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Got Vertical?

Written by Bill Culhane on 11:53 AM

Got Vertical?

Take a glance at the calendar. Fall Camp 2011 is officially over, so you know what that means! My esteemed, maroon and gold brethren, it is Game Week! It seems like literally yesterday we were witnessing the Bobcat baseball team in the NCAA Regional...time flies.

As I think spread offense, the forward pass quickly comes to mind. However, make no mistake, the Bobcats are going to “pound the pavement” as well. That being said, let’s look at the Bobcat wideouts and tight ends who will catch and, rest assured, block in the Bobcat’s 2011 offense.

After Markee White put together his sensational 2005 season, we pondered how long it would be before another Bobcat receiver could approach, or match, his production. Cameron Luke entered the picture and constructed record setting seasons in ‘07 and ‘08. How long would the next wait be? Hello, Da’Marcus Griggs. In ’09 and ’10, Da’Marcus etched his name in the Texas State record books. Will it be a guy, or some form of a committee, who end up on the end of aerials in 2011? This question is just one of the reasons I’m excited about the upcoming season.

Coach Jason Johnson is the man tasked with developing and identifying the 2011 receiving corps. Coach Johnson, a former quarterback at Western Kentucky, is in his first year at Texas State. Note: Coach Johnson still throws a very good ball!

Coach Johnson recently gave us his overall evaluation of the receiver group, “We’re still building, still building the foundation of the core receiver group.” He continued, “We’re working together and communicating well. The kids have really embraced each other. We have a lot of different faces than we had in the Spring and everyone has joined in, and bought in….I couldn’t be any prouder as a group and as an offense.”

Expectations are a big part of any group or organization and Coach Johnson defined his expectations for his student-athletes, “This program is built on trust and accountability, first and foremost. They need to be accountable, not just here in football and the things we ask of them over here, but also on the academic side and socially.”

As a leading returning receiver, you would expect that Darius Bolden would be called upon to be a key contributor. Coach Johnson has been impressed by Bolden, “Special. Special kid on and off the field…a lead by example type of kid. Always does things the way you want him to do it…he is a kid who is special to me.”

Isaiah Battle, seen to the right, transferred to Texas State from Blinn College and is one of the newcomers Coach Johnson was referring to earlier. Battle is a physical looking football player, makes the catch, and projects to be a “hard guard” for opposing corners.

I asked Isaiah about the transition to this level, “It wasn’t really a major transition because we all have to play at a certain level all of the time. We have to go hard all of the time, as Coach Fran told us.”

Isaiah discussed how much of a help Darius Bolden has been to the receiver group, “Darius Bolden is basically the leader of the group. He knows the in’s and out’s of everything, so everyone goes to him if they need to know something.”

I asked Battle about receivers contributing with the run game, “Blocking is definitely one of the bigger things we emphasize…on the field at this level, we have to be extremely tough. You have to be just as tough as linemen or anybody on the field.”


If variety is indeed the spice of life, then the tight end situation at Texas State is hot. I have zero reservations offering that this projects to be the best tight end group I’ve seen in my time at Texas State. Transfer Chase Harper, who I saw play in high school, is the very definition of prototypical tight end. He can run routes, catch, block, and if you come up to tackle, you may want to snap on that chin strap. Talented, physical returner David Lewis and newcomers, i.e., Kyle Doll and Colby Goodwin also figure to be in the mix.

It's true! As I noted in a previous blog, we have a new radio home for Bobcat football! Bobcat football can be heard on ESPN Radio 92.5 FM, in Austin, or streamed on the internet at www.espnaustin.com or www.txstatebobcats.com. The one-hour pregame show will consist of the same elements you've become accustomed to: visit with Coach Fran, a Bobcat player, a Bobcat assistant, Voice of the Opposition, and much more. Each broadcast will conclude with a 15-minute postgame, including words from our head coach, Coach Fran.

I know you have your tickets. Do you know of any Bobcat friends, family members, or fans who don't have their's yet? Send them this link ...they'll thank you for it!

In honor of the season opener being right around the corner, we will visit the Bobcat cornerbacks in our next blog.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know at lightthestar@gmail.com

credits: Brant Freeman provided the pic of Isaiah Battle.

Eat 'Em Up!

Bill

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The Drive is more than new buildings and championships. It's an increased sense of pride. The essence of Texas State makes this school one of the best universities in the country. Get Loud, Be Proud! It's A Great Day to be a Bobcat!

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