By land, air and Spavital

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By land, air and Spavital

Junior Kordell Rodgers celebrates after the defense blocks an offensive pass April 13. Photo by Kate Connors

Junior Kordell Rodgers celebrates after the defense blocks an offensive pass April 13. Photo by Kate Connors

Kate Connors

Junior Kordell Rodgers celebrates after the defense blocks an offensive pass April 13. Photo by Kate Connors

Kate Connors

Kate Connors

Junior Kordell Rodgers celebrates after the defense blocks an offensive pass April 13. Photo by Kate Connors

Sean Anchondo

The Bobcats ring in the Spavital era with glimpses of offensive firepower.

The Bobcats’ spring game, a peek into the year’s upcoming team, was held Sunday, making it Jake Spavital’s first game as head coach. The forthcoming team and staff displayed a mixture of deep passes and creativity.

Despite fighting the elements of 30-mile-per-hour winds, the offense was able to demonstrate what it can eventually become: an offensive power.

While no score was recorded, the format of the game included untimed kickoffs, first-team offense versus second-team defense and timed two-minute drills.

Fullerton college transfer Gresch Jenson looks to be the front-runner for the starting quarterback. Displaying his strong arm and knowledge of offensive coordinator Bob Stitt’s offense, Jenson made some encouraging plays including a 72-yard bomb to Mason Hays. Jenson finished the game completing 11-21 for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

True sophomore Tyler Vitt struggled at times during the spring game completing 6-18 for 32 yards. Sophomore quarterback Jaylen Gipson played a solid game, completing 7-11 for 69 yards and a touchdown. Spavital said he was proud of the quarterback group but there is always room for improvement.

“We’ve still got a long ways to go, still building continuity,” Spavital said. “We got out there and we ran around for a little bit and they actually put drives together… I want to see these guys sustain drives and convert first downs and that’s what they did today.”

Senior running back Anthony D. Taylor shined as he ran for 72 yards on nine carries while averaging seven yards a carry. A mixture of Taylor, Jaylin Nelson, and Alec Harris combined for 169 yards on 44 attempts. The Bobcats were ranked last in the Sunbelt in rushing last year, but Spavital said he was proud to see where the unit has come from.

“The most rewarding thing for me is seeing us run the ball more efficiently than we’ve been doing,” Spavital said. “But those running backs jump off the tape a little bit. I thought that was pretty good to see from my vantage point.”

On the defense side of the ball, the usual suspects stood out. Despite playing limited time, Bryan London led the team with seven tackles. Malik Alley, Jalen Smith, and Jaquel Pierce finished with six tackles apiece. Kieston Roach had the lone interception in the endzone, picking off Jaylen Gipson. The defense recorded three sacks for the game. London said he was excited to see healthy competition come out of the game. 

“Defense, we were able to make plays for the most part,” London said. “On offense, they showed life, which is always good. Granted, we’re practicing, we’re only going against each other, not able to hit other guys, it’s good to see both sides do good because it takes both of us to win games. I like to see the healthy competition.”

The Bobcats conclude their spring practice with encouragement going into the 2019 season. Some of the questions going into the spring with new coaches and scheme may be quelled for the moment. The Bobcats open the 2019 season at Kyle Field in College Station Aug. 29 against Texas A&M University.

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