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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Texas State unveils McCloud, new-look squad in spring game

Mandalyn Lewallen
Texas State redshirt freshman quarterback P.J. Hatter (black jersey) runs with the ball on a quarterback keeper play during the annual maroon and gold game, Saturday, April 13, 2024, at Bobcat Stadium.

Following a historic season, Texas State football aims to build off the success established in Head Coach G.J. Kinne’s first year, beginning with the annual maroon and gold spring game.

The game held Saturday at Bobcat Stadium concluded 14 weeks of spring practices through March and April.

The game was a scrimmage between the Bobcats’ offense and defense, giving everyone a chance to step on the field and showcase their respective talent. In the opening minutes of the game, the offense struggled against a fired-up defense. The defensive line swallowed up the run game and the defensive backs flew all over the field.

Kinne praised the team after the scrimmage and said, jokingly, he is now a defensive coach due to how well the defense played.

“We stayed healthy, that’s the most important aspect of this whole deal,” Kinne said. “I thought we got better [and] I thought the defense came out and played well early.”

After some early miscues the offense quickly got back on track and showed plenty of promise. Junior running back Jaylen Jenkins broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown run to give the offense its first big play of the scrimmage.

“The offense bounced back and had a good day, and we had some flashes of what we can be offensively,” Kinne said.

Texas State hired former Clemson Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris as the wide receivers coach this offseason and he has already made an impact.

Senior wide receiver Joey Hobert was all over the field after getting himself into a rhythm. Hobert took a short drag route to the end zone for a 40-plus-yard catch and run.

Going into the spring game all eyes were on Texas State’s new quarterback graduate student Jordan McCloud. The reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year showed promise in Saturday’s scrimmage.

After the offense’s early struggles McCloud made sure the unit got back on track. He connected with many receivers and showed his ability to make a plethora of throws across the field.

“It’s a winning culture here,” McCloud said. “This year obviously got a bunch of new pieces coming in and we’re just trying to all build together and continue the culture and win every single game we play.”

Kinne had a lot of praise for McCloud, but even though he is currently taking first team reps, Kinne said he hasn’t won the starting role just yet as other quarterbacks continue to compete.

“We really feel good about McCloud, I mean the guy’s done a lot of great things,” Kinne said. “I think those other two guys are still competing, I do. I think quarterbacks are always competing and so P.J. [Hatter] and Brad [Jackson are] still competing for the starting job.”

McCloud’s favorite target was Hobert and they could not be stopped once they got a connection going. For Bobcat Nation, it’ll be intriguing to see the development of their duo’s chemistry come football season.

On the defensive side, players continuously executed sacks and limited running backs by tackling them in the backfield.

Additionally, the secondary intercepted almost every quarterback who played at least once, in part due to the pressure put on by the defensive line.

Redshirt junior defensive back Caleb Coleman said the defense has progressed over the past two months as they gained a better understanding of each other.

“I think [the defense] come a long way,” Coleman said. “We brought some guys in and I think we’ve all kind of meshed together with understanding [the] defense and just playing together and communicating.”

Dexter McCoil Sr. is going into his first season as Texas State’s defensive coordinator after being promoted from the Bobcats safeties coach in 2023. It is going to be exciting to see how the defense will play under his leadership.

Texas State will open the 2024 season at Bobcat stadium against Lamar University on August 31.

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