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Blogging Maroon & Gold: Top 10 Preview (Part 2)

Written by Brant Freeman on 4:03 PM



As promised Bobcat fans our countdown of the Top 10 things to look for in the 2012 season continues…for numbers 6-10 click here or scroll down I guess…By the way before I get to 1-5, I’d like to direct you to my new twitter account: @Brant_Freeman.  Follow me during the season, I will post pictures from our road trips as well as fill you on the week’s 2-deep for both the Bobcats and their opponents!  Check these out for a preview as to what I’ll be sharing on twitter…


#5 Offensive Line

D.J. Hall, Michael Chambers, Jon Vernon, Steven Kenney are all gone (DJ getting ready for camp himself in Jacksonville).  Those four seniors from last year’s team leave voids at both starting guard positions, left tackle and center. 
Just as the Bobcats addressed the defensive line in the most recent recruiting class, the coaches also put a big emphasis on the offensive line signing four freshman and one junior college transfer (Tyler Potter).  In addition to the new o-lineman, there will be seven players who are coming off of redshirt years PLUS two players (Adley Eshragipour and Jeff Clermond) making the transition from defensive lineman to offensive lineman. 
Of these 14 “new” players on the o-line, the average height is 6’3 and average weight is 287 pounds with 9 players 6’4 or taller and five tipping the scales at over 295 pounds.  That’s a lot of beef not counting returning starters Charlie Will Tuttle (who earned a full scholarship after his impressive red-shirt freshman season last year) and Thaddeus Watkins.
The Bobcats will certainly need the depth to go up against big, fast and skilled d-lines of their FBS opponents this season and help pave the way for a rushing attack which averaged 195 yards per game last season, but more importantly keep the quarterback upright.  The o-line gave up 21 sacks last year, 7 fewer than the season before.  If that number goes down even further this season against this schedule you can count that as a successful year for men up front.

#4 - The Quarterback Position

Speaking of quarterbacks…there will be an intense competition for the starting job this fall.  Shaun Rutherford and Tyler Ardnt would appear to be the front-runners for the job, Rutherford after starting the majority of Texas State’s games last year (12 TD, 4 INT, 144.7 efficiency rating and over 1,600 yards of total offense) and Ardnt because he has 8 career starts himself and according to the coaches made some huge strides during the Spring.  And there’s also JUCO transfer Duke Delancelotti (’12 Spring Game: 10-16, 149 yds, 2 TD) and Jordan Moore who’s capable of making huge plays with his feet, always important in this particular offense.
As for who gets the job, your guess is as good as mine.  If there’s a favorite right now the coaches haven’t said as much but that’s probably because they’re looking to make a full and complete evaluation over the next month before making that decision.  I would also venture that we will see more than one quarterback man the offense this season with substitutions made based on certain offensive packages and game situations.
I don’t think the expectations are for the starter to be a 300-yard-a-game passer with 35-40 pass attempts, but rather one who A) protects the football, B) is pocket savvy, C) makes the right reads in the option and D) protects the football.

#3 - Chase Harper
If the quarterback is going to rack up some big passing numbers, odds are Chase Harper will be involved.  Texas State’s 2nd year tight-end hasn’t played a down of FBS football yet has been named pre-season 2nd team All-WAC and to the John Mackey Award Watch List, an honor given to the nation’s top tight end at the end of the season. 
Harper is deceptively quick despite his large frame (6’5” 260 lbs).   He’s an extremely powerful run blocker and may have the best hands on the team.  On top of that (as we mentioned in #8 of the countdown) the coaches are looking to use Harper on defense in obvious passing situations at defensive end to send him after opposing quarterbacks. 
His numbers from last year (20 catches, 287 yards, 3 TDs) look modest, but keep in mind that Bobcat tight ends the previous three seasons COMBINED had 34 catches for 331 yards and 4 TDs.  I would expect Harper’s stats to be even better this season despite the step-up in competition.
There are a lot of players fans should be excited to see this season but Chase Harper could be the best of them.  May even play well enough to earn a spot on this list.  Watch out for #19 (Chase is changing his number from 88 to 19). 

#2 - Bobcat Stadium




I’ll keep this brief in order to let the pictures speak (mostly) for themselves.  A lot of work has been done to get Bobcat Stadium ready for the program’s FBS debut.  With the seating capacity increasing by about 13,000 and Texas State’s killer home schedule, attendance records will be smashed this season.  The TEXAS…STATE chants will be louder than ever.  State-of-the-art audio and video boards, brand new amenities…everything has been done to give Texas State fans a true college football experience.  I don’t think they will be disappointed.

#1 - The Notoriety

With at least four games on television the Bobcats will receive plenty of exposure in their inaugural FBS season and every week a new challenge will arise and will give Texas State Football the opportunity to prove itself in the FBS.  They will travel from the east coast (Navy) to the west coast (San Jose State).  The ‘Cats will battle the Big XII (Texas Tech), the Mountain West Conference (Nevada, New Mexico) and even square off against a former Southland foe (Stephen F. Austin).  Texas State will play into December (New Mexico State) and will go to war against their I-35 rivals for the first time ever on the gridiron (UTSA).  College Football fans from nearly every corner of the country will get to know the name Texas State
The 2012 season is the most highly anticipated season in the history of the program and one that will never be forgotten.  Welcome to FBS football Bobcat fans and get comfortable, because we’re in for a long and extremely fun ride.

Eat ‘Em Up!
- Brant (bf17@txstate.edu)

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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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