Editor’s note: Nearly time for the annual Texas State Spring football game that pits home team against home team in an intra-squad matchup. This year should prove to be more exciting than years past as it gives fans a first glimpse at what new head coach Jake Spavital’s team might end up looking like once games start in the fall. For this spring game, here are four key storylines to watch for come time.
What the offense looks like and what it will run is a huge question mark, but the game at 6 p.m. Saturday evening should provide an early glimpse of it. At West Virginia, Spavital utilized a variant of the “air raid system” that puts the quarterback in shotgun with four receivers wide and a single back. In this system West Virginia used a variety of short passes with explosive playmakers to create mismatches and give the quarterback plenty of options. With the innovative mind of new offensive coordinator Bob Stitt bringing his own style, the spring game will give fans the first chance to see what these two offensive geniuses have cooked up.
A position in transition with Willie Jones III already transferred out and two new quarterbacks on the way with transfer Gresch Jensen being among the most intriguing. Jensen played under Bob Stitt at Montana for a season where completed over 60 percent of his passes with twenty touchdowns. Returning sophomore quarterback Tyler Vitt is now in perhaps a bigger battle than last year for the starting job. After having an up and down 2018, a good spring game would go a long way to solidifying his spot atop the depth chart and giving him good momentum heading into the fall.
New Defensive Scheme
Much has been made about what the offense will look like, but the defense should also look radically different. Under former coach, Everett Withers, the defense was gashed constantly and rarely able to make big plays finishing as the 102 out of 129 teams in yards given up per game. New defensive coordinator Zac Spavital comes from Texas Tech where his team managed to actually do worse by giving by finishing in the 104 out of the same 129 teams. Spavital’s Tech teams relied on big plays creating a massive number of turnovers to mask the defensive deficiency. In an area where recruiting might be easier than trying to convince kids they want to play than in Lubbock it’ll be interesting to see if he can squeeze more production out of this unit. The spring game will let fans see if their defense is going to be more exciting in 2019.
The Fringe Players
Whenever a new coach takes over a program, the players at the bottom of the depth charts are the ones that need to worry. Stories are abound all over college football of coaches coming in and cutting walk-ons or some like Herm Edwards, run off players who do not fit into the new program. Jones saw the writing on the wall and left and many sitting at the bottom of the roster might be feeling the pressure of needing a strong spring game to keep their spot intact. This could be walk on or other holdovers from the previous regime or even the new crop of walk-ons who will be fighting tooth and nail for their athletic careers because at any moment they might go from student-athlete to just student.