Official Blog of Texas State University - San Marcos Department of Athletics.

Rocky Mountain High

Written by Bill Culhane on 10:22 AM

How 'bout them Cowboys...against our Bobcats!

After jumping out early at the Red Raiders, we all know that the turnovers, some missed tackles, and a few other missteps led to the Bobcat's demise in the season opener. Fortunately, the mistakes are correctable, Texas Tech is officially in the rear-view mirror, and the 'Cats have another opportunity to light the star!

Later today (Friday), the Bobcats will head to Wyoming to take on another FBS program, the Wyoming Cowboys, uh, Pokes. Kickoff is 5PM Central, Saturday, September 10th. Some of you may know, the Cowboys will return the trip by coming to San Marcos in the 2013 season. Wow, we are going to have some interesting matchups at Bobcat Stadium in the not so distant future!

Among the thoughts on the defense's performance at Texas Tech, Coach Craig Naivar, our defensive coordinator, said, "...our attitude, our approach, our tenacity was very good, we just didn't finish it. This showed up in our lack of redzone defense."

"I don't think we responded real well as a defense after those turnovers. It's not our job to pick where we come on the field...it's our job to keep it out of the endzone", per Coach Naivar on maintaining execution regardless of the situation.

Coach Naivar on facing Brett Smith, Wyoming's true freshman quarterback, "We're going to give him a bunch of different looks. I give the man credit, he threw for 294 yards (vs Weber State), he grew up in the second half and end of the game. If their football team wasn't behind him before, they are now!"

Coach Fran on opposing Wyoming's offense, "They do a good job of not overloading him and protecting him (frosh QB, Brett Smith)...we have to get some pressure on him, we have to make him throw off rhythm, make him get out of his comfort zone."

"They're a typical Wyoming football team. They are hard-nosed, they are physical, they fight their tails off. They are gap sound, they get off blocks, they are characteristic of what I think of when I think Wyoming football. It's "Cowboy tough" and that's the way they play", Coach Fran on Wyoming's tough, veteran-laden defense.

If you are traveling to War Memorial Stadium in Laramie to check out the Bobcats, I hope you have safe and happy travels. In case you won't be at the game, the game will be televised by the Mountain West Conference network (check local listings). You can also listen to the game on ESPN Deportes, 92.5FM, Austin, or KTSW, 89.9FM, San Marcos. The game audio will be streamed on espnaustin.com and txstatebobcats.com. Brant Freeman and I will launch our pregame show beginning at 4PM Central, 5PM Kickoff. John McElfresh will man the sidelines and provide the halftime and postgame thoughts from Coach Fran.

If you have any thoughts or comments, please email me at lightthestar@gmail.com.

Eat 'Em Up!

Bill










Inside Bobcat Football Starts Right Now...

Written by Bill Culhane on 12:24 PM

Texas State Bobcats Up Close and Personal!

Wyoming Week! For those who made the trip to Lubbock, I hope you had a safe trip home. In case you didn't get a chance to go see the Bobcats take on the Red Raiders, Texas State Athletics and Time Warner Cable's Your News Now (YNN) have teamed up to bring you Inside Bobcat Football.

Along with highlights from each Bobcat football game, our head coach, Dennis Franchione shares his thoughts on the team's performance. We will also have other interesting segments covering the world of Texas State athletics. Towards the end of each show, Coach Fran will give his preview of the Bobcat's upcoming opponent. This is your all-access, weekly dose of Bobcat football.

The 30 minute show airs on YNN's non-stop sports channel 408 (SD) and channel 1509 (HD) and channel 1408 (On Demand).

Air Time: Mondays starting at 8PM through Tuesdays at 7PM (at the top of the hour).

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

Eat 'Em Up

Bill

QBs/Offense

Written by Bill Culhane on 10:07 AM

Ready, break!

As we are now within a day of Bobcats v Red Raiders, here is my final Countdown to Kickoff blog. I hope you have found them enjoyable and they have given a little insight into your Bobcat football team. As always, we hope to see you and yours at the games. If you still don’t have your season tickets, our home opener is Saturday, September 17th, here is where to get your tickets.

We just blogged about our defensive coordinator, Coach Naivar’s return to San Marcos. Well, our offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Mike Schultz, is no stranger to our fair city, having served here under Coach Fran from '90-'91.

Barrick Nealy, immediately followed by Bradley George, has meant that the Bobcats have recently had an embarrassment of riches at the quarterback position. Right now, we have two young men who have shown the ability to help lead the Bobcats to points.

