The first test for Texas State’s football team as an FBS program will take place this Saturday when they take on the Houston Cougars in Robertson Stadium.
Texas State is 3-1 historically against Houston. How- ever, the Cougars beat the Bobcats 68-28 in their last meeting in 2010.
“If someone has not told (Houston), they don’t know,” Coach Dennis Franchione said regarding the overall series record between Houston and Texas State. “I think if there’s any remembrance of games it is the one from two years ago. I think they scored a touchdown on every one of their first three plays. These kids don’t live in those days.”
Coach Dennis Franchione admitted Tuesday’s practice was not the team’s best but understood it was the first season’s first after a day of classes. Franchione was quick to point out Wednesday’s practice had a much better all-around effort.
“I noticed things changed for them a bit on Sunday,” Franchione said. “Their focus was really good. Tuesday’s practice wasn’t very good. It was the first day of practice with school. (Wednesday) started slow but became much better. I think we will be fine. Over the long haul of 26 practices we have had in fall camp, we have been fairly consistent.”
The top level of college football requires a stronger and better-equipped team to handle the rigorous schedule that programs making the transition often face early on. The FBS programs are much deeper in talent and often possess greater speed and athleticism. One of the ways Texas State has been preparing is through strength and conditioning training this summer.
“We are not playing Southland Conference teams anymore,” said Zach Crawford, freshman offensive lineman. “We are playing the big boys, (FBS) football. We don’t have a lot of height in the middle of the line, so we have to make up for it with our technique, strength and how we play on the field.”
He is a player who models his game after Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers and hopes to play in the NFL one day.
Those are the credentials senior tight end Chase Harper possesses as Texas State makes the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision competition level.
Harper is not a stranger to playing against future FBS opponents. After all, he has already played against current LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger when the two faced each other in the National Junior College Athletic Association championship game.
Players have returned to the practice field in full pads now that the leap to FBS football, the doubling of the stadium’s seating capacity and conference musical chairs have finally become a reality.
The Bobcats opened fall practice Aug. 6 getting together in shells and adjusting to heat. Although there is a new energy and excitement, questions still linger regarding the program.
Last year’s team finished the season dropping four of its last five games after hitting some strides in the middle of the year during Coach Dennis Franchione’s first season in San Marcos (6-6).
Although Texas State athletics will not be participating in the Sun Belt Conference until the 2013-2014 school year, Coach Dennis Franchione represented the Bobcats at the conference’s annual media day in New Orleans.
The main topic for all of the program’s head coaches, including Franchione, was the current realignment among members of the Sun Belt. Two current Sun Belt teams, North Texas and Florida International, are to be replaced in a year by Texas State and Georgia State. South Alabama will be playing its first season in the Sun Belt this upcoming year.
Texas State is less than two months away from kicking-off the 2012 season, a unique and special year that has been highly anticipated.
The 2012 season will be their first in the FBS and will also be the first in their revamped home: an expanded Bobcat Stadium with a capacity of 30,000, doubling their previous total. The project is on schedule and slated to be completed by August 1.
“There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done,” said Derek Grice, assistant athletic director. “We have a really good partner in Austin Commercial. They’ve done a great job with all the projects in the past.”
The Bobcat tennis team is undergoing preparation for the Southland Conference Tournament starting Thursday in Nacogdoches, home of Stephen F. Austin.
Texas State will start team play against Sam Houston State at 11 a.m. The Bobcats beat SHSU 5-2 in a rain-suspended make-up match last Saturday.
SFA won the regular season conference championship. Texas State finished second its highest seed since 1989. SFA lost its last match of the season against Texas-Arlington, breaking up its perfect conference mark.
Texas State finished with a 9-2 SLC record, dropping matches against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and to the No. 1-seeded Lumberjacks. Texas State hopes to improve even more going into the weekend.
“We are working hard at everything we are doing,” said Jessica Kahts, sophomore. “We are looking forward to the tournament. We always support each other and motivate each other. We have a lot of motivation to do well in the tournament.”
Bobcat baseball recorded its first sweep of a conference opponent against Central Arkansas last weekend, using an offensive explosion to capture the final game.
The series win is the first since early April, when the team took two of three against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on the road. The final contest of that series triggered a six-game losing streak to the hands of Rice, Texas and Southeastern Louisiana.
The Bobcat tennis team was only able to get in one of its two scheduled home games this weekend. This resulted in a loss to highly-ranked, Southland Conference-leading Stephen F. Austin.
SFA was ranked No. 41 in the country coming into the match and had monumental victories. This included a sweep of Louisiana Tech, a victory at Tulane and a conference win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, who beat the Bobcats in March.