tempo high practice at game speed."

  • After reviewing film of the Spartans' 34-13 loss Saturday to Stanford, Caragher said he was encouraged by his offense's performance, perhaps even more so than after the Spartans' season-opening win over Sacramento State.


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    Quarterback David Fales was back to connecting on a high percentage of passes (67.4 percent), although the Cardinal mostly limited the Spartans to short, underneath routes.

    SJSU recorded 22 first downs despite having only nine possessions. That's after having just 15 first downs on 12 drives against Sacramento State.

    "We did move the ball, we did have some long drives," Caragher said. "Usually when you have over 20 first downs, you win."

  • Running back Alvin Jelks has yet to play for the Spartans and has slipped to fifth on the depth chart after starting the season third.

    Redshirt freshman Jarrod Lawson and walk-on freshman Osirius Burke have moved ahead of Jelks. Lawson had four carries against Sacramento State, and Burke had his first college carry against Stanford.

    "When you play running back, there's so much more than running the football," Caragher said. "You need to understand pass protection schemes and complementary routes in the passing game.

    "I'm confident that Jelks will come along."

  • San Jose State's game at Minnesota will kick off at 9 a.m. Pacific time and air on ESPN or ESPN2, giving the Spartans at least seven nationally televised games, adding to their all-time high.

    Because it is a nonconference road game of which the Mountain West Conference doesn't hold television rights, SJSU will not receive the bonus money normally allocated for games on major national networks.

    That arrangement calls for $500,000 bonuses for Saturday games and $300,000 for other days of the week if the game airs on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox. The Spartans will receive bonuses for their Sept. 27 game against Utah State on ESPN and their Nov. 22 game against Navy on ESPN2.

    Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.