The Texas State football team practiced in full pads for the first time at Bobcat Stadium Monday afternoon, its third overall practice of the spring.
The issue of leadership will be a key question as the football team enters its second year of FBS play. The team finished with a 4-8 record last season (2-4 in the WAC), and will be facing new conference opponents heading to the Sun Belt Conference in July 2013.
There will be 29 seniors competing in 2013 for Texas State, including wide receiver and punt returner Andy Erickson. Erickson said the team is in need of leaders for the next season.
“Leadership doesn’t come in one day,” Erickson said. “We’ve got to get respect and keep going by leading by example and words. I’m working on it and it’s coming. I can see it coming with me and a couple of other guys. Hopefully it will be here when the time is right.”
Coach Dennis Franchione said he is tired of being the only leader of the football team. He said he expects his players to do more and be more player driven than the past two years.
“I see guys trying to be better, I do,” Franchione said. “I told them the other day that I don’t know if we have any leaders. I can be the only leader, and there won’t be any leadership council until I think we have some leaders that can take over.”
Erickson will be one of the seniors looking to lead for the fall 2013 campaign. Erickson led the team in receptions (39), receiving yards (482) and touchdowns (3) and was Texas State’s main punt returner averaging 16.7 yards per return.
Erickson, coming off a MCL tear in a game against UTSA last season, did not partake in Monday’s practice.
“I’ve just been ‘rehabbing’ and went pretty hard at it these first two days of spring ball and felt pretty good,” Erickson said. “I woke up this morning, and it was just pretty much fired up. I took it easy today, and we’ll see how (Tuesday) goes. It’s really just a day-to-day thing on how it’s feeling, but I’m getting through it and it should be good by two-a-days.”
Just being out on the field is satisfying for junior running back Terrence Franks.
“It felt good today,” Franks said. “It took a while to get used to it because we’ve been out a couple months now, but it felt good to get back in that rhythm. It’s going to take a couple days to get used to it.”
Football is off Wednesday, returns to practice Thursday, then will take the week off for spring break. The Maroon and Gold game is slated for April 6.
“For spring ball this year, we are just focused on fundamentals and gaining leadership on the team,” Erickson said. “As an offense we’re really focused on third down and getting better on first and second down. We got to keep out of the third and long situations. That’s one of the things that we got in trouble last year with penalties and sacks. We’re really focused on taking care of the football as well, especially heading into a new conference like the Sun Belt.”