At Texas State, it is no secret that every Saturday when cleats run across the turf and helmets knock against pads at Bobcat Stadium, rows of bleachers in the stands noticeably reflect the sun.
Bobcat Stadium has the capacity to hold a little more than 30,000 people, but attendance rarely ever reaches 20,000.
With a 2-10 overall record and losing every conference game last season, the Texas State football team entered this year with positivity and hope for a better season.
Seven games into the season, however, and the Bobcats hold a 1-6 record after losing six consecutive games in a row.
For head coach Everett Withers, he not only wants students to enjoy college football, but to also see the value in it.
“Fan support is really critical to the growth of the football program,” Withers said. “College football Saturdays, you get about six or seven of them a year at any institution across the country, and they should be a part of the student experience.”
By having a larger fan base to support the school’s athletics, like the football team, the impact alone has the potential to change the atmosphere of what Texas State is.
“To me, if you want to turn Texas State into a true college university and not a commuter school, then football Saturdays have to be important to students,” Withers said.
Although the homecoming game is just another football game, it gives the team an opportunity to share its culture with as many people as it can reach.
“We look forward to our fans and the families,” Withers said. “The players’ families and students’ families coming to campus and joining the environment of Texas State, the football team and the program.”
While Bobcats are hoping for a large turnout at the homecoming game against New Mexico State, they also do not want fans to forget about the rest of the season.
Along with New Mexico State, Texas State will finish out the rest of its season competing against all conference teams; Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, Arkansas State and Troy.
Five more games mean five more opportunities for the Bobcats to improve their record, and coach Withers likes to focus on one game at a time.
“I think the thing that you don’t look at is you don’t get too far ahead of yourself,” Withers said. “You worry about the next day and getting better the next day. If you worry too much then you will get discouraged. You have to take every day to get better.”
Opportunities are what the team likes to take, rather than only looking at the losses. While the overall record of the team shows many losses, the statistics from individual players show wins.
“We’ve got a number of guys who are playing hard and winning football,” Withers said. “We’ve just got to hope what they’re doing rubs off on some of our young guys to learn how they compete, how they prepare and how they play on Saturdays.”
At the end of the day, whether Bobcats have the numbers in the stands cheering them on or not, they will never be shy of support from the role models who coach them every step of the way.
“It’s always about the players,” Withers said. “I don’t necessarily do this for wins and losses, but I do this for the relationships with the players more than anything else. That’s really what you do it for. This team has been awesome to be around.”