Well bobcat fans,
has been an official member of the FBS for a few weeks now and the highly
anticipated 2012 football season is less than a month and a half away. Couple that with the construction of Bobcat
Stadium nearly complete and these are some exciting times at our
University! For more on the significance
of what the “move up” means, check out my interview with Associate AD Don
Coryell online at KGNB’s
website. Texas State
Training Camp is also on the horizon as players report on Sunday August 5th and will be in helmets and shorts August 6th and in full pads for the first time that Friday, August 10th. Looking forward to covering camp and you can expect some more blogs and podcasts with myself and my broadcaster partner Bill Culhane all camp long! Did you know Bill is entering his 19th football season at
? He’s been covering the ‘Cats longer than some
of our players have been alive…(if he’s reading this, Bill feel free to jab me
on air in return sometime this season, I’ll be expecting it…) Texas
In anticipation of the fall camp and the coming season I would like to take a look at the storylines I’m most excited to see unfold this season. And you know me, I love Top 10 lists so here are my Top 10 things to watch for in 2012…
#10 - Special Teams
I think it’s flown under the radar a bit, but in the past few seasons the Bobcats have been really good at returning punts and kicks. Did you know that
has had at least one kickoff return or one punt return for a TD in each of the
past four seasons? From Karrington Bush
to DaMarcus Griggs and last year Isaiah Battle and Andy Erickson the ‘Cats have
made opposing special teams units nervous.
Speaking of punting, the Bobcats will start just their fourth different punter since 2003 this season while place kicker Will Johnson (who could also do some punting for the Bobcats) will prepare for his second season kicking field goals and handling kickoff duties. Johnson was 13-24 on FGs as a freshman (5 FGs from 45 yards or further) and had 17 touchbacks on kickoffs.
#9 - The Running Back Stable
I don’t think many people thought that by the end of the season last year that Terrence Franks, a redshirt freshman who’s career high season yardage in high school was 688 yards, would’ve led the Bobcats in rushing but he did. The former track star from Angleton had 863 yards with a 5.9 yards per carry average and 9 TDs. An explosive back, Franks had 8 rushes of 20 yards or more including runs of 74, 58 and 22 yards at SE-Louisiana en route to a 234 yard day against the Lions, a
record. Marcus Curry (when healthy) has
proven to be a playmaker as well finishing third on the team in all-purpose
yards last season in limited action racking up 736 yards (63 yards/game). Chris Nutall looked good in the Spring and
with Dexter Imade returning from injury this season, the Bobcats should have
plenty of options in the backfield and those running backs will serve a crucial
component of Texas
State ’s spread option
#8 - Pass Rush
When training camp opened last season, not many knew who Michael Ebbit was. He was a transfer from Texas A&M where he really didn’t get the chance to play. He wasn’t listed on the two-deep going into the opener at Texas Tech and was thought of being just “a guy”. It didn’t take long for Ebbit to shed that label, totaling 11.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. Consider that the season before that the Bobcat team had 13 sacks TOTAL. Problem is, last season was the only one for Ebbit in a Bobcat uniform and
is left looking to replace that
production. Texas State
Defensive Coordinator Craig Naivar is known for having an aggressive defense, looking to get pressure on the quarterback from all angles, blitzing linebackers, corners and safeties. While that shouldn’t change this season, the more the ‘Cats can get pressure with their front four, the more other defenders can drop back in coverage and the defense as a whole will be more effective.
With the loss of Ebbit, Bobcat coaches hit the recruiting trail to bring in some beef upfront and around the edges, evident by the signings of Kamu Taulelei, Jaryl Mamea and Thomas Evans. With the returns of DE Jordan Norfleet (32 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks) and Blake McColloch (18/3.0/1.0) among others, the ‘Cats front four will look to bring the heat against opposing QBs in 2012, and against some pass-heavy offenses they’ll need to do just that. Also look for Bobcat tight end Chase Harper to get some snaps at defensive end in obvious passing down situations…
#7 - The New Guys
We just touched on a couple in Taulelei and Evans but that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Between last year’s redshirts, incoming JUCO transfers and a few freshman (assuming a good chunk of freshman will be redshirted this season), the Bobcats will be as deep as they’ve ever been.
A lot of coaches have expressed excitement about RS Fr. Linebacker Joshua ‘E Robinson who had an impressive spring and fellow RS Fr Matt Freeman is expected to start on the offensive line. The true freshman recruits, such as OL Ryan Melton and DB Martell Summers (a pair of three-star recruits) could be players to watch out for as well should the coaches choose not to red-shirt them.
Bottom line is Texas State is getting an influx of talent like it never has before, and the coaching staff, the move to the FBS and renovations at Bobcat Stadium have all played a huge part. Can’ wait to see it translate onto the field…
#6 - The Schedule
One could argue that incoming recruits are being sold on
’s schedule as
well. College Football is an event and
prospective student athletes love nothing more than to perform in front of sold-out
crowds and against the best the sport has to offer. The Bobcats have never played more than two
FBS schools in a season in the history of the program. Well, Texas
State IS an FBS school now. Just compare
this year’s schedule to last
year’s. (An in-state Big XII school is
coming to San Marcos!)
In road games last season,
’s opposition averaged just over
18,000 fans (a number inflated by the opener at Texas Tech, take away that game
the average plummets to under 11,300).
The teams the Bobcats will visit this season combined to average nearly
25,000 fans a game. The Bobcats will
play two bowl teams this season BOTH here in Texas State San Marcos
( Nevada and
You will not look at
’s 2012 schedule this season and
think of the word cupcake. This is going
to be a tough yet challenging and fun schedule.
In the words of NFL linebacker Bart Scott…well, you
know. Texas State
We’ll round out the top 10 in the next blog coming soon. Until then…Eat ‘Em Up!
- Brant (email@example.com)