Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Bobcats look for offensive consistency at the start of spring practice

Texas State hits the gridiron for the first time this year as the Bobcats start spring practice. The Bobcats are coming off of their best season since joining FBS in 2012 as well as winning the first bowl game in program history.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Bobcats look for offensive consistency at the start of spring practice

Running backs coach Barrick Nealy walks off the field with his players. Nealy is back with the Bobcats since his playing day in 2005.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Bobcats look for offensive consistency at the start of spring practice

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Texas State was back on the gridiron for the start of spring practice in preparation for the 2024 season.

The Bobcats and Head G.J. Kinne are coming off of a historic 2023 campaign, which saw Texas State win eight games for the first time since making the jumped to Football Bowl Subdivision while winning the program’s first ever bowl game at the Servpro First Responder Bowl.

“We got out there and had a good day,” Kinne said. “Guys were flying around, they were excited and I liked the feel of the team. I thought we worked well together for the most part. … I think we have a chance to be a really good team.”

Entering his second year as head coach of the Bobcats, spring practice has a different feel for Kinne with the majority of the players now knowing the system instead of learning it.

“There’s just more carryover,” Kinne said. “From a coaching standpoint, there is not a ton of change because we did have so many guys come with me. Playerwise, they know how practice is and the tempo of it. We do have some new faces, so they are trying to learn and figure out. Obviously we have a new [Defensive Coordinator,] so the standards and expectations [are different.] … It didn’t feel like a day one for us but more like a fall camp day one, because we have so many guys returning on both sides of the ball.”

Following an offseason where Texas State lost starting quarterback T.J. Finley to the transfer portal, the Bobcats brought in reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year Jordan Mc-Cloud from James Madison.

McCloud threw for 3,657 yards passing, completing 68.2% of his passes and threw 35 touchdowns leading JMU to an 11-2 record in just their second season in FBS.

With McCloud expecting to take the starting position, Kinne can already see why the seventh year senior is well respected.

“Just being around him on day one at practice, he is just a veteran guy,” Kinne said. “He is calm back there, and he throws the ball on time. He throws it with great anticipation, and he is very smart. He has only been there for a little bit of time, but he went out there and was on the money. Obviously, Coach Leftwich does a good job with those guys, and all three of those guys were prepared and ready to go for day one. But, you can tell [McCloud} has played in a lot of big time games, tons of experience and been around some really good coaches.”

McCloud joins an offense that is considered to be one of the most prolific offenses in the conference, breaking multiple program records last season.

However, one of the issues the offense faced last year was consistency, which the Bobcats look to improve on.

“We need to be more consistent,” Kinne said. “Something we have harped on is making the easy plays easy, making the routines routine and ball security. Those are the things we have really focused on. … There was no excuse for the way we turned the ball over last year. You are not going to win a championship like that.”

Turnovers were a major detriment to the Bobcats last year in the losses to Troy, Arkansas State, Louisiana and Coastal Carolina, which kept Texas State from winning a potential Sun Belt West Division title last season.

“We had really good moments, plays, games, quarters, but there were consistency [issues],” Kinne said. “That is not the standard on how we operate as an offense. We did some really good things, our numbers were awesome and we set records, but every week me and Coach Leftwich would sit in there on Sunday and be a little frustrated during certain games just because we turned the ball over too many times or there were things we needed to get better at.”

Because some of the issues the Bobcats faced were due to the fact Texas State was playing their first season under Kinne, and the team was made up of over 70 transfers, the ‘Cats are already seeing improvements in spring practice with the coaching adding emphasis on consistency.

“A lot of that had to do with it being year one and having so many faces,” Kinne said. “But I think whoever the quarterback, running back or o-line is, everyone plays a part in that. So we have been putting a huge emphasis on ball security, the details, the discipline, and it is showing.”

A key factor in the Bobcats looking to improve on offense has been the addition of former Clemson offensive coordinator and Lake Travis Head Coach Chad Morris.

Morris was Kinne’s offensive coordinator during the latter’s junior year with the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes in 2010.

During the 2010 season, Morris helped orchestrate an offense that averaged 40.9 points per game and 505.6 yards of offense in Tulsa’s 10-3 season.

In his junior year under Morris, Kinne threw for 3,650 yards and 31 touchdowns.

With Morris joining the staff as the new wide receiver and passing game coordinator for the Bobcats, his years of experience of creating dynamic offenses is helping the Bobcats find the consistency Kinne wants.

“Coach [Chad] Morris has done a great job of that,” Kinne said. “He has just because he has been around some of the best offenses in college football history. [He knows] how to operate the small details. He has been great for those wide receivers, the whole room and the offense. He just demands it and is the same guy every day.”

Another addition to the Bobcat coaching staff is new running back coach and former Texas State quarterback Barrick Nealy.

“Barrick has been awesome,” Kinne said. “Obviously, he played here and he is a legend. I’ve known him for awhile just meeting him at different camps. I didn’t know he played at Texas State until I got here and people started talking about him. Being able to get him here is awesome.”

Nealy was quarterback for the Bobcats from 2003 to 2005 breaking several program records from most passing yards in a single season and career, most touchdowns in a single season and career and currently owns for most total offensive yards in single season.

Since joining the coaching staff at Texas State after a six years with the UTEP Miners, Nealy has made an immediate impact on both the team and the coaches.

“He is a sponge, an awesome person and a tremendous coach,” Kinne said. “He has a great relationship with the players. He’s been someone for me, even though I’m the boss and the head coach, that I gravitate towards. We are becoming friends, so that has been cool to see. He is a great recruiter and very reliable. He has been a home run so far.”

Texas State will continue spring throughout the month of March and into April with 15 spring practices set for the Bobcats.

The conclusion of spring practice will end Saturday, April 13 with the Maroon and Gold Spring Game.

cmcwilliams Twitter: @ColtonBMc

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666