The three year Everett Withers era at Texas State is now over. 2018 drove the last nail in the coffin of the failed regime with a 3-9 season. Let’s briefly peel back the curtain on the Bobcat season and take a look at whatever is ahead in San Marvelous.
What went right?
I guess let’s start with the defense. Using the phrase “let’s start with” indicates we’re going on a lengthy journey, sorry if that is misleading. The Bobcats finished fifth in the Sun Belt in total defense, their highest conference finish since 2013 (when they finished fourth in an eight-team league). The ‘Cat’s pass defense improved dramatically from 2017, allowing opposing quarterbacks an average rating of 119.7 vs. last year’s 155.9.
On defense, the Bobcats found some playmakers. Jarron Morris showed up as a true freshman and inserted himself right in the conflict showing a willingness to hit and make plays on the ball. Bryan London continued his stellar Texas State career, and junior Niko Daniels emerged alongside London at linebacker. Add to that Jashon Waddy and Josh Newman and Texas State’s defense stood out.
Offensively the ‘Cats continued to show flashes in fits and starts. Tyler Vitt and Willie Jones both played well at times. Vitt completed 71% of his throws against Louisiana Lafayette for nearly 300 yards in a string of four games where he completed 60% of his throws. Jones did his best Lamar Jackson impersonation vs. Georgia State, the high water mark of the Bobcat’s season.
You could make the argument that Keenen Brown played better than any tight end in college football. Brown made 51 catches with five scores and rushed for two more. The Oklahoma State transfer emerged out of nowhere and gave Texas State a much needed big play threat.
In league, Texas State was the least penalized Sun Belt team. So there’s that.
What went wrong?
In spite of Brown, the Bobcats continued to struggle on offense. Texas State shuffled the offensive line, changed play callers, and swapped out quarterbacks all for little if any improvement. Rewatching Texas State’s 2018 slate, yes, it was painful, I was struck by how horizontal the Bobcats were. The strategy, whether intentional or not, lacked any cutting, decisive edge.
For the third year running Texas State couldn’t run the ball. Technically the ‘Cats improved each year, but Everett Withers never boasted a running game that averaged better than four years a carry. There are two kinds of teams, physical teams and teams that lose, if you want to pinpoint a critical failure, it’s that Texas State’s offense lacked any tangible, physical, identity. Instead, they resorted to hoping they could fool opponents, when they couldn’t, Texas State never a second option.
In three seasons the Bobcats never fielded a serviceable offensive line. Texas State quarterbacks played with an accelerated clock, and the running game suffered. The Bobcats finished dead freaking last in third down conversions, converting just 32%. The defense spent too much time on the field and wore down.
So What Now?
Congrats to Texas State AD Larry Teis for hiring his fourth head coach, you’re a cockroach after the nuclear winter, a survivor with little tangible worth. If football is the front porch of your university, Teis has parked several burnt-out cars and a no trespassing sign for any Texas State fans with any desire to attend.
Texas State welcomes Jake Spavital to run its program; he’s bringing in some exciting staff members, including Bob Stitt and Clay McGuire on the offensive side. At least ‘Cat fans will get to see an offense that is efforting to bring an exciting brand of football to San Marcos.
Lord knows Texas State fans deserve something palatable to watch on fall Saturdays.
Checking our work:
Every August we predict wins and losses for each of our Roundup ball clubs. Once again, we nailed it holistically. We predicted three or four wins, and Texas State got to four. We didn’t exactly knock the specifics out of the park, but we’ll take it.