We continue to answer the questions of Texas State fans

Although Texas State has a bye week, that didn't stop BobcatNation from asking plenty of questions. Lead reporter, Keff Ciardello has the answers in this week's "BI Weekly Mailbag."

(TXSTATEBOBCAT10) So after 4 weeks, Tell us the biggest disappointed on offense, Obviously the defense would be overall, but tell us your opinion of the offense?


There were people, including myself, that were cranking up the hype machine on these guys in fall camp but the offensive line has been the biggest disappointment on offense. Tyler Jones has been under pressure often this year and the running backs can’t find any holes. They have size and experience but I feel the injury to Jackson Hoskins has thrown things off. Center is an underrated position on the OL and is just as important as left tackle, in my opinion. The center calls out assignments for the other linemen, is responsible for making sure the QB receives the ball safely whether he’s in shotgun or under-center and has to block the mammoth DL/LB in front of him. He’s almost the quarterback of the offensive line. With Hoskins out, all those responsibilities have been thrown onto a JUCO transfer that joined the team in August AND hasn’t played center since his junior year in high school, Giuliano Cattaneo. It’s not that Cattaneo has played terrible; he’s a solid player. He’s in a different system, at bigger school, playing in a different position. Hoskins has been on the cusp of coming back for weeks so I maybe this bye week will give him time to heal up for ULL.


(TXSTATEBOBCAT10) Also, based on the aforementioned defense, who specifically for the d line would be a must get in this class? Do you think we go to the juco route? I know we will get Eddings back next year but I think based on what we have seen we are more than that short.


As of now, the Bobcats have just one defensive linemen commit, DT John Lilly out of Strake Jesuit. Suffice to say, the need to ramp up recruiting at that position.


I’m a big fan of El Camino College defensive end Austin Vaimili. At 6’5”, 265-lbs, he’s got great size and his highlight video is unreal. Shedding linemen, tossing QB’s like ragdolls and chasing down running backs from behind.  What more could you want? Along with Texas State, he has offers from Utah State, Fresno State and San Diego State. This seems like a guy the Bobcats could sign and have playing by next year.


(TXSTATEBOBCAT10) Also out of the losses on defense from last season which one has hurt the most in your opinion, Mayo, Odiari, Mager or Coach Washington? I add Coach Washington because to me it looks like a lot of players have regressed in the back in of our defense.


I have to go with Mayo. He was the engine that made the Bobcats’ defensive vehicle drive. The loss of Washington shouldn’t be understated. This isn’t the biggest loss but I feel losing Germod Williams to SFA didn’t do the DB’s any favors eithers.


(STMUBOBCAT) This program has seen unprecedented support from the fans and students through the first quarter of this year.  I don't know the exact numbers, but our average attendance for the first two home games is around 25k.  We had a nice showing in Tallahassee and sold out our allotment at UH.  As we all know, the team has faltered, not only starting out a disappointing 1-3, but being scored on like crazy and not at all competitive against Houston. 


Entering the season, I felt as if this program was at a crossroads.  The support seemed to be there, and building, and the expectations from the team were generally as high as they have ever been.  If we were able to capitalize on this momentum, the program could reach new heights in recruiting, on field success, and overall stature.  I worry that the opposite might happen.


In your opinion, what should we expect from the support and attendance going forward?  Also, what overall effect might this support (continued or lost) have on the program as a whole?


Attendance has been great this year and I do feel there are more people interested in Texas State football than ever, especially from the students. The players and coaches definitely notice. I keep hearing them say how great the fans have been. This could pay huge dividends in recruiting and overall stature, no doubt.


However, winning is everything. No wins, no fans.


It’s an unfortunate reality but these fans are fickle and they will be quick to pull their support as soon as the L’s start piling up. The fans on this site are die-hard, loyal fans so y’all can’t even fathom how these fly-by-night fans can just come and go. They don’t want to root for the Bobcats; they want to root for whoever is winning.


So what do I expect going forward? Beat ULL (which I feel they can) and they’ll keep coming. If not then they won’t. Keep on winning and those fly-by-nights will eventually turn into die-hards.


(AGGZ34) Based on what the stats indicate and what you have seen in the 55ish practices BI has been to, what possible changes (regardless if Brad noted O'Roy and Davis) could you foresee happening? 


I’m not sure of his status but Mershad Dillion appeared to be injured last game. If that’s the case then I wouldn’t be surprised if Will Trevillion is moved back to DT. That’s a complete hunch; I have no evidence to back that up.


Another hunch is increased time for Aaron Shaw at safety. He started quite a bit last year but I haven’t seen him much this season.


