2013 Texas State Preview - Offense
CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Texas State Bobcats Offense
Texas State Bobcats
Preview 2013 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: The spread attack will undergo a little bit of a change. While there could still be a running quarterback under center, there should be more of a passing element with a strong receiving corps and a promising veteran passer in Tyler Arndt giving it a shot. All the top wide receivers are back and there's a good group of tight ends ready to do more. The line might not be a killer, but it'll be decent for the ground attack with a good veteran base to build around. As long as the deep group of speedy running backs are producing, the offense will move, but consistency is a huge problem.
Star of the offense: Sophomore RB Robert Lowe or sophomore RB Tim Gay
Passing: Tyler Arndt
22-56, 208 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Tim Gay
27 carries, 279 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Andy Erickson
39 catches, 482 yds, 3 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Senior QB Tyler Arndt
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore C Matt Freeman
Best pro prospect: Sophomore OT Adrian Bellard (as a guard)
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Lowe, 2) WR Isaiah Battle, 3) TE Bradley Miller
Strength of the offense: Running Backs, Receivers
Weakness of the offense: Consistency, Downfield Passing Game
The passing game didn't do too much with Shaun Rutherford at the helm – he was more of a runner – and now it'll be up to senior Tyler Arndt to get more things happening down the field. The 6-4, 221-pounder saw a little bit of time in his first season, working mostly in garbage time in the blowout loss to Texas Tech, completing just 39% of his passes on the year for 208 yards and three picks with two of the interceptions coming in the loss to New Mexico. A part-time starter in 2010, he has the experience and he has the arm to start pushing the ball down the field a bit more. While he's not Rutherford as a runner, he's mobile enough to get by.
6-2, 190-pound redshirt freshman Jordan Moore is another good passer who showed this offseason the ability to push hard for the starting job. At the very least he'll see mop-up work this season, but mostly he'll try to be a part of a rotation to give the coaching staff a second option. 6-3, 200-pound redshirt freshman Fred Nixon is another big passer who can move a little bit, and former JUCO transfer Duke DeLancelotti is a 6-1, 195-pound baller who could be used as a desperation emergency option after completing one pass for 13 yards last year.
Watch Out For … Tyler Jones, the likely starting quarterback in the very near future. He fits the mold of the offense with tremendous rushing skills and a decent, accurate arm running for 1,000 yards and 26 touchdowns last season while throwing for 43 scores. A highly decorated high school player, the 6-2, 190-pounder is a dual-threat option with tremendous upside.
Strength: A bit more passing. The offense is always going to revolve around the ground game, but with Arndt the offense can open it up a little bit more and should come up with its share of bigger downfield pass plays.
Weakness: Production. Arndt has seen plenty of action, but he hasn't been all that great. The backup options need lots of work and time, and while there's promise, there's going to be a learning curve.
Outlook: The passing offense only average 200 yards per game, but it wasn't miserable with 17 touchdown passes and eight picks. As long as the quarterbacks are keeping the chains moving and keeping the mistakes to a bare minimum, they'll be doing their jobs. However, it's going to be an ongoing fight to come up with the sure-thing starter.
Unit Rating: 4.5
Leading rusher Marcus Curry is gone, but sophomore Tim Gay returns after finishing third on the team with 279 yards and a score averaging a whopping 10.3 yards per carry. He tore off a 75-yarder against New Mexico State to help the average, showing off the terrific speed to go along with 5-11, 210-pound size. He'll work in a rotation with sophomore Robert Lowe, a 5-10, 200-pound workhorse type who came in last year as one of the team's top recruits and came up with a few nice moments rushing for 76 yards and a score. He can tear off yards in chunks and should average well over five yards per pop.
5-8, 191-pound sophomore Chris Nutall sat out last year after seeing a little bit of time as a true freshman with 71 yards and a score. A good recruit for the program, he's tremendously quick, smart and has the potential to be a big part of the attack able to run inside or out. He'll combine forces with Terrance Franks, the star of the show two years ago with 863 yards and nine touchdowns. At only 5-10 and 195 pounds he's not huge, but he can be used between the tackles when needed. However, he was shoved aside last year rushing for just 269 yards, but he scored five times including twice against Louisiana Tech and four times over the final four games. He can also be used as a receiver.
Watch Out For … the new guys. Jamel James is one of the team's top recruits with 5-11, 220-pound size and great toughness. He can crank out the big dashes, but he's at his best when pounding away and getting physical. JUCO transfer C.J. Best is a blazer from Diablo Valley CC with track star wheels and the ability to be used as a runner, receiver or kick returner.
Strength: A rotation. Franks could be the lead back without much of a problem, but in Lowe Gay and Nutall, the Bobcats have too many weapons. Throw in Best and his speed in to the mix, and the coaching staff has the backs to do what they'd like.
Weakness: Consistency. Sometimes the backs produced, and sometimes they were shut down flat-cold. There were four games last season with under 100 yards rushing, and while it poured when the rushing yards started raining, the offense didn't get the same production out of the backs from one week to the next.
Outlook: It's strange, but the Bobcats lost their top rusher and might be better. Marcus Curry was terrific, but Gay, Lowe, Nutall, Franks and Best should form a terrific rotation to keep everyone fresh. There are more than enough backs and options to go around.
