We Have Your Back(ers)
In case you just returned from an eight month vacation to Mars and your internet was down during your trip, the Bobcats are returning to the 4-2-5 defensive attack. Did I hear an “Amen!”? Emphasis on “attack”. During prior years when we’ve had the 4-2-5, linebackers like Greg Pitts (our all-time tackles leader), Myron Coleman, David Simmons, Jeremy Castillo, etc., have feasted on the tackle and make a play opportunities out of this “linebacker friendly” scheme.
The formula is D-line fill and own your gaps, secondary shutdown the back end, and linebackers let your mama and girlfriend hear your names on the public address system for four quarters. Everyone share the glory. I like.
To put it concisely, I'm excited about our linebacker unit. Guys like Bryan Iwuji, Brian Lilly, Josh Minde, and Joplo Bartu have played a lot of Bobcat football. Despite the fact that our defense is new to these student-athletes and a work in progress, you can see from these guys that they were linebackers at birth. These four, and some of our newcomers, will make you keep your head on a swivel in ’11.
Brad Franchione was a two-time national champion head coach at Blinn, and will be responsible for the linebackers in his first year at Texas State. As most of you know, Coach Brad Franchione is the son of our head coach, Dennis Franchione.
Coach Brad Franchione gave this appraisal of our linebacker group in Fall Camp, “I’m very excited about their progress…I believe the four or five guys we’re going to count on this year are very smart about the defense, know what their responsibility is, and for the most part have executed well.”
Coach Franchione, at right coaching up the LB's, also offered why the 4-2-5 scheme is so good to linebackers for piling up the tackle numbers, “Coach Naivar (our d-coordinator) makes it real simple for us in coverage. So, we‘re not thinking a lot about what we have to do in pass coverage. We listen to the safeties, they give us a quick call, and we know exactly what we’re supposed to do…”
With Morrison, Thornton, Bailiff, Williams, Lundin, Langford, Clark, and others, the Bobcats have appreciated success in making it a family affair to suit up for Bobcat football. Many of you will remember that Wellington Deshield was a stalwart for the Bobcat teams from ‘04-’08. He requires no introduction, but I introduce you to his not so little brother, Joplo Bartu.
Joplo is intelligent, quick, and ends up near the football. In his first two seasons on the field for the ’Cats, Joplo has shown flashes of knock your socks off play (i.e., at SFA, circa 2010, wow!). Based on his progress through this Spring and Fall, I expect 2011 to be a constant beam of light for #31.
I asked Joplo to explain why he has shown continued improvement as his ‘Cat career moves along, “…it’s about learning the plays and knowing what you’re doing on every single play and busting your butt to be perfect out there every time.”
Joplo discussed the concept of preparation, “Summer workouts helped, got bigger, put on some pounds.” He added, “The film room works out too, watch a lot of film, know what we‘re doing.”
For our next blog, we head back to the offense with the wide receivers/tight ends.
We have a new radio home for Bobcat football in 2011! You can tune in for Bobcat Football each week on our flagship station, ESPN Radio 92.5 FM, in Austin. Brant and I will kickoff each broadcast with a one-hour pregame show and end with a 15-minute postgame, including a visit with Coach Fran.
Do you have your precious 2011 season tickets yet? Check this out.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
credits: Brant Freeman provided pic of Coach Brad Franchione.
Eat 'Em Up!