BI Weekly Mailbag

We’ve got some great stuff in this week’s mailbag. Lead Reporter Keff Ciardello answers your questions this week.


Based on what BI (Tyler, Keff, etc...) saw during two-a-days, did anything you see surprise you? Anything could be players starting, position changes, play calling, or just the execution of plays (offensive/defensive). You guys saw much more than any fan did in two-a-days.

Were you surprised by the size difference/speed between FSU and TXST?

We have so many of us trying to take this game in stride and list the positives but when you lose by 30+ there has to be some things that TXST must improve so, what was the worst thing TXST did or didn't do to help themselves? (I, personally, would argue it say it was not making an adjustment on the DL by adding another big DE instead of Berry/Banks at 230/225 to add more size to the DL b/c 3 DL at 260/285/300 with a 230/225 Bandit was not good enough).

If you could have asked the coaches to do one thing that you think would have made a difference, what would it have been?

There were a few surprises for me, to be honest. In camp, the safeties appeared to be the standouts on defense but I didn’t see that against FSU. They made tackles down the field but they didn’t stop many plays, outside of Demetrius Woodard. Easy Anyama was out of position often but he hasn’t played football in over two years so there are growing pains there.  I thought the running backs would be the saving grace for the offense but they were nonexistent.  I also expected the offensive line to get a better push than they did, which might explain the trouble at runningback. 

As far as plays, I knew what to expect on offense and they did that.  They didn’t run many plays outside of 15 yards in camp. I saw the three man front in practice but I didn’t expect them to run that as much as they did (I’ll save my full answer on the three man front for another question below).

I know they listed Tim Gay as the starting Stinger early in the week but I was still surprised to see him start the game there. I thought for sure Coach Dennis Franchione was bluffing with that.

A little. I knew they would be better athletes but I was surprised by how better. The very first play was a dump-off to Lawrence White and he was walloped as soon as he caught the ball. That FSU player got there so fast and then dropped the Bobcats biggest pass catcher like he was a tackling dummy. 

I lumped these two questions together because I essentially have the same answer for both. While I agree with you on the DL (something has to be done there), I would say their worst offense was being too conservative with the ball. Even if Jones throws five picks, you still lose, so why not at least try to get something there? The plays fail but you at least have film on what went wrong. There was no chance they would have beaten FSU with those short plays and I know coaches don’t like to deviate from their game plan but being bold and failing would have been more acceptable to me than watching Lumi Kaba become Player of the Game because all those five-yard sideline passes and QB draws didn’t add up to a first down.  Then again, they were playing the No. 10 team in the country, so maybe they were just trying to get out of there with minimal injury.

The vertical passing game or lack thereof.  Is this primarily due to a lack of faith by the Coaching Staff in:

a) The inability of TJ to get the ball down the field with pin point accuracy?

b) The inability of our current WR's to gain separation to not create 50/50 opportunities?

c) All of the above.

d) None of the above. (CP White)

Wow! Solid question. It's gonna be answer choice "C", but gotta also include the offensive scheme. Jones does not have the strongest of arms and the deep pass has never been his bread and butter. As a group, the WR's need to step up. The majority look the part 6'0" or bigger, with speed, but the seperation just isn't there. Take into consideration one of FSU's CB's will be a first round pick in Jalen Ramsey. The wideout's want see athletes like this for the rest of the season. Finally, where ever Coach Fran has been, his offense has minimal vertical impact. It's 3 or 4 yards and a cloud of dust, with misdirection. That's not to say that this can't change going forward for the rest of the '15 season, but all these are factors in the lack of getting vertical.

 I'd like to add to CPWhite's question if I may:

A1) The inability of the OL to hold off defenders and

B1)The inability to run the ball effectively.

Both before C & D. I'd like to see how BI answers some of these "not easy" questions. (Agzz34)

Making me sweat over here! I’m going with D, none of the above. It’s definitely not A1 or B1; they have a lot of confidence in both the OL and the RB’s. Both had a strong camp but both looked terrible against FSU, so I understand why you would bring that up.  It’s not A or B either, although both of those are concerns of mine early on. Jones hasn’t been that accurate down the field and I’ve thought the receivers have been suspect since the beginning of camp (there is talent in the group but not a No.1 receiver, as I’ve mentioned before).  The reason I say neither is because this is the same offense they’ve been running. Coaches are big sticklers when it comes to following their game plan, no matter what.  It’s a conservative, hurry-up style offense, spread out but still conservative. They run 70-80 plays a game but none for big chunks of yards. At times, it can be a little predictable. It didn’t work against FSU but they should have more success with less talented opponents.

Any update on injured players, I know PVU isn’t a big game so I suspect any iffy guys get another week to heal before Southern Miss?

Do you think the 3 man front will be the base defense this year based on what you saw in camp or was that game plan specific? If it was the base defense did they get pushed around when going against the ones in camp? This was the most concerning thing I saw in the game. I knew FSU would have superior athletes but the ease that they were able to move our defense around was quite concerning.

Based on the fall camp, do you think the offense held a lot of the plays back? i.e. you know you probably going to get whipped so why show something on tape that you can use against a conference foe. (TXStateBobcat10)

Jackson Hoskins is improving but I wouldn’t expect him back at center this week. Stephen Smith has a wrist injury but the word is he should be good to go for Saturday.

I’m sure it was specific for FSU. I saw it sparingly in camp and I didn’t see it at all yesterday in practice.  They don’t really have a true nose tackle so I wouldn’t expect them continue with that lineup.  I feel they’ll get a better push with four linemen. Having only three out there put a lot of pressure on LB’s.

I hope this is the case! It’s a great point, why show all your cards? If this is the case, then they have been dialing it down in practice, too.  I doubt they were holding back plays but we’ll see.

What are the chances we get into a different conference? Belt is moving east and we are flying solo out west. Someday? (TxState2008)

Not likely for the immediate future. They haven’t been in the Sun Belt long and I’m sure they wouldn’t want to move again just quite yet. Remember, conference realignment is all about the dollars. What can TXST bring to the table with TV Markets , big time donor's, and first class facilities. That's the tough part, Texas State is sandwiched between two markets where you have two other D1 programs as the primary or lead program. Other programs don't like losing more of their thinly sliced pie. Direct sources did confirm previously to BI that both UNT and UTSA would not back or vote an invite to adding Texas State when the 'Cats name was floating around soon after ending the UAB program in C-USA. Now the Blazers are scheduled to restart their program in 2017. The Mountain West, well it's further west. Would the American Athletic Conference welcome a fledgling D1 program like the 'Cats? Honestly can't say that they would, this is just speculation on our part, but why would UH, Tulsa, SMU and others let Texas State in? There would be heavy resistance there as well.

Which TXST player will have the biggest “bounce back” game this Saturday? Who needs it the most? (CerdaBoy)


Rob Lowe will have a 100-yard rushing day against PVAMU. He and the O-line will bounce back this week. Tyler Jones is the player that really could use a bounce back game, and he may just get one, but I have feeling Lowe will be back to his normal self.

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