With the first meeting of Wyoming and Texas State taking place this Saturday I decided to go right to the source in order to get the dish on the Bobcats. Brent Thibodeaux of Rivals site Bobcat Report was kind enough to answer some questions about Texas Sate for me. You may remember the site from this summer as they broke the news on Texas-Arlington joining the WAC.
Really appreciate Brent providing his insight on the game and it will be fun to watch how Texas State does next year in the WAC. Wyoming will be making the return trip to San Marcos in 2013 so mark your calenders for that one.
1) Give us a quick recap of the 50-10 loss to Texas Tech last week. Texas State was up 10-9 at the half, what happened afterwards?
Texas State came into the game very confident and poised to jump out early on the young Texas Tech defense. Bobcat offensive coordinator Mike Schultz had laid out a plan to let quarterback Shaun Rutherford run the offense until Tech stopped the running game and then turn the ball over to the more passing capable Tyler Arndt to open up the game through the air. The first half was somewhat ideal for Texas State. They ran the ball effectively, limited turnovers and control the clock. The Bobcats couldn't have been happier with the 10-9 lead in Lubbock but that changed very quickly in the second half.
What changed for the Bobcats was the fact Texas Tech made key halftime adjustments on both offense and defense. Texas Tech forced Bobcat quarterback Shaun Rutherford into throwing more rather than scrambling. At times he made throws under pressure, off his back foot or into crowd areas. Tech was not going to allow Rutherford to continue getting big yardage on scrambling. The Tech offense opened up big lanes for running back Eric Stephens which caused the Bobcats to drop more inside to try and hold the running game. This only created space in man to man coverage for the Red Raider receivers. 236 yards of passing and three touchdowns in the second half all from the Tech quarterbacks.
2) Who are a few play makers we should watch for on either side of the ball for the Bobcats?
Wyoming fans should keep an eye on both quarterbacks, Shaun Rutherford who will start the game and Tyler Arndt will also see snaps. Both bring a different element to the offense, Rutherford is a dual threat player that is mostly known for his scrambling abilities and Arndt is more of pro-style QB and make things happen with arm and stretch the opposing defense. Running back Marcus Curry proved in the first game he is an every down back. Tight end Chase Harper is a threat to expose a mismatch if he is single covered with a linebacker. He is 6-5, 260 pounds with good hands and can run. On defense, keep an eye out for the linebackers Bryan Iwuji, Brian Lilly and Joplo Bartu. All play with a high motor and are the play makers on the defense.
3) What does Texas State need to do in order to win on Saturday?
For the Bobcats to leave Laramie with a "W" they will need to limit mistakes and turnovers. It hurt many offensive drives for Texas State against Texas Tech causing the offense to play from behind and with bad field position. Secondly the Bobcats need to establish a more potent passing attack. Everyone knows the Bobcats can run the ball effectively and control the game clock but to be a more dynamic offense, they must trust the QBs to make the throws and give him time to make the correct throw.
4) How has Coach Franchione done since starting at Texas State? How is the team preparing for the move to the WAC next year?
Coach Fran and his staff have injected some new life into the program. He brought in assistant coaches that can and know how to win. They recruited some talent in only a matter of weeks for the 2011 signing class. They are focused on the 2012 class now and have nine commitments as of now.
The team is gearing up for WAC competition by bringing in players that can help this team take the next step and win now. Texas State is recruiting by mixing it up with a nice blend of JUCO and high school talent to create a good base of players for many years to come.
5) Is the team doing anything special to prepare for the high elevation of Laramie?
In all honesty, there isn't much you can do to prepare for the effects of the elevation in Texas but Franchione will give his players some time in Laramie to do a light workout and do their best to get acclimated to the conditions. They will escape the Texas heat in hopes for cooler temperatures and that should be a positive effect on the team overall.
Predict the score!
38-34 Texas State. If the Bobcats hold on to the ball and do what they do best on offense. I feel they could be poised for the upset. They played two good quarters in Lubbock, now they need to learn how to close out games and play four quarters. I think the Bobcats will get it done this weekend in a tight contest.
Well I thought his answers were great until that score prediction. Don't blame him at all for predicting a Bobcat victory but I hope it doesn't happen. With the way the first half played out in Lubbock and the narrow victory by Wyoming I certainly see Texas State thinking they have a chance in this one. This weekend will certainly be an important one for the Cowboys as they will try and answer some of the question marks on defense.
Franchione certainly has plenty of experience with trips to Wyoming even if his players aren't. Should be a great game and the fact that it is televised is even better.
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