When Jake Spavital was hired, Texas State’s incentive was clear — fix this offense.
The Bobcats produced an average ranking of 118th in yards per game over the last three seasons and didn’t provide much reason for optimism in 2018. The power spread attack that Everett Withers tried to implement never materialized, primarily due to position shuffling and injuries along the offensive line but also inconsistent quarterback play.
In addition to Spavital’s prowess, in comes one of the most influential minds in football at offensive coordinator. Bob Stitt is credited with the invention of the fly-sweep at Colorado School of Mines back in 2003. It crept up to West Virginia during their blowout Orange Bowl win over Clemson in 2012 and has permeated the NFL as more spread concepts are being used.
“The offense has kind of been beat down a little bit over the last few years and taken maybe some blame for some things and we want to give these guys confidence and get some swagger going on that side of the ball,” Stitt said.
This year marks one of his biggest challenges yet. A lot of Texas State’s offensive talent is unproven potential outside of all-conference center Aaron Brewer. A positive is that the unit ranks Top 20 nationally in returning offense, so some experience is there to work with.
The question mark is still quarterback. Willie Jones III, the team’s starter last season and only player that had two years under his belt, transferred and of the team’s remaining options, only sophomore Tyler Vitt (1,159 yards, 7 TDs, 10 INTs) started in 2018. While sophomore Jaylen Gipson also stepped in for some snaps, the frontrunner looks to be junior transfer Gresch Jensen from Fullerton College. Jensen quarterbacked Montana when Stitt was head coach of the Grizzlies in 2017.
When evaluating quarterbacks, Spavital admitted that he doesn’t have a “type” per se. His track record backs that up and in fact, he only has one question, can they put up points? Every quarterback he’s coached, from Case Keenum, to Johnny Manziel to Will Grier, had different skillsets he had to consider.
“You have all these guys are different guys so the way we attract quarterbacks to come here is that you come here and be your own man and make a name for yourself,” Spavital said.
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