Bowling or Bust (Part I)

Twenty four fall practices have come and gone. Questions still remain on both sides, but here's our inside look in this 2 part series at what the 'Cats must do to improve on last year's 6-6 mark.

The Texas State Bobcats have five days to make all the preparations needed to start the 2014 season off on the right foot. As a fan you can over analyze this thing a million ways. Our BobcatIllustrated Staff is making it easy for you and here's our breakdown on what Texas State must do in order to see an increase in the win column.

Offense gets the first look.

(Must be balanced)

Head Coach Dennis Franchione and his staff have gone to a fast paced, no huddle version of the zone read. The 'Cats implemented it in the spring and have pushed on with it through the fall.

It's a change of pace to see if the offense can take advantage of unsuspecting defenses and utilize personnel, speed, and quickness all over the field. It's aiming to also help in keeping defenses honest and prevent 8 and 9 man fronts from stacking the box, which was often the case last season.

The Bobcats averaged nearly 24 points a contest last season, not too shabby, except opponents were at 27 points a clip. Texas State will not shy away from it's bread and butter in running the ball, but in order to improve on last season's mark, the passing game must improve.

Wide-out Ben Ijah (Sr.) has formed a nice relationship with QB Tyler Jones this fall. He has nice size and has flashed solid hands going back to the spring. C.J. Best (RS Jr.) has made the move to the slot and brings a touch of speed and agility that the staff was sorely searching for. On many occasions this fall Best impressed and dazzled with the ball in his hands. Bryce Gunter (RS Fr.) and P.J. Anderson have also shined. Gunter has great size like Ijah and with some consistency could be a threat for some serious PT. As a true freshman, Anderson is physically ready and could fight his way into the rotation.

The tight ends led by Bradley Miller (Sr.) is also a talented group. Lawrence White (Sr.), David Lewis (Sr.) and Ryan Carden (Jr.) have all shined and had a solid camp. All of the aforementioned stand 6'4" 240lbs and bigger. In the open field and up the seams, the big men can move and carry a load with them.

Texas State did accomplish the rarity last season in averaging more rushing yards than passing yards (171.5 to 154.8). This time around, personnel shouldn't be the problem if the passing game staggers.

(The growth of QB Tyler Jones)

After being thrown into the fire as the named started in week 4 last season against Wyoming, Jones hasn't looked back when healthy.

It was often heard in post game talk, but the Bobcats were going to have to win ugly with a true freshman at the helm. In his second full season in the maroon and gold, Head Coach Dennis Franchione has made it clear that Jones is that much more confident and better in every category.

Along with that improvement, comes trust, and that just might be what the sophomore QB needs. Knowing that he has the green light to look deep, down the sidelines or across the middle of the field, Jones has a strong enough arm to be effective. Widening the playbook will not be a surprise for the sophomore signal caller.

A part of his growth will be his reads. Not locking onto a target and going through his progressions. Looking at all of his options and building timing with his pass catchers will be key. That's our first look at what the Bobcats must do in order to get it done. In the next part, we touch on the defensive keys.

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