Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione made one thing clear to his team during Saturday’s practice: It’s not enough to break off one big play.
C.J. Best learned that quickly. After the junior slot receiver scampered for a 40-yard run into the end zone on an option pitch from quarterback Tyler Jones during a 15-minute scrimmage, Best had a momentary lapse in concentration a few plays later.
Best drew the ire of Franchione, who lit into the junior wide receiver for forgetting where he was supposed to be on the field. Best was near the sideline talking with teammates and not in the formation with Jones and the rest of the offense.
“That’s just the intensity of practice,” Franchione said. “If you practice to play Division-I football, they’ve got to bring it. If they don’t bring it, I have to bring it for them. It can be coach-driven or player-driven. I’d prefer it to be player-driven.”
In short, Franchione wants consistent focus from his team, something that was lacking at times during Saturday’s two-hour practice.
Here are a few other things I noticed from Saturday morning’s practice inside Bobcat Stadium, which wrapped up the first week of spring camp.
1) The defense still has a lot of work to do: It was easy to see which side won the day. The offense ruled Saturday’s practice, especially during a 15-minute scrimmage, where Tyler Jones and company torched the defense three times for long plays. It started with Best’s 40-yard run. Tailback Robert Lowe also had a long run and wide receiver Ben Ijah broke five arm tackles en route to the end zone. The secondary struggled the most. For the first time in camp, the group looked lost at times — unsure about who was supposed to be providing coverage.
2) Up-tempo drills to benefit both sides: At one point during Saturday’s short scrimmage, Franchione commanded his offense to take it to the weary defense saying, “Come on, they’re tired.”
Earlier in the week, Franchione told me his offense is going at a faster pace than what it will do during games. There seems to be a reason for this.
“That’s a two-fold deal,” Franchione said after Saturday’s practice concluded. “No. 1, it illustrates to the offense the advantage of tempo. When you see the defense is tired, that should play into your hands. The other side of that is, defensively, when you get fatigued, you still have to focus. We got into a little bit of survival mode defensively.”
3) Some big names stand out during Week 1: While Tyler Jones leads my list, Franchione pointed to a few other names following Saturday’s practice. The fourth-year coach thought defensive end Michael Odiari, offensive tackle Adrian Bellard and linebacker David Mayo had strong weeks.
Texas State’s next practice is Monday, which will be a teaching day to polish up on the new offensive and defensive schemes. The Bobcats will return to full-pad workouts on Tuesday and Thursday before Saturday’s first official scrimmage.