Taylor, Bobcats working to be ‘smarter’ team
Head coach Jake Spavital was worried about the quick turnaround.
A scrimmage on Saturday, a team meeting on Sunday and now another practice on Monday. The players might not have the same energy as usual.
They did, though. They started off a little sluggish but picked things up as the morning wore on.
“Run-throughs were a little lethargic as well,” Spavital said. “And then we entered into a team tempo period and they amped it up and they responded. I love where their energy’s at. I love the enthusiasm that they’re playing with. They're playing with a very high effort.”
The Bobcats’ effort in practice has been consistent for most of the spring. It’s allowed the coaching staff to find where the weaknesses are in the team and work through them.
Spavital says the main thing his team needs to work on now is becoming a smarter football team.
“(We have to) put them in situations and know how to handle them and just make sure we don’t beat ourselves,” Spavital said. “And there was some ups and some downs in terms of — we changed our snap cadences because we’ve got to keep evolving from an offensive standpoint. And we had some pre-snap penalties on offense and defense, which, it was good. It was all positive, we’ve got to keep cleaning that up. So that’s our emphasis moving forward and we’ve got to just keep becoming a smart football team.”
Players are being thrown into unfamiliar situations all over the field. For instance, senior defensive back Anthony J. Taylor, who started eight games at cornerback last year, has mostly been playing as a nickel back.
Defensive backs coach Brett Dewhurst noted that nothing is permanent, as his group is missing a few players due to injury. But he does want to see which of his players have the versatility to play at multiple spots.
“We’re all in the same room,” Dewhurst said. “We’re trying to see who can kinda fit where with those kind of guys … that way if a guy goes down with an injury, you get the best guys out there. It’s not necessarily ‘Who’s the backup guys running with the twos?’ It’s ‘Who’s the next DB that can help us out there?”
Taylor’s not completely fresh to the position. He played it some while at Allen High School. But he does have some rust to shake off, learning the nuances and responsibilities at nickel.
“At corner, you look at the wide receivers’ alignments and everything like that. You can’t really bring the same thing to nickel because the slot wide receivers, they have a lot more space,” Taylor said. “So, it’s more a reaction than anything at nickel. And then also, just the rerouting aspect, always having your eyes on the QB makes it a lot easier, too.”
The more the Bobcats understand their role, the more they know what to do in every situation of the game, the more efficient they’ll be as a team. And if the group’s efficiency can match the same level as its energy, Spavital thinks Texas State will be in pretty good shape.
“It’s all about living the philosophy,” Spavital said. “So that’s our emphasis moving forward. And we’ve got to just keep becoming a smart football team and keep playing with that physicality and toughness that we just want to keep building on.”