Vitt announced starting quarterback as football season nears

Freshman+quarterback+Tyler+Vitt+evades+a+UTSA+defender+on+Sept.+22%2C+2018.+Photo+by+Kate+Connors.
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Vitt announced starting quarterback as football season nears

Freshman quarterback Tyler Vitt evades a UTSA defender on Sept. 22, 2018. Photo by Kate Connors.

Freshman quarterback Tyler Vitt evades a UTSA defender on Sept. 22, 2018. Photo by Kate Connors.

Freshman quarterback Tyler Vitt evades a UTSA defender on Sept. 22, 2018. Photo by Kate Connors.

Freshman quarterback Tyler Vitt evades a UTSA defender on Sept. 22, 2018. Photo by Kate Connors.

Sean Anchondo, Sports Reporter

After months of uncertainty, Texas State football announced last year’s occasional starter Tyler Vitt as their starting quarterback for their opening game against Texas A&M University for the Thursday night game at Kyle Field.

The news comes less than a week before the Jake Spavital era kicks off under the bright lights of the fourth biggest college stadium in the nation. The Bobcats are starting their schedule as a 34.5-point underdog in what will likely be their toughest competition of the season.

The decision comes as a surprise to some Bobcat fans, as Vitt was in stiff competition with junior transfer Gresch Jensen since the spring football game. Jensen has a history with offensive coordinator Bob Stitt, who coached Jensen in his time at Montana as a Hero Sports First-team FCS Freshman All-American.

Vitt started in five games in 2018, completing 116 of 191 passes for 1,159 yards and making seven touchdowns in his eleven game appearances.

Spavital will be making his return to Kyle Field after being the offensive coordinator for Texas A&M back in 2013. Spavital and the Aggies mutually split up in 2016.

While coaches and players may see this game as just another game, other players, like redshirt freshman tight end Blake Aragon, have said that this game is personal to Spavital.

“There are definitely some personal reasons,” Aragon said. “He has definitely mentioned it a couple of times, (but) I can’t really say too much.”

Entering the 2019-2020 season, the Bobcats and Spavital are looking to rebuild a once-proud football program that has stumbled for the past several seasons. The Bobcats had a combined record of 7-28 with previous head coach Everett Withers.

Needless to say, the Bobcats were a bit of a fixer-upper going into this season, and many tweaks became necessary for the team to become competitive within the Sun Belt once again.

To keep their past issues from resurfacing in the 2019 season, Spavital said he has spent the offseason assembling a coaching staff, recruiting and getting to know the San Marcos community. Spavital has been sighted at basketball and baseball games as well as local eateries throughout the past several months.

Spavital’s openness to the public and his track record as a successful offensive coach mentoring the likes of Johnny Manziel has caused a stir of excitement once again among Bobcat fans and the community.

Amidst the anticipation, Texas State is at an obvious disadvantage in the first game of the season. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the team is set at 2.4% odds at taking the win from the Aggies, whose formidable offense could be a big challenge.

The Aggies finished last year with a 9-4 record, and a 3rd place finish in the SEC West. Sophomore quarterback Junior Kellen Mond is one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, finishing with 3,107yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season.

A&M’s defense, however, has some deficiencies. Although the team is littered with four and five-star players, the team was not great last year on the defensive side of the ball, ending the 2018 season with one of the worst pass defenses in the SEC. The Aggies have also lost a bulk of their front seven coming into the season.

Despite the odds, Texas State has strength on the defensive side of the ball. The linebacking core was a strength on the team last season.

Standout linebacker Bryan London II is returning for his senior year just a little over 100 tackles away (341) from breaking Greg Pitt’s tackle record (447). The Bobcats are bringing back almost every player but one from last year’s defense (A.J. Krawczyk). London said the group has clicked and is prepared for a defensive battle.

“People are playing with more confidence and speed (this year),” London said. “No one has seemed to have missed a step so far.”

Texas State has one other thing on their side, and that is the element of surprise. With a limited amount of game tape on what Jake Spavital will put on the field, it will be hard to know what to expect from this team. This game may be a lot closer than what most people expect. Offensive Coordinator Bob Stitt said he has confidence in his experienced players on the defensive side of the ball.

“They are going to be tough, (so) we have to be perfect,” Stitt said. “They’re good but they don’t have as many things going on as our defense. They are hard and they will prepare us for everything.”

After they take on the Aggies, the team will return to San Marcos to play Wyoming on Sept. 7 at Bobcat Stadium, a game that is projected to be much closer in competition.

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