Coach Fran repeatedly talks about being your best on the play right now…then, be your best on the next play, etc, etc… He holds the same belief when it comes to the guys on the field. He wants the best eleven on the field for THAT play. It stands to reason then that we would want our best quarterback on the field for that play, that situation. Shaun Rutherford, a transfer from Blinn, and Tyler Arndt, our returning sophomore, have been sharing reps at quarterback and both will see action. Both signal callers are growing in the offense and been excellent during Fall Camp 2011.

Shaun Rutherford made it clear that he and Tyler Arndt are looking forward to leading the offense, “I think Tyler and I have done very well. It’s been a great competition throughout practice. Day in, day out, we study film together. We come to practice every day ready to help make each other better.”

I have noted a marked improvement in Shaun’s passing ability from four months ago. “It was kind of rough getting back into it, but I came up here every morning, every afternoon, worked on my drop backs, my steps, just tried to get my technique back together,” is Rutherford’s explanation for his progress.

As you know, Tyler Arndt has already shown that he can lead a Bobcat football team to victory. Tyler matched Shaun‘s comments on how the quarterbacks are pushing each other to ultimately make the team better, “I think we have clicked really well. Shaun and I are both getting reps with the 1’s. We both bring a lot of leadership. Whoever steps in the huddle, the team knows they can count on us.”

Arndt agrees dealing with the environment this Saturday at Texas Tech won't be as much of an issue having started his career at Houston in 2010, “I think so. Playing in front of a lot of people, it will really help. I know what to expect.”

Coach Schultz assessed the Bobcat quarterbacks, “They’ve come a long way since last Spring. We feel like they’ve made good progress. With quarterbacks, you’re never where you want to be, but let me say this, we’re not where we used to be!”

Spread the Love Around

We have discussed all of the changes on defense and even special teams. As you well know by now, our offense has also gone under modifications since the 2010 season. We have an entirely new offensive coaching staff and will be running, as it’s been explained to me, “the Texas State spread offense”. Meaning, there are many variations of the spread offense across the landscape, but our offense is “the Texas State spread offense”.

Through camp, it appears that this means we will run and pass the ball and would prefer to be +/- 50-50. Short game, deep game, the entire route tree is in our arsenal. We will run between the tackles, out wide, zone reads, etc… To our future opponents, I hope I haven’t revealed too much.

“I agree with Coach Fran, we have a lot of moving parts right now. We’ve made a lot of improvement and I think the kids are excited about the offense and what we‘re doing,” Coach Schultz on the offense as a whole.

The Countdown to Kickoff blogs are now officially over, the crowd roars. I will be stopping by, from time to time, with additional blogs about the world of Texas State athletics. You’ve been warned…

The Bobcat’s game at Texas Tech this Saturday will be the maiden broadcast on ESPN Deportes, 92.5 FM, 5PM pregame, 6PM Kickoff. You can also listen in at espnaustin.com or txstatebobcats.com. We will speak with you from Lubbock!

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

Eat 'Em Up!

Bill

Safeties and the Defense

Written by Bill Culhane on 1:42 AM

Safe and Sound

So you thought quarterbacks only played offense, huh? In the Bobcat’s 4-2-5 defense, the safeties take on added importance and responsibility, because they are charged with making the defensive calls = ensuring everyone else is aligned and assigned correctly. Made famous by the movie script of Cool Hand Luke, I hope we rarely hear the words, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”

Overall, the Bobcat defense is filled with youth, and the safety group is no different. Where have I typed that before? The safeties are young and relatively inexperienced, however, with that you also get the passion, enthusiasm, and naivete of youth. They might not always go to the right spot at the right time, but they do it 100% and with fire in their eyes. Akin to the team as a whole, the defense will improve as the season goes along…zero doubt.

Jason McLean, a junior safety from San Antonio, gave an overview of the responsibilities of the safeties in the 4-2-5, “We have to communicate with everyone. It’s a good position to be in and it’s been fun.”

Jason shared his thoughts on the process of going from talented backup to projected starter, “I had to work a lot over the years to be in this spot right now. I’m at a good position right now, the coaches we have are great, they will put us in good position to make plays.”

Our Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach, Craig Naivar, is a man who requires little introduction to anyone who has been around the program since after the 2003 season. All you have to know about Coach Naivar’s resume is that he was the mastermind behind our 2005 national semi-finalist defense. He hails from Central Texas, is well respected in the football community, and has the fire and requisite raspy voice of a defensive coordinator.

