Texas State knew today was the first day it would wear full pads this season.
In the third day of spring camp, the Bobcats began tackling drills and looked to polish the rust from an offseason filled with workouts in the form of lifting and running.
“We went three days in a row,” Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione said. “As hard as we are practicing, three days like that are a challenge. I wanted it to be that way. They met the challenge.”
While the tackling wasn’t exactly crisp, there were a few times where it was evident that even the coaches were excited about the opportunity to see their players break out the shoulder pads.
During the “Bobcat drill,” players from both offense and defense lined up against each other in a mano-a-mano battle to win the block. The defense celebrated the most as it won a majority of the matchups but the offense ended with a bang when junior offensive tackle Adrian Bellard squared off with defensive end Kris Peterson. Bellard won the battle of the best two players from Thursday’s drill.
Following that tackling drill, Texas State moved to 11-on-11 drills where Franchione’s team got back to fine-tuning its offensive and defensive schemes.
Here are a few observations from the past two days of spring camp.
1) The Bobcats like the new defense: If there’s one thing players agree on about the scheme coordinator John Thompson has installed, it’s how exciting it is to play. But, it’s also a complex defense, which puts a high demand on the players.
“You have to elevate your game and be a smart football player,” senior linebacker Michael Orakpo said. “You have to be able to adjust, be on your toes and ready to go.”
Texas State cornerback David Mims II seemed to be the first one to pick up on Thompson’s read-and-react system. Mims has broken up several passes during the past few days of practice.
“I need to come through for my team this year,” Mims said. “We have some young guys coming in too. I need to make big plays.”
2) Freshman wide receiver shines: Brice Gunter received his first opportunity to play on the No. 1 offense during today’s practice and didn’t disappoint his coaches. Gunter, a freshman who won a Class 3A State Championship with Tyler Jones at Stephenville H.S., had his best day of spring camp. The freshman caught a pass across the middle of the field from Jones for a 50-yard touchdown in 11-on-11 drills.
3) Connor White continues to impress: While soon-to-be sophomore quarterback Tyler Jones has the starting role cinched up, there’s a lot left to be decided as far as who will back up Jones. White has looked the strongest of that group, while junior college transfer Randy Price has struggled the most thus far in camp. During today’s practice, White executed the read option to near perfection as he kept the ball after a fake to the running back and scampered for a 40-yard touchdown.