This year’s Bobcat football team will try defending the Southland Conference title without players who accounted for half of their receiving touchdowns and one-fourth of their carries. However, the offensive line has returning starter Bradley George, senior quarterback.
George was ranked among the nation’s top six quarterbacks in passing efficiency with 26 touchdowns to only six interceptions and more than 2,500 yards last season.
Head Coach Brad Wright said George’s experience is crucial to the offense.
“What we really want him to do is lead the offense because if we are going to be good and productive on offense, we need him to get them going in the right direction,” Wright said. “It is important for him to be a team leader.”
Wright believes his offensive line is well-balanced with several go-to options. He said George’s job is to manage all the talent and not to overwork himself.
“The main thing for Bradley to do is work our offense and stay within it,” Wright said. “We have a lot of playmakers around him so we aren’t asking him to make a lot of plays. There are 11 guys on the offensive side of the ball and we want each one of them to take care of the ball and do what they are asked to do.”
George understands the role Wright envisions for him. George said if he fulfills the role, the offense should be able to generate enough points during games.
“We have the weapons on offense,” George said. “It is my job just to get the ball in their hands. If the defense can create some turnovers for us, it will give us that many more opportunities to put points on the board. We averaged more than 35 points per game, and I look for us to do the same this year.”
George knows the expectations are high with the Bobcats picked to win the SLC title, but remembers his struggles last year against Angelo State, which will be the first team the Bobcats play this season.
“The first game on my calendar is Angelo State,” George said. “Not only is it our first game, but I didn’t play well (last year). We really didn’t know what to expect from them because they had a new defensive coordinator. I have already watched a lot of film on them and they have a game before we play them this season. That will help us be more prepared for them.”
Wright believes George has established himself as a classical pocket passer in a conference void of that particular quarterback style.
“Bradley is your typical drop-back quarterback and the only one in the Southland Conference,” Wright said. “The other quarterbacks are dual threat guys. He can run the option, but doesn’t like to do it. He is 27 years old and has life’s experience and maturity. If he is smart, he will do that to his advantage.”
Wright sees George as a quarterback who has all the tools to succeed in football beyond college, but said there could be some roadblocks to him making it to the NFL.
“You never know,” Wright said. “I would have liked to think that Stan Zwinggi or Cameron Luke would have had a chance because Stan was so fast and Cam had so many numbers. I don’t know what effect being 27 years old will have on NFL teams. He is 6’6”, 230 pounds and can throw the ball through a wall. He has everything you need to be successful in the NFL.”
George is confident he will finish his college career strong this season.
“It’s a culmination of four and a half years of hard work,” George said. “There are no regrets and looking back. I thought everyone worked hard this past summer with our 7-on-7 workouts and running. I thought our whole team did. I am expecting nothing but success and winning another conference championship.”
George said he sees progress in moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision and hopes he can play a role in helping the program reach this level.
“We did pretty well athletically last year when we won the SLC Commissioner’s Cup, but I think that we can do even more things at the FBS level,” George said. “In 10 years, I hope we can look back and say I was one of the players who helped get us there.”