As soon as Jake Spavital, one of the youngest head coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision, took over one of the youngest rosters in the nation, a new headline surfaced almost daily about his new coaching staff.
Spavital was hired as the 20th head coach of the Bobcats after inking a five-year deal with Texas State with a base salary of $800,000 a year.
However, over the winter break, students and fans alike would nearly be sent to the emergency rooms across Texas with heart palpitations as former Texas Tech University Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury was announced to take over for the Arizona Cardinals. Spavital’s name was then thrown in the hat as his prospective offensive coordinator for the National Football League team.
Despite the speculation, however, Spavital addressed these rumors on his Twitter with a tweet featuring the lone hashtag “#EatEmUp.”
Hitting the recruiting trail almost as soon as he started, Spavital started to assemble his coaching staff in Avengers Nick Furry-type fashion. The new head coach made a few early splashes in his hirings that helped ignite interest in some recruits in familiar territory as Spavital used to recruit this area as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
A quarterback savant, Spavital has developed quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel, Davis Webb, and Will Grier. Spavital again made headlines with the hiring of the mastermind behind many of the spread offense schemes used in college football today, Bob Stitt.
West Virginia dominated Clemson with the ‘fly sweep action’ in the Orange Bowl in 2012. After the game, then-Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen would reveal he got the idea from “my good friend Bob Stitt at Colorado School of Mines.”
Bob Stitt was then the head coach at Colorado School of Mines. Stitt also served as an offensive analyst for Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State. A position that shares the responsibility of coming up with game plans and advising coaches.
Stitt said he plans to use many of his schemes to create a fast-paced offense at Texas State and use the recruits from the signing class to create space.
“We want to be an up-tempo offense and attack the defense where they are weak,” Stitt said. “We got a couple guys (slot receivers) in this recruiting class that we can run some fly motion and do some things and get the ball in space to them that normal receivers maybe cant do.”
Following the announcement of Stitt’s hiring, there was a buzz about quarterback Gresch Jensen from Montana University transferring to Texas State. Jensen opted to transfer from Montana after Bob Stitt was let go at the University of Montana. Jensen announced he was transferring from Fullerton Community College to Texas State Dec. 11 via his Twitter account.
Gresch posted historic freshman numbers at Montana. In seven games, Gresch threw for 2,531 and 20 touchdowns. He averaged 332 per game while completing 60 percent of his passes.
On the other side of the ball, Jake’s brother Zac Spavital will be taking over as defensive coordinator. Prior, Zac Spavital was the linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator for Texas Tech.
Jake Spavital said he has given his brother full power of the defense in an effort to lure his brother to the coaching staff. With an experienced group returning on defense, Zac Spavital was intrigued with the opportunity to coach an already talented defense. Zac’s M.O. has been his emphasis on creating turnovers. The Bobcats ranked 15th in the country last year in fumbles recovered but struggled in causing interceptions.
While at Texas Tech, Zac Spavital helped transform the Red Raiders defense into one of the highest ranked turnover defenses in the country. The defense ranked 6th in turnovers, 4th in fumble recoveries, and 8th in defensive touchdowns. The biggest thing, Zac Spavital said, was learning how to win.
“You have to learn to win. The best teams I have been on, The win is on both sides of the ball,” Zac Spavital said. “At the end of the day when you walk off the field and lost the game and you are that guy that looks at the stats and think you played well and think that statistically, your team played well, that is a problem with the culture.”
The defense is returning most of its starters from last year, including star linebacker Bryan London. The transition from coach Woods to coach Zac Spavital should be seamless.
“This is the best foundation I have inherited. Tons of snaps have been played. We have a good group of guys up front and at linebacker,” Zac Spavital said.
As spring looms, Jake Spavital has filled in the rest of his coaching staff: Archie McDaniel as co-defensive coordinator, Ron Antoine will remain as the wide receivers coach, Clay McGuire as the offensive line coach, Morris Berger as the tight ends coach, Nick Whitworth as the running backs coach, Brett Dewhurst as the defensive backs coach, Tevin Mims as the linebackers coach, and Tremaine Jackson as the defensive line coach.
Spavital and his staff signed 10 players during the early signing period and added four more Feb. 6 on national signing day. Currently, the Bobcats have 83 players on scholarship out of the allotted 85. Evaluations from Spavital and his coaching staff for the remaining scholarship spots will come after the Spring game April 13. to round out the depth chart.