Unit Rating: 5.5
5-10, 180-pound senior Andy Erickson went from being an afterthought to the main man for the passing game, catching 18 balls for 199 yards two years ago and finishing last season with a team-leading 39 catches for 482 yards and three touchdowns despite missing the season finale. Most of his production from the Rice transfer came in a two-week span with eight catches against both Nevada and New Mexico State. While he's not a deep threat, he's decent when he gets into the open field. He'll work in a rotation with Jafus Gaines, a 5-11, 170-pound athlete who cranked out 14 catches for 114 yards. Very smart and very quick, the sophomore can be used in a variety of ways.
Senior Isaiah Battle is the deep threat on the lot at the H averaging 16.5 yards per catch with 26 catches for 428 yards and three scores with a 98-yard play against Stephen F. Austin. The former JUCO transfer from Blinn College is tough on the inside, but he's at his best when he gets to exploit single coverage and make big plays. He missed a chunk of the season hurt, but when he's right, he's able to work as the team's No. 1 target. 5-11, 198-pound junior Deche Milburn made a nice impact as a reserve good for a catch or so a game making 18 grabs for 165 yards.
Working on the outside X spot is sophomore Brandon Smith, a 6-2, 175-pound speedster who couldn't seem to break free last year averaging just 10.9 yards per play with 21 catches for 226 yards and two scores. Coming on late, he came up with six catches for 85 yards against Navy and 14 of his grabs over the last five games. The upside is there to do far more, while 6-3, 210-pound junior Benjamin Ijah could turn out to be even more dangerous. The former JUCO transfer from Southwestern College is one of the team's best all-around athletes and can play anywhere in the receiving corps.
Tight end Chase Harper is done. Ready to step in is JUCO transfer Kris Petersen, a 6-4, 235-pounder can catch a little bit, but his real worth is as a blocker; he should be great for the ground game. 6-5, 225-pound junior Bradley Miller is the receiver for the position catching 14 passes for 126 yards and two scores after taking over the starting job late. Like a big wide receiver, he's a matchup problem as he took over the role of a go-to guy with five catches against both Louisiana Tech and UTSA late in the year.
Watch Out For … Brice Gunter, a dangerous 6-3, 185-pound recruit who came up with 88 catches for 1,369 yards and 18 scores last season. With good size and excellent hands, he had offers from bigger schools but was a great get for
Strength: Veterans. The top five wide receivers return and Miller grew into a role late last year. This is an experienced and dangerous corps that should shine with a passing quarterback likely under center now.
Weakness: Consistent home runs. Considering the attention defenses paid to the running game, the Bobcat receivers should've been able to come up with more big plays on a regular basis. They were there from time to time, but the offense didn't take advantage of their opportunities.
Outlook: This should be the strength of the offense. The running backs are solid and the line is full of veterans, but the receivers have a nice combination of options and depth to do even more with an inefficient passing game.
Unit Rating: 5
The line had to undergo some big changes last season, and while the results weren't always pretty, a good foundation was set starting with senior Devin Baker on the left side. The 6-5, 285-pounder added 40 pounds last year and should be better suited for the job after starting out his career as a tight end. He's physical, and he can move after starting late last season at strong tackle and seeing three stars on the quick side. While Baker is versatile enough to play either tackle spot, junior Charlie Will Tuttle started the entire year at the same quick guard spot. At 6-2 and 295 pounds he's short, but he gets good leverage and is decent for the ground game. He could work at center if needed.
6-2, 280-pound sophomore Matt Freeman did a decent job at center until getting knocked out for the final three games. Quick off the ball and mature beyond his age, he's a good leader up front, but he'll have to hold off 6-2, 290-pound junior Collin Fissell, who started a few times at tackle a few years ago and took over in the middle late. A bit bigger than Freeman, he moves well and has the versatility to fill in where needed.
At 6-4 and 300 pounds, redshirt freshman Felix Romero is a big guard after coming in as a nice recruit two years ago. A strong run blocker, he has good size and explosive ability off the ball. He'll settle into the position for the next four years, while 6-5, 310-pound sophomore Adrian Bellard is a terrific tackle prospect who had big offers out of high school. The key is his weight, fluctuating between 310 and 340 pounds, and at the higher number he's more of a guard. When he's lighter, he can work as a blasting tackle.
Watch Out For … Brandon Sarabia, a JUCO transfer from Bakersfield JC where he was an all-star blocker. A high school defensive tackle, he moved over to the offensive side using his 6-4, 300-pound size as a guard prospect.
Strength: The base. Baker, Will Tuttle and Freeman form a good trio to work everything around. This isn't a massive group, but it's quick, experienced and knows what it's supposed to do up front.
Weakness: Pass protection. It was partly a function of the offense and the mobile quarterbacks, but keeping the quarterback upright was a problem. The Bobcats allowed 28 sacks and didn't give the quarterbacks enough time to fire deep.
Outlook: This should be a solid run blocking unit, but it has to be far tighter in pass protection. The depth is lacking a bit and it might take a little while to come up with the right combination, but there's a good group to build around. It won't be a dominant unit, but there will be times when it's in total control.
Unit Rating: 4.5
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