A 7-29 record in three years in San Marcos spelt the end for former coach Everett Withers. Texas State is the type of program that would seem to have a high ceiling because of its advantageous location for recruiting, but the Bobcats have had just one winning record since transitioning to the FBS in 2011.
The new head coach is former West Virginia, Texas A&M, and Cal OC Jake Spavital, and a while a lot is back from a really good defense last year, rebuilding the offense is key if Spavital want to try and reach a bowl, something that the Bobcats haven’t done since 2014.
The new OC is former Montana HC and Oklahoma State analyst Bob Stitt, but he won’t get a lot to work with as the Bobcats had one one of the worst offenses in the nation last year.
Last year’s starter Tyler Vitt returns (seven touchdowns, ten picks), but I’d expect JUCO transfer Gresch Jensen to challenge for the starting role, and with Vitt’s poor performance last year and a new coaching staff, I wouldn’t be shocked if it was time for a change at the QB spot.
The receiving corps has experience at the very least, seven guys that caught eight or more passes last year are back, including Jeremiah Haydal (326 yards, 20.4 YPC, but prone to drops).
The run game wasn’t as bad as the passing game, but it wasn’t good either. The good news is every guy with over 75 yards is back, but none were impressive with maybe the only exception being Robert Brown, who didn’t see many touches.
The offensive line was downright awful last year, but you can chalk some of that down to injuries. The only bright spot was C Aaron Brewer and he is back, but there won’t be much around him.
This unit should progress to the mean a little bit even when dealing with the system change but will certainly still be in the lower half of Sun Belt offenses.
The defense was frankly amazing last year, one of the best in the G5 (92.5 PFF grade). 2018 Texas Tech DC Zac Spavital is the new DC, and in just one year on the job at TTU Zac brought one of the worst defenses in the country to an average one, which is a lot harder than it sounds.
Pretty much everyone is back from an exciting defense, including the top 12 tacklers. The linebacking corps is excellent, led by seniors Frankie Griffin, Bryan London II, and Nikolas Daniels (288 tackles, 17.5 TFL combined)
All four starters are back in an awesome secondary including sophomore Jarron Morris, who racked up six PBUs as a freshman. Josh Newman, JaShon Waddy, and Anthony J Taylor are three other great players that should be in consideration for All-Sun Belt honors.
The defensive line is probably the “worst” of the three units, but still good by Sun Belt standards, and was certainly better against the run than rushing the passer.
A lot is back from a unit that was already great, and this may be the best defense among the bottom four conferences.
I don’t know what to feel about a team that has a big giant question mark on offense and then a huge thumbs up on the defensive side of the ball.
CSD Prime takes coaching changes into account and might project a little regression to the mean on defense after an outstanding year but this is one of the few times I disagree with the model is at projects the Bobcats to drop (albeit just a couple of spots) in their ranking. Although, the model does project the Bobcats to go 5-7, which is a step forward from their 3-9 mark a year ago.
The schedule isn’t awful with Wyoming at home giving the Bobcats a chance at a 2-2 record in non-conference play. Opportunities for wins are there, and with six games projected to be within a touchdown, the opportunity for a bowl run in year one is surely there.
|Date||Opponent||Opp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|29-Aug||at Texas A&M||11||-25.9|
|26-Oct||at Arkansas State||76||-12.1|
|23-Nov||at Appalachian State||52||-15.5|
|30-Nov||at Coastal Carolina||128||3.5|
Average Projected Record: 5.1 wins, 6.9 losses (3.5 wins, 4.5 losses)