The Bobcats defeated Southern Miss Aug. 31 with six forced turnovers, but Texas State’s coaching staff believes the team still needs to progress in the most fundamental aspects of football for better execution in the home opener.
“We’re a long way from where we want to be,” said Defensive Coordinator Craig Naivar. “We had a lot of mistakes and have a lot of things to clean up. We are by no means where we need to be or can be. We’re looking for a lot of things to improve on this week, we played a pretty good game but we still have a long, long way to go.”
The Bobcats succeeded in shutting down the Golden Eagles rushing attack, holding them to an average rush of one yard and accumulated 34 total yards lost rushing, despite Texas State allowing 377 yards through the air. Two Southern Miss receivers recorded 96 yards or more.
“As far as the secondary, we gave up way too many deep passes,” said junior cornerback Craig Mager. “Our technique got a little lazy at times. It’s the first game, but as long as we keep working on those fundamentals and the execution of our calls we’ll be good.”
As far as the offensive side of the ball, the running game averaged two yards per carry despite the offensive line not giving up any sacks. Senior quarterback Tyler Arndt and redshirt freshman Jordan Moore combined for 14 of 22 passing for 134 yards and a touchdown.
“We’ve got to block better first, we’ve got to execute better,” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “Our young linemen (have) got to play better. We went against a good defensive front last game, so I think we found a lot of things to work on. Mainly blocking, our line blocking, our backs blocking, our kickoff return team blocking, those things I think are huge for us to work on.”
Every miscue or mistake the Bobcats encountered offensively or defensively can be easily corrected, according to the coaches. They say improvements can be made, especially if the players in the film room are held accountable and see what they can improve on individually for the good of the team.
“Individual improvement, fundamentals and technique—everybody (is) doing their 1/11th (worth of effort for the team),” Naivar said. “So then if you do your job, then 11 guys are doing their job, and we’re doing good things. We have a lot of technical and fundamental things to get a lot better at. We have to focus on those two things to improve.”
Arndt said he was pleased with the team’s recent win, but was dissatisfied with the production of the offense. Having all summer, spring and preseason for preparation against Southern Miss, the Bobcats and Arndt understand they have a quick turnaround period to prepare for Prairie View A&M.
“We can’t take them lightly,” Arndt said. “We’re not going to have as long to prepare for Prairie View (A&M) as we did for Southern Miss. The coaches will have a good game plan for us, I would like to see a lot more offensive production this game. I think that is one of our main goals. I felt like we let the defense down a lot. They really won the last game for us.”
Junior linebacker David Mayo was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week after his performance of six tackles, two interceptions and a quarterback sack against Southern Miss.
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