Photo by Gerald Castillo
Texas State looks ahead to UTSA after disappointing loss to South Alabama
Sitting on the team bus on the tarmac as Texas State waited for its team charter plane to arrive in Mobile, Ala., defensive coordinator Chris Woods discovered an alarming stat.
During the Bobcats’ 41-31 loss to South Alabama, where Texas State led by 14 points twice, Texas State defended 60 plays. On 55 of those plays, the Bobcats only gave up 2.9 yards per play. But the other five plays resulted in 191 yards given up.
Head coach Everett Withers said those five plays are correctable. But those five plays cost the Bobcats a chance to win their Sun Belt opener.
“I guess, the pleasant thing is they can be corrected,” Withers said. “But the unpleasant thing is why and we try to find out the why (Sunday) and (Monday). We’re a lot closer going into game four than we have before.”
The Bobcats know they can compete against their opponents heading into Saturday’s game against UTSA at 6 p.m., inside the Alamodome in San Antonio. Now it’s a matter of learning how to finish games.
“I hope we’re getting better from where we started to where we are now, even this year going into game four,” Withers said. “You know, this is, and I’ve probably said this before, this really the first season where we’ve had team goals … This is the first year that we’ve had team goals. Our goals (the last two seasons) was to go play hard. Go play hard and compete. Go give it all you got, you know, that was kind of our goals. And now, we have legit goals of winning. Not just competing but winning. And again, you say, how can you not have goals? Well, when you don’t have players, you can’t have goals. We’ve got players and hopefully we can have goals to go win now. That’s kind of our mindset is to go try to win.”
Withers sees progression despite the frustrating loss. On offense, the third-year head coach was pleased with Texas State’s explosive plays - a 50-yard run by sophomore quarterback Willie Jones III, a 42-yard touchdown reception by freshman wide receiver Javen Banks and a 25-yard touchdown grab from junior wide receiver Hutch White highlight those big plays.
Withers also felt like the run game was good, but said it could’ve been better.
Defensively, Withers liked Texas State’s run defense. The Bobcats also tallied two turnovers - the second game this season with multiple turnovers.
But Withers also recognized the negatives. He said there were nine plays that cost Texas State 35 points - a muffed punt by White, busted coverages and a dropped touchdown pass are among the mistakes.
Junior linebacker Bryan London, who leads the Bobcats with 28 total tackles in three games, said improving focus will help Texas State eliminate its mistakes.
“Coach Woods has a quote that he always uses that I kind of like, ‘It’s not about the quality of your good plays, it’s the quality of your bad plays because those are the ones that get you beat,’” London said. “So, if your bad plays, you know, busted coverages and you only give up 15 yards, you can live with that. But if you’re giving up touchdowns when you mess up, it kind of hurts. It negates all the good that you did if you hold them to two downs, three downs and they score.”
Although there were positives in the loss to South Alabama, the Bobcats aim to get over the hump and win games.
“Baby steps are cool, but at some point you’ve got to take leaps and bounds to get to where you want to go,” London said. “I feel like we’re at the point where it’s not enough to get better or progress, it’s time to put up or shut up.”