Texas St. At a GlanceHome | San Marcos, TX (WAC)
2011 Record | 6-6
Offensive Starters Returning | 8
Defensive Starters Returning | 9
2012 Offensive MVP | RB Terrence Franks
2012 Defensive MVP | FS Xavier Daniel
Newcomer to Watch | DT Kamu Taulelei
This is my yearly attempt to educate myself on the teams on the Texas Tech schedule. I am not an expert about any of these teams, but rather I have spent a few hours studying the team and it is more likely than not that I have something wrong. Please correct me in the comments.
Important Links | NCAA Stats (112th Total Offense; 83rd Total Defense) . . . 2011 Texas St. Stats . . . 2012 Texas St. Football Quick Facts . . . Pre-Snap Read Preview . . . Football Study Hall stat profile . . . SB Nation's Bill Connelly 2012 preview .. .
The Coach | Well, Dennis Franchione, is 19-15 in his first two years at Texas St., but things get a bit tougher this year as the Bobcats start the play in the WAC this year and you might expect things to get a bit tougher. I don't know what exactly to make about Franchione's return other than I do think this is a good spot for him and Franchione has found success doing exactly what he is doing at Texas St. This isn't a knock on him, but Coach Fran was a really good coach when the spotlight wasn't burning incredibly bright on him and maybe Fran is a bit like Texas Tech basketball coach Billy Gillispie in that they both went for very big jobs, maybe those jobs being a bit too big for their types of personality. I don't think that this is necessarily a bad thing, but just a thing.
More after the jump.
DTN 2012 Previews* 9/1/12 Northwestern St. Demons (Preview)
* 9/8/12 @ Texas St. Bobcats (Preview)
* 9/15/12 New Mexico Lobos (Preview)
* 9/29/12 @ Iowa St. Cyclones (Preview)
* 10/6/12 Oklahoma Sooners (Preview)
* 10/13/12 West Virginia Mountaineers (Preview)
* 10/20/12 @ TCU Horned Frogs (Preview)
* 10/27/12 @ Kansas St. Wildcats (Preview)
* 11/3/12 Texas Longhorns (Preview)
* 11/10/12 Kansas Jayhawks (Preview)
* 11/17/12 @ Oklahoma St. Cowboys (Preview)
* 11/24/12 Baylor Bears (Preview)
What We Do Know | Well, I think that the game with Texas St. and Texas Tech was a microcosm of what their season was like in that they proved they can run the ball, but the defense was atrocious. I think the biggest problem for Franchione last year was that he didn't have a quarterback, he has three, Shaun Rutherford, Tyler Arndt and Tim Hawkins. All three had varying degrees of success, but not necessarily enough to warrant a full time starting job. Perhaps coming out of the spring, Arndt is the best option and I would guess that Franchione wants to pick a guy and go with it.
The Bobcats also return their top two running backs in Terrance Franks and Marcus Curry. They could have both been co-offensive MVP's, but Franks rushed for 911 yards and 9 TD's, which is quite a bit better than Curry. They are both only juniors this year (I think) and they should both be improved.
Defensively, nine starters return, but Texas St. wasn't very good last year (sound familiar?) so I don't know if this is good news. The best defensive players are DE Jordan Norfleet, LB Joplo Bartu, CB Darryl Morris and the aforementioned Daniels. Perhaps other that Daniels, Morris stands out the most as he had 6 TFL, 62 tackles, and 7 passes defended, which is pretty impressive.
What We Do Not Know | There isn't much that we don't know about Texas St. because they return so many players. Perhaps, the biggest problem for Texas St. this year is that they have to replace three offensive linemen and that is typically problematic for most teams (including Texas Tech). The Bobcats return a nice mix of players on defense and do not necessarily lose two of three linebackers. It's a well-rounded group if anything. Perhaps the biggest question is going to be about what Texas St. is going to be able to do against the WAC, which will obviously be an upgrade in competition.
I don't think that I'm going out on a limb by thinking that I believe that by the end of the year, Texas St. will most likely be a bit beat up and to expect this team to struggle in the first year moving up to the FBS is okay. I think if I were a fan I wouldn't be disappointed.
Best Player | Phil Steele thinks that TE Chase Harper is the best player as he has him on his preseason 2nd team All-WAC.
Break Through Player Candidate | I would have to imagine that with Arndt having such a good spring game (13 of 19 for 218 yards and 1 TD) that it solidifies his spot as the starting quarterback. If Arndt could even remotely be a decent starting quarterback and improve on his numbers from last year then the Texas St. offense will be that much better. I'd also add that Dave Campbell's Jake Shaw thinks that DT Kamu Taulelei will help as the loss of Michael Ebbitt was fairly significant and Shaw thinks that Taulelei could be pretty good and help fill that void.
Overall Fear Level With 1 Being Not Afraid At All and 5 Being So Scared Baby | With this game essentially opening the newly renovated Jim Wacker Field at Bobcat Stadium, which will hold 30,000 fans, I think my fear level is a 1.5. I have no doubt that the fans and the team will be incredibly excited to host Texas Tech, but I could see a similar result to last year, except with Texas Tech being more sound defensively. I don't know if I should be worried about this game, but statistically speaking, Texas St. shouldn't be able to stop Texas Tech on offense and Texas St. were to be themselves offensively, which was okay, then I don't think that the Bobcats should keep pace.