CoogFans' Opponent Preview - Texas State

In two years Coach Brad Wright has done a great job turning around the Texas State program. This is a team that has not done a lot of winning lately, but the culture has changed in San Marcos and the Bobcats expect to win.

Texas State Bobcats
Southland Conference

2009 Record: (7-4, 5-2)
2009 Bowl: none
Coach: Brad Wright (19-16 at Texas State, 19-16 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Slade Nagle and Ben Norton
Defensive Coordinator: Fred Bleil

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Karrington Bush, RB, 385 yards
Passing: Tim Hawkins, QB, 36 yards
Receiving: Da'Marcus Griggs, WR, 969 yards
Tackles: Marcus Clark, LB, 95
Sacks: Ron Jackson, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: Marcus Clark, LB, 1; Adley Eshraghipour, DT, 1; Matt Harris, LB, 1; Brian Lilly, LB, 1; T.P. Miller, S, 1; Mario Wiggins, S, 1

Other Key Returnees: LB Joplo Bartu, WR Daren Dillard, WR Alvaro Garcia, S Kenneth Hampton, LB Bryan Iwuji, CB Derek Lopez, CB Darryl Morris, WR Mishak Rivas

Key Losses: LB Joe Bell, TE Andrew Brooks, RB Alvin Canady, QB Bradley George, OT Calvin Gore, DT Garrett Hood, DE Travis Houston, OT Alex Luna, CB Will Thompson

In two years Coach Brad Wright has done a great job turning around the Texas State program. This is a team that has not done a lot of winning lately, but the culture has changed in San Marcos and the Bobcats expect to win. And if the young defense can grow up, this is a team that has the tools to win even more this year.

Strengths:
Bradley George finished off his career with just about every passing record for Texas State. Replacing him will not be an easy task, but Tim Hawkins and Eric Soza are capable of putting up big numbers in this offense. The Bobcats were a pass heavy team in part due to George, but also because of the injury to running back Karrington Bush. Whoever wins the quarterback derby between Hawkins and Soza will not have to pass too much as long as Bush can get back in playing shape and fellow running backs Dexter Imade and Frank Reddic can help move things along. If spring practice was any indication, Imade and Reddic are both ready and willing to take over. Yet, the biggest advantage for the new quarterback is at wide receiver. Da'Marcus Griggs leads a talented group that also returns Daren Dillard, who had a superb spring, and Alvaro Garcia.

Weaknesses:
As is often the case in the Southland Conference, the offense outperforms the defense. While Texas State was torched for over 400 yards per game last season, that is not too bad for the SLC. There are some holes to fill, most notably on the front line where Garrett Hood and Travis Houston need to be replaced. If the front four, led by Ron Jackson, cannot consistently get pressure on the opposing quarterback, the young secondary will struggle yet again. Where the defense can make up for its deficiencies is at linebacker. Marcus Clark is a superb leader on the field and Brian Lilly is poised for a breakout sophomore season. Add Bryan Iwuji to the mix and the Bobcats have a ton of experience and potential in the linebacker corps.

The Bottom Line:
Replacing George under center will be an issue early in the season, but Texas State has more than enough weapons on the offensive end to once again finish the season ranked in the FCS top 25. The difference between another decent year and a big breakthrough season will be the play of the defense. This group only averaged 1.27 sacks per game last year and, in a passing league like the Southland Conference, that number should be higher. Dropping back into coverage was not an effective way to stop the passing attack and if the Bobcats fail to get pressure, their pass defense will once again rank among the worse in the FCS.

2009 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 133.27 (60th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 288.91 (7, 2)
Total Offense: 422.18 (12, 3)
Scoring Offense: 31.91 (14, 3)
Rushing Defense: 184.73 (100, 6)
Pass Defense: 231.00 (98, 4)
Total Defense: 415.73 (108, 4)
Scoring Defense: 28.82 (92, 3)
Turnover Margin: .09 (52, 3)
Sacks: 1.27 (100, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.36 (25, 3)


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