Initially, Coach Naivar focused his thoughts on the value of the safeties in the 4-2-5, “They have picked it up well and done a good job. We’re still trying to get better. A big part of this defense is communicating, have your eyes in the right place, make sure you’re assignment sound so we can play fast.”

“In this scheme, the safeties are the quarterbacks of our defense. They set coverages, blitzes, blitz checks, formational adjustments…they have to be good communicators, quick communicators,” is just some of the work expected of the safeties per Coach Naivar.

You Need Me on That Wall

I , like many of you, have seen every defensive scheme under the lights. The 4-2-5 has yielded significant success in the land of the Bobcats. You put speed on the field, your d-linemen have to be technicians but don’t have to be mammoth, in-game personnel changes aren’t a crisis, offenses in hurry up don’t create panic, you can bring people from an array of angles. I think CJ Carroll used to parachute in for one of his career record sacks (not sure what the call is on that blitz).

Coach Naivar discussed the Bobcat defense as a whole, “It’s going to be an ever-evolving process. Anytime in a first year system, you work your tail off to put guys in the right position and that will evolve, especially in the first three or four weeks.” There is a balance in preparing the team for the opener at Texas Tech, “We are working hard to make sure guys are in the right spot, doing the right things. We are working hard to make sure we aren‘t doing too much, that we’re fundamentally sound. We’re not where we want to be, but we are a lot better than where we were.”

Deep breath! Tomorrow, I wrap up the pre-2011 season blogs by covering the quarterbacks and the offense with Coach Mike Schultz.

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

Eat 'Em Up!

Bill

Written by Bill Culhane on 12:57 PM

Start Spreading the News…

On August 28th, after months of hard work by members of the Athletic Department, we announced a history making partnership between Texas State and Border Media to broadcast Bobcat football games on ESPN Deportes (KXXS 92.5 FM). In many respects, this represents another wave hitting the beach in terms of media coverage and opportunities for the entire Texas State community.

Don Coryell, our Associate Athletics Director for External Operations, described what this opportunity represents for Texas State, Border Media, Bobcat fans, and supporters of Texas State, “This agreement gives us a commercial radio broadcast, a presence in the Austin area and we are teaming up with a media group that has the ability to promote Bobcat athletics.”


The Bobcats game at Texas Tech this Saturday will be the maiden broadcast on 92.5 FM, 5PM pregame, 6PM Kickoff. As I’ve noted in previous blogs, the broadcast will contain many of the elements from past Bobcat broadcasts.


In the one hour pregame, we will have visits with Coach Fran, a Bobcat assistant coach, a Bobcat student-athlete, and the Voice of the Opposition. At halftime, along with scores from elsewhere and stats, we will have a visit with Coach Fran and interview with a person of interest in the world of Texas State athletics. The fifteen minute postgame will consist of a wrap up by Coach Fran, highlites, stats, a look ahead, and much, much more.


The Team: Along with the professional, dedicated group at KXXS, 92.5 FM, Brant Freeman will handle Bobcat football play by play duties for his ninth season. This will be my eighteenth year of covering Bobcat football, fifteenth in the football broadcast booth. John McElfresh, from the Texas State AD, will man the sidelines for the Bobcat’s 2011 road games. At home games, Maddie Serviente, a KTSW student, will provide the updates from down on the field.


Brant echoed Coryell’s excitement about the partnership with Border Media, "I'm very excited to have Bobcat Football on the air covering a good portion of our fan base which resides in Austin. It's a great relationship to have with the people at ESPN Radio in Austin, and the exposure will do wonders for the product of Texas State University Athletics.”


Freeman recognized the expansion of the Texas State broadcast footprint, “I'm also thrilled to have network broadcasts available for every road game throughout the 2011 season, given our longtime relationship with KTSW, it's tremendous to have their partnership in the Bobcat Radio Network, and now both ends of the I-35 corridor, both north and south of San Marcos, will be covered."


As always, the goal of our broadcasts is to provide excellent service, coverage, and exposure to our coaches, student-athletes, supporters, and our many loyal and passionate Bobcat fans. Coach Fran, who was a part of the broadcast for the 2011 Maroon and Gold game, discussed the impact this agreement will have on the program, “There is so much excitement among our fans for our program, the move to the Western Athletic Conference, and everything that is happening here. It is great that we can reach out to them, have an opportunity for them to hear our games. Hopefully, get them excited to attend our games.”


Speaking of exposure, remember that Inside Bobcat Football will begin airing next week and throughout the 2011 season.


