Texas State is focused on improving its run game as the team inches closer to the start of an unprecedented season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Expectations for this year’s offense do not include surrounding sophomore quarterback Brady McBride with individual superstars, but rather a much more balanced offensive output, according to Head Coach Jake Spavital and Offensive Coordinator Jacob Peeler.
Averaging a tick over 76 yards per game last season coupled by a dismal 2.8 yards per carry, Spavital and the crew are hoping for steady incremental growth through practices.
“You need five guys playing as one, communicating as one; they have to step as one; they have to mirror everything and do that with physicality,” Spavital said. “That’s the thing [offensive line coach Clay McGuire] does a really good job at; he’s recruited well, and he’s got a step there; he’s done contingency planning where he’s moved people all across the board upfront, and that’s something I’ve put an emphasis on too because I believe you’ve got to run the football to win championships.”
The team’s progression and development were evident during the week’s practices which ended Aug. 22 with Spavital once again conveying his excitement for the upcoming season. During the team’s Aug. 20 practice, with initial play during 11-on-11 drills leaning heavily in favor of the defense, the offensive line began to hold their own as McBride and company started to attack the defense for big chunk plays, some resulting in touchdowns.
The offensive line is beginning to come along in Spavital’s eyes. He says he is loving the depth provided by the big-guys upfront.
“That was not the case last year, but right now, they’re probably the most healthy group, and I think we are pretty confident with probably 8-10 kids that would go in and wouldn’t really affect us in any way,” Spavital said.
Junior offensive linemen Alex Costilla and Russell Baker have impressed coaches from the start of camp, both having solid outings during practice with big plays in the run game coming primarily on the right side of the offensive line.
With Spavital praising the development of his front five, he emphasizes that to be successful at the collegiate level, the team needs to have balance.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re ‘hatting’ everything up and we’re in the right position, offensive line-wise, so these running backs can have success,” Spavital said.
The week of practice was a testament to Spavital’s belief in his backfield, as the redshirt sophomore running backs, Jahmyl Jeter and Brock Sturges, showed patience running the ball and their abilities in the open field.
Spavital and the offense will have their work cut out for them in 2020. With the season opener against SMU on Sept. 5 and rival Appalachian State later in the year, the Bobcats are looking for more offensive consistency ahead of what will be a season of uncertainty.