Say what you will about grad transfer Damian Williams, but he isn't averse to pushing the ball downfield. That's something that Texas State struggled with last season. Part of that was due to protection issues and part was due to skill position issues, but regardless, the Bobcats failed to take the top of defenses which meant those defenses could load up on the run. The result was Texas State ranking dead last in yards per rush at 2.3 per carry.
This spring new offensive coordinator Zak Kuhr has emphasized the running game. The results were evident in the spring game with Texas State's running backs Anthony Taylor and Robert Brown finding room. It's a chicken and egg question as to which leads to what. Does Williams' ability to throw the ball downfield open up the run or does the improved running attack force defenses to crowd the box. Either way Williams averaged 12.3 yards per completion and 7.8 yards per attempt. Those were yard plus improvements over last years admittedly larger sample size.
Williams also threw for four touchdowns and no picks in the scrimmage format. Thurman Morbley continues to grow into a solid target after an impressive freshman year. Morbley caught five passes for 45 yards while Mason Hays caught four for 82. 45 of Hays' yards came on an absolute rope from Williams for a score. Swiss army knife Gabe Schrade was held out of Saturdays festivities as was running back Stedmon Mayberry.
Williams is a raw, strong armed talent and his running ability is a potential game changer for the 'Cats. He kept his eyes downfield on Saturday and let his arm loose a couple of times. Are there times that Williams looks as though he has a limited idea as to where the ball is going? Yes. But he also more than flashed the ability to fit the ball into windows and more important the ability and desire to take chances downfield.
It should also be noted that Texas State's offensive line looked improved over last year's glorified screen door. Cedric Gambrell looks like a serviceable tackle after moving over from the defensive side in 2016. He, Trystan Myzerak, Robert Ballard and Josiah Washington are long, lean athletes who move pretty well. The Bobcats are already ahead of last year at tackle with depth and ability. Washington has played both guard and tackle this spring, whether he's bulky enough to move people inside is a question. Guards Kregg Lemons and Jaquel Pierce are just ok inside. Aaron Brewer continues to be the best lineman in the group at center.
That group benefited from the emphasis on running the football and should continue to do so in the fall.