Every FBS team is after the same thing. And so let me state the obvious: A winning season, a bowl berth, a Sun Belt title, Shawn Michaels making an appearance at a Bobcat game— it’s what we all want in San Marcos. We probably won’t get three or all four of those. But I will say the future is bright for Texas State and eventually we’ll get a bowl game appearance and possibly a Sweet Chin Music kick to the opposing team’s mascot but first we have to crawl out of the super chasm of rebuilding before winning conference titles.
So before the Sun Belt media days and fall practices kick off I’d like to go over what I would like to see accomplished in the 2017 season.
Offensive Line Improvement
As has been said in countless articles and podcasts, Texas State finished dead last in the nation in the ground game. Mobile quarterback Tyler Jones was sacked so often it accounted for 40% of his career sack totals despite playing four total seasons. But it wasn’t any single person’s fault. That can be expected when the bare cupboard of linemen bequeathed to head coach Everett Withers and his staff left them no choice but to play musical chairs with the linemen. But there was bright spot in Aaron Brewer.
The 6’3” lineman played guard the majority of the season before finishing the last four games at center. Now the sophomore is the veteran leader of a young 2017 and incoming 2018 recruiting class of hogs poised to vastly improve the paltry play of last season. Will they be bullying the elite defensive lines of the Sun Belt? Maybe not this year but with all the young talent from both high school and transfer levels the trenches may get ugly for opposing squads.
1,000 Yard Skill Players
Now this goal goes hand in hand with the lineman issue. Texas State will probably be a ground-and-pound offense this year so in doing so running back Stedman Mayberry will more than likely be the featured back. Despite the 2016 numbers Mayberry showed skill that with the right protection can be a threat inside or out. In spring practice the Cerberus-like trio of Anthony D. Taylor, Robert Brown, Jr. and Samuel Longbotham showed various skill sets and with the influx of 2017’s class and transfer quarterback Damien Williams also able to take off and run we may not see Mayberry hitting 1,000 yards.
On the wide receiver’s end Elijah King and Eric Luna have all the tools to reach the 1,000 yard milestone so I think that if anybody gets that mark it’s the receivers.
Also for all you statheads, Robert Lowe was the last Bobcat to reach 1,000 yards on the ground in 2014 with 1,091 yards. The last wide receiver to pierce that mark was Cameron Luke in 2008 when he hauled in 1,268 yards.
If you are familiar with Texas State football games you know we love to tailgate and we love to drink. The only problem is when the game starts and people start heading toward their seats a big majority of people (mainly students) leave the tailgate to hit up The Square or the pool or whatever. We get laughed at by other schools because of this and it sucks. Students get into games for free. FOR FREE. There are no excuses. And I thought this was Texas. Don’t most Texans like football? This year I’m not sitting in the pressbox to cover the games, I’m going to buy a ticket and fill up at least one space. So whether you are a Southwest Texas alum or Texas State or Southwest Normal College or whatever other previous name for the University, get your ass to the games. We have the means so find a way.
I don’t really care if we go 1-11 (well that would be horrible and I hope we don’t) but if that one win is to come against anybody I hope it would be against Texas-San Antonio. When I was in school our rivals were Sam Houston and Nichols State so when we made the jump to the FBS our rival became UTSA out of default. Honestly I wasn’t that familiar with the Roadrunners. Sure we played them in basketball and softball and such but they were not pounded into our heads as vicious rivals. But since 2012 I’ve felt this weight over the heads of Bobcats. You see we were in the WAC in 2012 and our conference rival was UTSA. We played one hyped up classic game, they won, we all left the WAC and then nothing. Then it was announced a while back that we’d get eight game series with our I-35 rivals.
I’ve never had beef with UTSA. My brother and cousin graduated from there and another cousin will be starting school there in the fall. But I’ve seen social media take over this rivalry’s mystique and I’m getting kinda into this whole Maroon-Orange matchup. I love football and I love rivalries and I miss hating an opposing school. So I can’t wait for September 23rd and I can’t wait to shove a Bobcats win in my family’s face.
Sprint To The Finish
Okay so Texas State did go 2-10 last year but a handful of games started similarly. The Bobcats have a good two or three drives and take a commanding lead only to blow it and never score again. With all the improvements being made I’d like to see more game management when the team gets something going. I think the ball control mentality going into 2017 is the reason for this and with that being the case there should be no excuse to blow leads.
I’m hoping for five wins. I know it’s a stretch seeing as our FPI (Football Power Index) according to ESPN has us finishing dead last. But I’m optimistic. I don’t want to be heading toward a down slide for the next few years. Hopefully Coach Withers and his staff can find stability for the program. I know that schools pluck coaches from successful programs and if that happens then the program will have to adjust. That’s the nature of the college football game. But however 2017 shapes up I hope it’s beneficial for Texas State’s future.