Preview 2017: Texas State Bobcats
Previewing and looking ahead at the Texas State Bobcats season – and what you need to know.
What You Need To Know About The Texas State Offense
Can Mississippi State transfer Damian Williams be the answer at quarterback? Are there any playmakers? Can the O start to get things moving with eight starters back and an improvement at QB?
The Bobcats need to be far better in every area, especially up from for a line that gave up a whopping 44 sacks, 105 tackles for loss and did nothing for the nation’s worst running game. Three starters return, and Aaron Brewer is a good one up front, but if this group isn’t better, forget about any major improvements.
The receiving corps returns experienced, with veterans who should do more if Williams can find his groove early on. The backs are okay – leading rusher Stedman Mayberry is back – but they need room to move.
Biggest Key To The Texas State Offense
Offensive line, offensive line, offensive line. Nothing else matters if the Texas State front five doesn’t block better. Defenses rented space in the Bobcat backfield – the skill guys never, ever had time to work. There’s decent upside at receiver, leading rusher Stedman Mayberry is back, and Williams should shine with time, but can the line give them any semblance of help?
What You Need To Know About The Texas State Defense
The secondary was a disaster, there wasn’t any pass rush, and there weren’t enough big plays to make up for the problems. When push came to shove, the Bobcats were pushed and shoved, with the worst red zone D in the country, and with a run defense that gave up 222 yards per game.
The linebacking corps should be the strength, with Bryan London one of the Sun Belt’s best tacklers, with Gabs Loyd and Frankie Griffin decent veterans to help the cause. The secondary needs the most help with three starters gone and Anthony Taylor not exactly a No. 1 shutdown corner.
There are options up front with a decent rotation at end, but there’s no bulk whatsoever at tackle – one of the team’s thinnest spots in terms of depth. There’s size in the recruiting class, and with JUCO transfer Sami Awad – they all have to play a big role – literally – right away.
Biggest Key To The Texas State Defense
Get into the backfield. – The Bobcats have to do something, anything, to bother quarterbacks and slow down the run. Last year, they came up with just nine sacks spread out throughout the season. Tackles for loss weren’t quite as big a problem, but there wasn’t any consistency, coming up with 12 against ULM and no more than eight against anyone else.
Texas State Will Be Far Better If …
It finds one thing it can do at a high level. Where’s the identity? What do teams have to prepare for? The Bobcats had the nation’s third-worst offense, were miserable defensively, and were bad on special teams – other than that, everything was great.
First, the Bobcats have to cut down on the mistakes. They aren’t good enough to commit close to seven penalties per game or turn the ball over as much as they did. Limit the errors, come up with something it can do well offensively, and start controlling the clock. That, at least, would be a start.
Best Texas State Offensive Player
OG/C Aaron Brewer, Soph. – While the team needs dynamic playmakers to step up and shine – the skill guys have to be more explosive – the versatile Brewer is the key to the line. An all-star guard or center, he’s not massive at 6-3 and 270 pounds, but he can move well and is strong for his size. He’s not going to flatten anyone, but he’ll get the job done inside.
2. QB Damian Williams, Sr.
3. WR Tyler Watts, Jr.
4. WR Elijah King, Sr.
5. RB Stedman Mayberry, Jr.
Best Texas State Defensive Player
LB Bryan London, Soph. – One of the best tacklers in the Sun Belt, he ripped it up as a redshirt freshman with 141 tackles with 8.5 tackles for loss, hitting the double-digit mark in stops in every game but two, highlighted by a 19-stop day against Idaho along with an 18-tackle day against Arkansas State. The 6-2, 232-pounder is a big presence who can run – he’s the total package.
2. LB Gabe Loyd, Jr.
3. DE Ishmael Davis, Jr.
4. DE Jordan Mittie, Soph.
5. S Brandon McDowell, Sr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Damian Williams, Sr. – The Bobcat offense needs playmakers, and it needs guys who throw a scare into defenses on a weekly basis. The O needs to move, and that’s where Williams comes in to do a little bit of everything for the attack. The 6-1, 215-pound transfer from Mississippi State would’ve been in the starting hunt at an SEC level, but that’s Nick Fitzgerald’s job in Starkville. With running back skills in the open field, a solid passing arm, along with the maturity to handle the pressure of carrying the offense, he’s the key to the season.
The Texas State Season Will Be A Success If …
The Bobcats win five games. The team still needs more talent and needs to be bulked up more in several spots – it’ll be too tough to make a huge jump into bowl eligibility. Even so, with Houston Baptist, ULM, New Mexico State and Georgia State all at home. there has to be some hope to win at least three of those – that would make it a better year from 2016. Beat Coastal Carolina on the road, and maybe come up with an upset, and five wins are possible.
Key Game To The Texas State Season
Sept. 23 vs. UTSA – Realistically, the Bobcats should be 1-2 at this point – beating Houston Baptist and losing at Colorado and to probable preseason Sun Belt favorite Appalachian State. Beating UTSA would be a good measuring stick to see how far the program has come. It’s not a conference game, but it’s the next-door neighbor showdown for local bragging rights. The two programs are going after many of the same guys – a win here would help.
2016 Texas State Fun Stats
– 1st Half Scoring: Opponents 304 – Texas State 93
– Sacks: Opponents 44 for 310 yards – Texas State 9 for 48 yards
– Rushing Yards: Opponents 2,668 – Texas State 989