Last night, Damian Williams started and participated in three drives in the first quarter. The results were two punts, a fumble, and 41 yards. Watching from his front row seat, Everett Withers made a change, probably out of desperation, turning to true freshman Willie Jones. In his first three drives, the Bobcats accumulated 191 yards, and the 'Cats drove inside the Louisiana Lafayette 40 three times including once inside the Cajun ten.
Suddenly Texas State's offense became dynamic, and for the first time all night the Ragin Cajun defense was scrambling. In a stroke of logic, Withers went with Jones the rest of the evening, until Jones left the game with an injury in the fourth quarter. Those 191 yards were the second most put up in a half against an FBS school by the Bobcats this season, and that came in a little over a quarter.
Jones was responsible for nine plays of ten yards or more. Six of those plays went for twenty or more yards. In six games Texas State accumulated 26 of those plays total. When Jones breaks the pocket, he's a fluid runner with excellent vision and good speed. Thursday night was his best passing performance in his brief career with 197 yards on twelve of eighteen attempts.
There are of course issues. Jones turned the ball over twice, he threw into traffic on occasions, made freshman-type mistakes like forgetting about the play clock and trying to do too much on broken plays, but you can ride that edge give his big-play potential. Texas State needs all those it can get.
The Bobcats fell to 1-6, 0-3 in Sun Belt play. Clearly Withers rebuild is taking time, and justifiably so. He'd be wise to get Jones on the field as much as he can to build towards 2018. By then Damian Williams will have graduated and this young team might be ready to compete in the league.