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

Eat 'Em Up!


Bill

Carrying the Rock

Written by Bill Culhane on 12:26 AM

Carrying the Rock

Donald Wilkerson, Claude Mathis, Bronson Sanders, Lee Davis, Smokey Sherman, Stan Zwinggi, Karrington Bush. I see their names and faces. I close my eyes and the memories flood my mind. Frames roll by as though brought to life by an ancient reel to reel projector. I see them slicing, spinning, bursting, sprinting towards the glory that the endzone holds in her beckoning hands. The roar of the frenzied Bobcat Stadium crowd reverberating in my mind, echoing into the San Marcos sky, across streets, parking lots, and towards the river. Yes, the slouched shoulders of the opponent's would-be tacklers are in the frames as well. I, along with many, have been blessed to witness greatness in the maroon and gold backfield.

Who will grab the baton this season? One guy, three backs, how many? While the Bobcat's certainly have talent at the running back position, a point remains. The Bobcats don't have a single back who has played the position, in a live-fire situation, while wearing a Bobcat uniform. The injury to Dexter Imade, a class guy and very good football player, added to the challenges faced by the remaining 'Cats.

Left to grab the rope, and excellence will emerge from this group, are: Marcus Curry, transfer from Navy, sat out ‘10 with an injury. Has had big time success in big time ballgames, terrific burst. Tim Hawkins, converted Bobcat QB. Coach Fran refers to Tim as "Slash". Overflows with athleticism, elusive in traffic, will make game prep and gameday more cumbersome for opponents. Terrence Franks, young (redshirt freshman), but talented with speed to burn. Tim Gay and Chris Nutall, both true freshmen, are clearly very good, but were finishing their high school careers nine months ago.

From 2001-2004, I admired from afar the success that North Texas put together in winning four straight Sun Belt titles, going 25-1 in SBC games in those years. The architect and mastermind of the Mean Green’s success is our new co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach, Coach Darrell Dickey. Note: Since Coach Dickey left UNT, they are a combined 7-34 (no typo)...ouch.

I visited recently with Coach Dickey and he discussed the RB group overall, “We have a lot of work to do to get where we want to be at our position. We’ve got some good guys to work with, but we’ve still got to work on seeing how our plays develop, where the running lanes are, who we’re responsible for in pass protection. We are a work in progress at the running back position.”

As mentioned, the backs also have to help with protection. According to Coach Dickey, “I think they’ve made a lot of progress. Working against our defense, (see note below), has made us better. Pass protection is the biggest transition from high school to college…it takes them a while to figure out where they fit in the protection scheme, but they’ve done a very good job.”

Note: Coach Dickey, with many years of football under his belt, complimented the ‘Cat defense. “One of the things I’ve been impressed with is our defensive football team has some of the best blitzing linebackers that I’ve ever been around…”

I recall randomly watching Navy v Missouri in the 2009 Texas Bowl, won by Navy 35-13. I saw a Midshipman, Marcus Curry, tear up Missouri’s 12th ranked rush defense for 109 yards on 12 carries. He tacked on 5 receptions for 97 more yards. I thought to myself, “That guy is good.”. Fast forward two seasons, and now Marcus is prepared for his first game action with the Bobcats. Watching him since his arrival in Spring ‘10, I’ve thought to myself, “That guy is good.”

“I feel we are all playmakers. We all have good speed, we get blocks, we get physical…we do what we have to do to help the team win,” according to Marcus as he evaluated the running back group.

Marcus laughed and said the younger backs make fun of him for being the “elder-statesman”, “I’m like the old guy and they’re always cracking jokes all of the time.” Curry, the leader, sees a bright future for the youngsters, “I feel like they’re going to go out there and make plays if it’s their time.”

The Countdown to Kickoff blogs are winding down. We focus on the 4-2-5 defense and safeties with Coach Naivar tomorrow, Thursday. On Friday, we will visit with Coach Schultz to look over the spread offense and quarterbacks. On Saturday, we will, well, you know!

Spread the word on your facebook, twitter, phone, email, smoke signals, … Bobcat football is on ESPN Austin, 92.5 FM. Online at espnaustin.com or txstatebobcats.com. This marks the ninth season that Brant Freeman and I will bring you Bobcat football from the broadcast booth. John McElfresh will be the voice on the sideline providing insightful updates and visiting with Coach Fran at halftime and during our postgame coverage.

Also, Inside Bobcat Football will begin airing next week. Is this the year we earn an Emmy Award? Tune in and you decide!

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

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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