2012 Spring Recap: Texas State

The 2010 calendar year was not k
The transition continues for Texas State. After spending the 2011 season as an
FCS Independent, the Bobcats will be provisional members of the WAC this fall,
meaning Dennis Franchione's program will be trading out Tarleton State, Lamar
and Sam Houston State for Idaho, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State.
Texas State went 6-6 in 2011.
Coach: Dennis Franchione
Last season: 6-6 overall
(minimum of seven starts in 2011)
Offense (6): WR Isaiah Battle, TE Kyle Doll, RB Terrence Franks, TE Chase
Harper, QB Shaun Rutherford, OT Thad Watkins.
Defense (8): LB Joplo Bartu, FS Xavier
Daniels, CB Craig Mager, DT Blake McColloch, SS Jason McLean, CB Darryl
Morris, DE Jordan Norfleet, DT Deshun Williams,
Special teams (1): PK Will Johnson
Despite the notable jump in competition, there is plenty of reason for optimism
in San Marcos. The Bobcats signed the WAC's top-ranked class in February, which
included several prospects with offers from BCS AQ programs.
We caught up with's
Brent Thibodeaux for the latest on Texas State.
The Bobcats find themselves in the unenviable situation of having question marks
along both lines and facing a much tougher slate of competition than they ever
have before.
"It's not what you want to walk into the season with when you've got problems in
the trenches," Thibodeaux said. "It is a problem, so the coaches are trying to
fix that. They got some good high school talent that they hope -- some of them
you want to redshirt, some of them you think they can play now.
"Now you're playing with the big boys in FBS and you're going to have a 12-game
schedule that each week you're going to need quality depth. You can't just go in
there with a few guys that you hope can help you out. You need 10 or 11 quality
Right tackle Thad Watkins is the only returning player with seven or more starts
on Texas State's offensive line last season, while Charlie Will Tuttle started a
handful of games at center. Beyond that, the Bobcats head into fall camp looking
for three new starters up front.
"They're working a bunch of different guys back and forth and, during the
spring, they were mixing and matching players, seeing how versatile they could
be," Thibodeaux said.
Depth is the Bobcats' biggest problem on the defensive line. Three starters
return -- end Jodan Norfleet and tackles Blake McColloch and Deshun Williams --
but there isn't much proven depth behind them.
"Back in the 2011 season, Texas State really didn't have a formidable four-man
front that could rush the passer and put any pressure on the football,"
Thibodeaux said. "Defensive line was a big issue. They hope some of the JUCO
guys they brought in mid-term are going to help ease the pain a little bit and
get some pressure on the quarterback."
Many expected rising-junior quarterback Tyler Arndt to transfer following the
2011 season. Shaun Rutherford started eight of Texas State's 12 games last fall
and was widely expected to be the team's full-time starter this fall. Arndt, to
his credit, stuck around and made a big impression during spring football.
"Tyler's really taken in exactly what offensive coordinator Mike Schultz has
been teaching him," Thibodeaux said. "You can tell that Tyler's gotten more
confident in his game, in his injured knee that he's been rehabbing. He just
looks like the kid that came out of Cuero that everyone knew -- he was a
slinger, a good pocket passer, a guy that could read defenses and lead you down
the field to score."
In fact, there's talk that Arndt may have worked his way to the forefront of the
Bobcats' quarterback conversation.
"Sitting on the outside looking in," Thibodeaux said, "I think he's got to at
least be your 1A, 1B starter coming into fall camp. He just looked like the more
reliable option."
Heading into its first season in the FBS, the biggest question mark with Texas
State is on defense.
"You have question marks at linebacker," Thibodeaux said. "You have some guys in
there that do good jobs, but it's hard to see them as good fits for the 4-2-5
defense. You're just asking a little more than what they can do in terms of a
linebacker in that defense. I think Texas State's going to get some help with a
couple of JUCO guys that are coming in at linebacker.
"You've also got to go with the front four, too. It's just a gaping hole right
now. You lost Michael Ebbitt, the guy who was your sack leader, and you need to
fill that hole as well as providing depth along the line."
• Missed Significant Time: CB Craig Mager (broken arm), QB
Shaun Rutherford (shoulder).
• Position Switches: Jeff Clermond (OL to DL), Adley
Eshraghipour (OL to DL), Chase Harper (TE to DE).
Schedule Note: Texas State won't leave the state of Texas at
all in September; they open on the road against Houston, but close out the month
with home games against Texas Tech, Stephen F. Austin and Nevada. While
competition will ease up once the team reaches October, four of their team's
next six games will be on the road.
• Miscellaneous: QB Tyler Arndt completed 13-of-19 passes for
218 yards during Texas State's spring game. ... Former Texas A&M OL commit
Adrian Bellard signed with the Bobcats in February and should crack the team's
two-deep if he qualifies academically.
WAY-TOO-EARLY LINE: Texas Tech -16.5