Texas State quarterback Tim Hawkins, with ball, runs behind running back Dexter Imade during a fall practice. Texas State sports information photo.
Defense and depth are the watchwords this fall for the Texas State football team, which finished preseason workouts next week.
With school already begun and the season set to start Saturday at Houston, the Bobcats now work into their regular season routine. The Bobcats are going for their third straight winning season for the first time since 1984, when they finished their fifth straight winning season and their 19th winning season in 23 years.
In recent years, the Bobcats relied on big-play offensive performers to bail out an inconsistent defense. But the roles appear to be reversed in 2010. The Bobcats are deep on the defensive side, but they’re inexperienced at quarterback and uncertain at running back.
“The big thing on the defensive side of the ball is the coaches who have been here for two seasons teaching the same system and teaching techniques,” Texas State head coach Brad Wright said. “That continuity of the staff is how you improve as a football team. As a result, (the players) have really matured and gotten better.”
The Bobcats have 131 games of starting experience returning to the defense, 58 of them in the secondary and 48 at linebacker. The most experience defensive players are linebacker Marcus Clark (34 career starts), free safety Kenneth Hampton, strong safety T.P. Miller, linebacker Brian Iwuji (14) and defensive tackle Adley Eshraghipour (14), all of whom have move than a year’s worth of starts entering the season.
Though the defensive line is the least experienced portion of the defense, Wright said numerous players who have emerged to make that unit at least solid.
“Up front, we have eight to 10 guys who can play without any drop off,” Wright said. “We also have all of our linebackers back from last season except for Joe Bell. Most of them are sophomores and juniors, so we will have them here for a couple of seasons. We have the same thing in the secondary with a bunch of guys who have played a lot of football for us.”
There seemed to be little doubt that Bradley George’s departure with graduation would move sophomore Tim Hawkins into the quarterback position. The coaching staff has been high on Hawkins since his redshirt freshman season, when he operated as the scout quarterback.
“We feel like the quarterback who has been on campus during the spring, summer and fall has made huge strides as far as knowing the offense inside and out,” Wright said. “Tim Hawkins has done a great job and just needs to keep getting better each day. We are young behind him with Tyler (Arndt) being a true freshman, but he is coming on and probably will be thrown into the fire this season.”
The Bobcats have worked their way through some injuries on the offensive line and at the running back position. With the status of Karrington Bush and Frank Reddic uncertain, the Bobcats lost Marcus Curry to an Achilles’ heel injury last week.
But the offensive line is deep and strong, wide receivers Da’Marcus Griggs and Daren Dillard appear to be poised for big years, and Wright said he likes the work ethic he has seen from the team.
“The guys demonstrated that they worked hard last spring and carried it over into the summer,” Wright said. “We know the effort is going to be there this year, Now, it is just a matter if we can put it together as a team.”
After opening the season at Houston Saturday, Texas State returns to Bobcat Stadium for three straight home games against Southern Arkansas on Sept. 11, Cal Poly on Sept. 18 and Southern Utah on September 25.Email | Print