SAN JOSE -- San Jose State's struggles come down to a failure to execute, coach Ron Caragher said Monday.
"Execution. That's the simple summary word," Caragher said. "I like what we're doing schematically. I like what we're doing across the board. We just need to be able to execute."
In other words, don't expect major changes to the Spartans' plan Saturday when they travel to Hawaii. It's up to the players to get it done. And any players who rest on the laurels of what they've done in the past could quickly find themselves out of a job.
"Just because you're the fastest, or the tallest, or the most experienced player -- and I told the team this yesterday -- it doesn't mean anything," Caragher said. "It's 'what have you done lately? What are you doing on Tuesday? What are you doing on Wednesday? What are you doing during the week?' That's going to determine who's going to play on Saturday."
SJSU (1-3, 0-1 Mountain West Conference) has been outscored by an average of 22.7 points during its three-game losing streak. The Spartans rank last in the conference in time of possession, and their three touchdowns in 12 red zone possessions are tied for worst in the nation.
The inefficiency inside the opponent's 20-yard line seems to be one of the team's biggest culprits in transforming SJSU's once-potent offense into a pedestrian attack. Quarterback David Fales is still slinging it to the tune of nearly 300 yards per game, but the Spartans are tied with winless Hawaii (0-4, 0-2) for last in the MWC at 18.2 points per game.
SJSU had promising drives to start each half in last week's loss to Utah State. But the Spartans had to settle for a field goal in the first quarter after reaching the 14-yard line. They opened the second half by marching down to the 1, but a shotgun snap sailed over the head of Fales and was recovered by the Aggies.
The Spartans scored touchdowns on 57 percent of their red zone possessions last year, so this season's 25 percent rate signals a stark turn downward. Caragher said play-calling is not the issue.
"I love our play-calling. I love our plan of attack. We just need to execute," Caragher said. "To be successful we need to have higher percentages than that. You need to punch it in and come away with touchdowns. I think we've had some moments where it's there and for whatever reason it's not executed. That's definitely an area we need to improve."
Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.