How do nearly identical two-win seasons, each with wins over an FCS team and a G5 program, feel like progress? We give you the 2017 Texas State Bobcats.
Conference Record 1-7
Scoring Offense 17.3 (123rd out of 130) Scoring Defense 33.6 (105th out of 130)
Points Per Play .227 (125th out of 130) Points Allowed Per Play .496 (109th out of 130)
Turnover Margin -15
Depth or lack thereof
Texas State was young and then they dissolved. In year two of the Everett Withers' Texas State reboot, he trotted out one of the youngest teams in college football. That was out of necessity after defections, injury, and other attrition crippled the program. Fifteen of the offensive two-deep were freshman or sophomores. Sixteen of the defensive two-deep were first or second-year players.
As the season wore on, the lack of depth reared its ugly head, and Withers was trotting out pimple-faced teenagers to deal with their conference slate. In year three, the 'Cats should benefit from the growing pains with the experience gained this season.
Closer, still no cigar
The Bobcats were more competitive this season, but those close calls didn't translate into wins. At least they weren't boat raced as often.
The Bobcats trailed defending Pac 12 South Champion Colorado 14-0 at the half before falling 37-3. Texas State came within a yard of tying Appalachian State, a team that beat the Bobcats by 25 in 2016. In November, Texas State lost to Georgia State and New Mexico State, two bowl squads, by a combined thirteen points. New Mexico State beat the 'Cat by 40 in 2016; a better Aggie team escaped San Marcos with a ten point win.
After the disaster that was the 2016 season, when Texas State could make a legitimate claim as the worst team in college football, nobody in San Marcos wants 'Bama, but maybe the pieces Withers is accumulating are narrowing the gap in the Sun Belt. While they probably aren't a bowl team in 2018, with another full recruiting class, perhaps as many as 36 of 44 players from the two-deep, and a number of redshirts from the 2017 class, Withers' turned his roster over and done so with bigger frames and more athleticism.
It's up to Withers to teach them to win. If not, someone else will try.
What pieces are in place?
The skill talent in San Marcos continues to develop. Hutch White, Tyler Watts, Caleb Twyford, and Mason Hayes are all keepers outside, Anthony D. Taylor, Robert Brown, and Anthony Smith are good backs.
Aaron Brewer is a foundational piece on the offensive line; Texas State would do well to find him a spot, whether at center or guard and leave him be.
Jordan Mittie grew 30 pounds last offseason, and he grew up as a player this fall on the defensive line.
Bryan London, Hal Vinson, and Frankie Griffin were all players at linebacker. London didn't endure a sophomore slump, and even though his numbers didn't match his 2016 levels, he still competed at a high level.
Jashon Waddy played most of this season with one arm, he's the 'Cats best cover corner and might be the toughest dude in Hays County.
What pieces need replacing/finding?
The development of Willie Jones III might be the most important offseason objective in Everett Withers tenure. Unless the Bobcats bring in another grad transfer, or another from a roster of young quarterbacks steps up, Jones will get the keys. His raw talent is evident, he's a big play waiting to happen, but again, he's raw.
In that same vein, the Bobcats need to find a backup quarterback or two.
The 'Cats played many young offensive linemen, but few established themselves as building blocks moving ahead.
Though they didn't utilize him enough in our estimation, the Bobcats will miss tight end, Gabe Schrade. The Bobcats lose fellow tight end Chris French as well.
Help on the way
|Miles Macadory||OL||Sachse, TX||6'6"||290||2-Stars||5.3||11/10/17|
|Ladarius Anthony||DB||Cypress, TX||6'1"||170||3-Stars||5.5||11/4/17|
|Pierce Withers||DB||Austin, TX||5'11"||185||2-Star||5.4||11/3/17|
|Jah'marae Sheread||WR||Cypress, TX||5'7"||160||2-Stars||5.4||11/2/17|
|Blake Aragon||WR||Stephenville, TX||6'4"||185||3-Stars||5.5||10/11/17|
|Justin Wright||LB||Abilene, TX||6'2"||215||2-Stars||5.4||8/5/17|
|Seth Caillouet||TE||Covington, LA||6'3"||225||2-Stars||5.2||8/4/17|
|Jackson Lanam||TE||Corpus Christi, TX||6'4"||215||2-Stars||5.4||8/3/17|
|Nathalohn Nanai||DE||Killeen, TX||6'2"||265||2-Stars||5.3||7/26/17|
|Peyton Fifield||OL||The Woodlands, TX||6'4"||260||2-Stars||5.3||7/1/17|
|Jarron Morris||DB||Orange, TX||5'9"||165||2-Stars||5.3||6/26/17|
|Jake Lynch||LB||Fort Bend, TX||6'3"||215||2-Stars||5.4||6/25/17|
|Drake Centers||OL||Tatum, TX||6'3"||300||3-Stars||5.5||6/24/17|
|Kylar Cooks||OL||Texarkana, TX||6'5"||255||2-Stars||5.3||6/24/17|
|Morgan Moore||OL||Midwest City, OK||6'5"||270||2-Stars||5.3||6/24/17|
|Jalen Momerelle||OL||Manvel, TX||6'5"||298||2-Stars||5.4||6/24/17|
|Taj Bickham||DB||Allen, TX||6'0"||163||2-Stars||5.3||6/24/17|
|C.J. Johnson||DB||Allen, TX||6'0"||180||2-Stars||5.3||6/24/17|
|Auston Deason||DB||Pearland, TX||6'0"||173||2-Stars||5.3||6/24/17|
|T.J. Graham||WR||Mansfield, TX||6'1"||177||3-Stars||5.5||6/23/17|
|Brandon Johnson||DB||Tyler, TX||6'0"||185||2-Stars||5.3||6/21/17|
Give it to Withers, he's been working the channels and has a nearly full class by the mid-December. The Bobcats are ranked 90th by 24/7, third in the Sun Belt.
The class is beefy with six offensive linemen and also has a ton of secondary help. Blake Aragon is the kind of lanky edge target that causes huge matchup issues, and Drake Centers is a mauler of an interior lineman.
If the Bobcats beat Rutgers to start off the 2018 season, we should all rush a field near your whereabouts, and then officially discontinue the Scarlet Knight program.
The Bobcats then get a visit from Texas Southern, travel to rival UTSA in another bedsheet bash, and finish up non-conference with a former conference foe, New Mexico State.