Texas State football concluded its five weeks of spring practice Saturday afternoon with its annual spring game at Bobcat Stadium.
Head coach G.J. Kinne said that while some areas still need improvements, it was a great ending to a great spring.
“I thought we did some good things and obviously you see some things that showed up throughout spring that we got to clean up,” Kinne said. “We’ve got to continue to eliminate the negative plays on offense, but when we were able to do that, we executed pretty well.”
Since being hired in December, Kinne has adamantly said he would install the same offensive scheme he ran last season at Incarnate Word, which led the nation in both points scored and total yards of offense per game.
Saturday gave Texas State fans their first look at the much-anticipated new high-octane offense. The look would only be brief however as Kinne and offensive coordinator Mark Leftwich chose not to delve too deeply into the playbook.
“It was a really good product but also very base and vanilla,” Kinne said. “I thought the tempo was pretty good today overall. We got what we wanted out of it. We stayed healthy.”
The biggest priority for Kinne during spring practice was implementing his high-octane offense and getting the offensive players adjusted to the different variations of tempo the offensive system requires.
Freshman wide receiver Kole Wilson, who has existing knowledge of the offense having played for Kinne last season at Incarnate Word, has taken a leadership role in helping the other receivers learn all of the ins and outs of the complex scheme.
“I feel like you have to get [the wide receivers] to buy in and not do their own thing and trust the process,” Wilson said. “Whenever they buy in, it works on the field and gives everyone more confidence.”
Going into the spring game, all eyes were on redshirt junior quarterback Malik Hornsby and redshirt sophomore quarterback C.J. Rogers. The two have been battling one another all spring to earn the starting quarterback job come fall.
Kinne said he thought both quarterbacks performed well in the game.
“I thought they did a really good job all spring,” Kinne said. “They got to showcase it a little bit today. They took care of the ball, for the most part, went to the right spot with the ball so that’s what you want to see.”
The spring game highlighted some of the team’s biggest strengths; the running backs being one, as Texas State is currently six deep at the position.
Kinne spoke very highly of all six running backs and said they would all play a significant role in the offensive strategy come the start of the season.
“We want to be a run-play-action team. We’re going to run the ball,” Kinne said. “You need multiple backs. You need depth back there. You don’t want to get to November and December, and you’re out there with guys who’ve never played running back before. We’ve got great depth. That’s a good problem to have.”
Redshirt sophomore cornerback and wide receiver Josh Eaton said the fierce competition the team endured daily at practice over the past five weeks established a competitive culture on both sides of the ball that has made the team stronger.
“Everybody comes every day ready to compete,” Eaton said. “When you have a competitive culture those are the teams you see winning in the long run. Ever since G.J. got here, since we came in, everyone’s been in a competitive nature so our team is heading in the right direction.”
Wilson shared what he believes it’ll take for Texas State as a team to succeed in the upcoming 2023-2024 season.
“Just working every day. Keep grinding. Have a real disciplined team and have fun with it,” Wilson said. “We just started this thing so come fall we’ll be ready. I’ve been winning my whole life. I have no plans to lose.”
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