Will things get better for Texas State football?
Texas State’s first five years in the FBS have seen its ebbs and flows. The Bobcats went 6-6 in 2013 and 7-5 in 2014 but couldn’t play in a bowl game due to its transition period. They went 5-29 in the last three seasons. Will this season get any better?
Everett Withers enters his third season as Texas State head coach after going 2-10 in back-to-back seasons.
Withers brought in Chris Woods from Oklahoma to be his new defensive coordinator. Woods will have something to work with this season with experienced defensive backs and a line that returns everyone with the exception of their top tackler, Jordan Mittie, who is now at Kansas State as a grad transfer.
Last year was a rebuilding period for the secondary, having to replace a cornerback, safety and three reserves. They return their top three tacklers from that unit this year, making the secondary the strength of the Bobcats defense.
Like the defensive line, the O-line returns all but one starter. Last year, four freshmen made their debuts and the Bobcats averaged 134 rushing yards per game, an improvement for them. The Bobcats went with three running backs, combining for 1,093 yards. Anthony Taylor (4.0 YPG), Anthony Smith (4.8 YPG) and Robert Brown (4.0 YPG), all return for 2018.
As far as quarterbacks go, sophomore Willie Lee Jones, a backup last season, will be in competition with redshirt freshman Jaylen Gipson and true freshman Tyler Vitt for the starting spot. Jones is the favorite but regardless of who wins, the starting quarterback will be working with an experience receiving corp. They do have five receivers who had at least 100 yards last season.
The Bobcats will begin the season with their first ever meeting with Rutgers. They will then try to go 10-0 all-time against Texas Southern in their home opener. They’ll start the Sun Belt slate against South Alabama, to whom they lost a close one 24-20 last year.
Like USA, UTSA and Georgia Southern are two games that ended close and could go either way this season. While those games have potential of swinging around, there are other trends that would need to change for Bobcats. Louisiana and Appalachian State are undefeated against Texas State, Troy has won six straight games and Arkansas State is 4-1 with an average margin of 17 points.
Then there’s homecoming against New Mexico state, which goes like the Bobcats’ seasons. The first two good seasons included a win over the Aggies, while the last three meetings resulted in double-digit losses.
There’s nowhere to go but up for Texas State, but I’m sure that was said last season.