(AGGZ34) Consider this question when answering the first question. With the defensive scheme being 4-2-5 yet also able to be a hybrid 3-4 (I still think our defensive scheme looked more like the hybrid 3-4 than a true 4-2-5), what do you expect to see from our defense? Your first answer will likely indicate possibly how we'll look based on your opinion (as a 3-4 hybrid or base 4-2-5).


With Thompson out, I would imagine the 4-2-5 is out as well. I liked it when they would run with a 3-4 or even 3-3-5, I feel it fits better with this team’s personnel. A big concern for me is the Bobcats don’t have a true nose tackle to plug up the middle of the line. You can do a lot with the LB’s in a 3-4. With a 3-4, you could have Stephen Smith and Trey McGowan in the middle with Jerrid Jeter-Gilmon and Teron Fitzgerald (or Ishamel Davis) on the edges. This would take a lot pressure off of McGowan. With only two LB’s in the 4-2 scheme, McGowan had to cover a lot of ground and that exposed his lack of speed. This worked when it was David Mayo covering all that ground and responsibilities but it’s a lot to ask out of McGowan. He makes the right read but he usually doesn’t have the speed to do anything about it. If they ran a 3-4, McGowan would be better positioned to make plays in his area while the zones around him are covered as well.


They could even get a little crazy and move Easy Anyama from Wolf to Bandit. At 6’3”, 230-lbs, he could definitely play linebacker. In fact, his brother is the same size and plays LB for the Atlanta Falcons. This probably won’t happen but can you imagine Anyama coming in hot on a pass rush?


(AGGZ34) Do you feel there are certain players that should be playing/starting that are not? Don't hold back be it a JC transfer or true freshman (offensively or defensively). One thing though, support why they should start over someone else (If someone said Walker, why should they play ahead of Berry/Banks?).


I’m not sure if he should be starting but I want to see more of Landon Beck. They seem to be waffling on whether to put him at DE or DT. He’s 6’4”, 245-lbs so I guess at this point he has DE size but he is a true freshman and could bulk up. Every time I see him in practice, he’s pushing back the OL and making plays.


(AGGZ34) Do you expect the offense to change anything in order to help the defense be it slow down the quick snap pace or manage the game and allow the defense more opportunity to rest? (we have yet to score early in games so our defense "has" to be able to stop teams or we are down 7-14 points by the time our offense wakes up).


I really don’t see that happening mainly because they shouldn’t have to. If the defense wants a rest, then they need to get a stop.


(AGGZ34) Many have said our defense looks slow compared to Southern Miss or UH, do you believe that to be true? I don't fully agree with that due to nothing changed from the S&T coach to DC going into this season. 


“Slow” is just the easy way to describe it but you are right, that isn’t really it. They are out of place more than they are slow. For instance, McGowan looks slow because he has to run across the field to stop an off-tackle run, no matter which tackle it’s off of. A simpler defense will make each player’s assignment more manageable.


(AGGZ34) Fran noted taking out the "gray" area and making things on defense more black and white so players are just playing... what could have changed so much from last season to this season that players are "thinking more"?


Great question, I’m really not sure. They lost at least one player from each position on defense last year (Mayo and Orakpo at LB, Mager at CB, Williams at S, Odiari at DL) and maybe those players were able to mentally process their assignments better, quicker or use their athletic ability to overcome any shortcomings in the defensive scheme.


(AGGZ34) This question may go with the above one about the "gray" area question.  For two straight weeks, I've heard Fran note something along the lines of putting players "in position" to play well.  While this can be a coaching issue, should there be some questioning on who is calling the defensive scheme on every play at LB and aligning the DL as well as others?


This another great question. I agree, this is a coaching issue but lets hold off on this answer until after ULL. If the same issues arise, then we can’t blame Thompson because he wont be there.


(CANAQUEDISTAMAN) It appears to me that the lack of speed is at the LB and S positions. Do you think that is an accurate statement? 


Yes and no. A lot of the problem is them being out of position. I do feel McGowan is lacking in speed but he has the ability. I feel the 3-4 would benefit guys like McGowan and would allow him and others to make plays based on their ability. Personally, I would like to see more linebackers and fewer safeties.


(RTUNCAP) Regarding Tyler Jones...

It looks as if he has been trying to compensate for the D by playing as a one man offense... especially running the ball.  Do you see him (or Fran telling him) to scale back to keep him healthy? 


This goes back to the first question when I said the OL has been disappointing. Jones is constantly scrambling, avoiding defenders and having to be a “one man offense” because he isn’t receiving proper blocking. There isn’t much Fran can do to scale back on Jones, they need him full steam ahead whether he has pressure in his face or not. But they can improve his protection. Better protection would significantly reduce his chance of injury. Hoskins coming back will do wonders for that.

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