Photo by Gerald Castillo
Bobcats make it through first day of spring practice
Everything was new to the Bobcats.
Offensive coordinator Bob Stitt has been coaching since 1989, but has never held his current position at this level. He was still a bit anxious about it when he went to Fredericksburg for a pizza dinner with his wife, Joan, on Saturday.
“Man,” Bob told her in disbelief. “Tomorrow’s my first practice as an FBS coordinator.”
“You’ve been waiting for this,” she told him. “You’ve been working for this for so long.”
Sunday marked a lot of other firsts for Texas State. Jake Spavital had never led a practice as a head coach before. He found it a bit “boring,” said it’s a necessary shift.
“I’m so used to having the structure of quarterback meeting, right into a run-through, right into individual (work). I’ve hired a really good staff, a staff that has called it at many levels that I trust. And I don’t need to micromanage. So, it’s more about delegation and making sure the practice flows the way we want it to and just see if we can fix anything from there.
“My role has changed as a head coach. It’s more about finding the deficiencies of where we currently are and go out there and fix them. So, for the practice part, it was pretty boring.”
This was also the first time the coaching staff and players shared the field together. Spavital said that this early in the process, both groups are still feeling each other out. He understands learning a new scheme and system can be overwhelming, but he wants to test how well the players can handle instruction.
The players remained positive, cycling through individual and position work before moving on to the scheme portion of practice. Mistakes were made, but Stitt said that’s normal during this point in the transition. The focus moving forward will be to not make them again. So far, the players have come away impressed with their new coaches.
“They care for the players,” sophomore quarterback Jaylen Gipson said. “If we’re in pain or we’re hurting, they won’t let us do certain things in the weight room, which allows us to come out on day one of spring practice and go full go. So, it’s a good thing.”
Spavital described it as an overall good practice. Aside from his team staying healthy, his goal this spring is to build chemistry and set the cultural foundation for his program. Doing that takes time, but Sunday was the first step in the right direction.
“We’ve all got to get on the same page because this is a veteran group,” Spavital said. “We’ve got 19 seniors, been through a lot, played a lot of football. And they’ve got to understand that we need them as much as they need us. And we’re eventually building that culture where we’re on the same page moving forward.”
“It was exciting, you know?” Stitt added. “To get to this level, it’s really all the same. Every level, you move up and when you actually get out here, it’s all the same … It was a lot of fun out there today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”