Constantly competing for the starting position, dealing with injuries and being benched has not been enough to faze senior quarterback Tyler Arndt, who is learning persistence is a virtue.
In his hometown of Cuero, Arndt was raised near his grandparents’ farm, the childhood home of his father. Being only 10 minutes away from the house, Arndt often enjoyed visiting his grandparents’ property to go hunting.
Arndt lead his team at Cuero High Schoolto an undefeated season all the way up to the state semifinals, and earned his rank in the top 32 for quarterbacks in the nation by ESPN.
“(I) came (to Texas State) in 2010, had some success, played seven games, but then got hurt unfortunately,” Arndt said. “Then I got delayed that fall with a hamstring (injury). Shaun (Rutherford) took over the team, he led them for the next two years. I stuck with it, (and) I want my chance again.”
Rutherford recorded a 137.8 passing rating last year. Rutherford demonstrated poise in the pocket completing 64.5 percent of his passes, the best single season percentage in Bobcat history.
With a 15-5 touchdown-interception ratio, Rutherford revealed to Arndt the importance of patience. He said it is important to throw the ball away and live for another play, although it is tempting to be trigger-happy sometimes. Much like a hunter, when a shot for prey is not available, the quarterback should not make the pass, because his position will be revealed and exploited.
“I learned from Shaun, just being that game manager,” Arndt said. “When there’s nothing there pull it down, just get us back to the line of scrimmage, that sort of thing. Don’t do too much with the ball. If it’s not there, don’t have a negative play. Don’t turn the ball over. Don’t run around in the backfield dancing around. That’s what coach wants—he wants a game manager.”
Although the Aug. 31 game against Southern Miss was not the prettiest game to watch, Arndt processed Rutherford’s lessons well and was able to orchestrate a crucial game-winning drive when it mattered most.
“It just shows how mentally tough he’s become,” said junior cornerback Craig Mager. “Like last year, I feel like we wouldn’t have won that game. Because it was a tough grind-out in the fourth quarter where they actually got up on us at one point. Last year, we would have just went down and got down, but this year he was able to pick us up and we fought back.”
Coach Dennis Franchione, who has preached game management and mental resiliency to his quarterbacks, had similar praise for the senior quarterback.
“We’ve been preaching mental toughness for a long time,” Franchione said. “Last year’s team couldn’t have won that kind of game, (and) this year’s team did. Tyler executed well. You have to give the guys credit for getting it done. Tyler did a nice job in the drive.”
Arndt has overcome injuries and remained durable throughout multiple quarterback competitions beside Rutherford for the past two years and now with redshirt freshman Jordan Moore. Through struggles and hardships, Arndt has maintained a steady eye on the intended target.
“I want to be that guy,” Arndt said. “As you could see (vs. Southern Miss), I wanted to be the guy in the game during the last drive to take them down there and score. I want to be that guy all season.”
Follow Samuel Rubbelke on Twitter: @SamuelRubbelke