Brad Franchione is currently in his fifth season as a coach for the Texas State Bobcats, and was recently named the interim defensive coordinator. Franchione began his coaching career as a student coaching assistant at New Mexico, then as a graduate assistant at Arkansas State.
After only 10 years as a collegiate football coach, Franchione earned his first head coaching opportunity at Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas. Franchione was very successful as the head coach of the Blinn Buccaneers. In six seasons, he amassed a record of 54-13, earned three Top-10 NJCAA finishes, and two national championships. Blinn won a national championship in his second year as a head coach, where he was also the defensive coordinator with the top defensive unit in the NJCAA. During the 2006-2007 season, the Buccaneer defensive unit gave up fewer than two touchdowns in nine of the 11 games, giving up an average of nine points per game over the season.
Franchione has shown to be very successful when given a prominent opportunity, and has a track record leading a strong defense. When speaking after practice Tuesday, he said that the team showed a lot of energy, but they have to be careful with how much they change.
“Nothing is lost. We’re going to start conference play with a tough opponent…everything is still in front of us, and that’s the good thing about where we’re at. It may be a blessing that it happened when it did,” said Franchione.
From what I have seen and heard, all of the coaches are prioritizing that the defense needs to focus on the fundamentals, which means a simplification of the scheme; minimize thinking and just react. Since the Bobcats currently have a bye-week, Coach Franchione will have 10 days to study the film and really gain an understanding of who is performing the best. He didn’t provide any specific line-up changes, but did say that cornerback Javante O’Roy and redshirt freshman linebacker Ishmael Davis stood out. I’m not sure that one practice can make these players stand out in his mind, so maybe these are two guys that he has had his eye on throughout the season.
With that said, don't be surprised at all if either O'Roy or Davis see more snaps come Louisiana Lafayette. Both had impressive fall camps, and both the corners and linebackers have struggled out of the gate. In particular, with blown assignments, missed tackles, and poor position. Davis or even Teron Fitzgerald are the most athletic and quickest of the linebacking corp, that could use that skill and hope it translates to the field on game day.
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. Under John Thompson, there were multiple defensive fronts and looks. With Brad Fran, it will be cut down to focus on simplifying roles and assignments for the 11 on the field. With multiple schemes, at times personnel has looked completely lost and overmatched, forcing others to make up for the ineffectiveness of one group, which just hasn't been enough.
It will be interesting to see if Brad Fran goes back to the more traditional 4-3 or 8 man box in an attempt to limit the gashing of yards put up by opposing teams, especially on first downs with dives and inside runs. Another obstacle is the pending status of Merhsadd Dillon. There still has been no confirmation on whether he'll be ready for ULL after being helped off the field with a leg/knee injury. At 6'3" 300lbs, he is the biggest starter on the D-line, leaving Dondre Elvoid (6'4" 315lbs) as the only other true run-stuffing D-Tackle on the roster.