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Bobcat football 2016: Sink or Swim?

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Texas State’s football team faces uncharted waters with a new coaching staff as it approaches the 2016 battles ahead.

When predicting how these men will do, some will let judgments be determined by the 3-9 record last year. Others will stay hanging by a pinky from the 2014 season record of 7-5 and cry for the injustice of the two potential bowl appearances being stripped from Texas State’s fingertips, and wonder what advancement the new staff would have brought to the program in the time since.

No matter what concrete evidence and statistics some might look up from seasons past, this is not the same team anymore. The new coaching regime not only changes physical schemes and personnel, but the intangible nature of a team’s intrinsic motivation. Willpower cannot be measured, but this team is seeing a maturation of it. Texas State football players have a different force driving them from within with new head coach Everett Withers.

As for tangibility, Withers has coached and succeeded at top notch programs in both collegiate and professional levels. From coaching defensive backs at the University of Texas to the Tennessee Titans, Withers has experience on how to win at the highest levels in some of the most competitive atmospheres.

He has a career head coaching record of 25-13. Being a former collegiate linebacker himself, he reestablishes a fire within the team that former head coach Dennis Franchione may have let fizzle out. Fan attendance and support are just as important to a new, thriving Football Bowl Subdivision sports program as the athletes. Withers knows this and is engaging the fans, challenging them, advertising the program and ultimately shifting the fan base’s culture of complacency.

Aside from having good PR skills, winning games will always bring in the crowds, and Tyler Jones plans to do a lot of winning in his senior season.

Jones was named eighth most important college football player in Texas by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine where he was labeled, “an accurate quarterback with enough athleticism to beat defenses with his arm or his legs.”

Jones has made all Sun Belt Conference honors and put up solid numbers in each of his three seasons with 2014 being his breakout year. Even through the dark times, Jones has continued to lead his team by example putting up solid performances week in and week out.

With three players getting booted this offseason, Tyler Jones is left with a group of receivers who, combined, don’t have a single catch in an FBS game. This inexperience may make for a bumpy road in terms of offensive production but it also may prove for an opportunity for malleability. This new receiving core is no different than the new coaching staff and they will attack the season with the same determination.

Texas State is known for its athleticism in the wide receiver position with former standout athletes such as Isaiah Battle, Andy Erickson and four-year letterman Brandon Smith. This offense provides opportunities for success so these receivers, if they step up to the plate, will get ample targets from Jones and play a vital role in the offensive productivity.

Sink or swim? This is San Marcos. We all swim. Texas State football will come into this season ready to take what is theirs, fighting with nothing to lose, led by a coaching staff hungry to win. The entire student population and Bobcat fan base will need to rise to the challenge behind them to continue to build the growing football culture in San Marcos.

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