WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer piece with Drew King, who covers Texas State athletics and is the sports editor at the San Marcos Daily Record, about Saturday’s game against the University of Wyoming.
Kickoff is at 5 p.m. MT at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Texas. The game will be televised ESPN+.
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It has only been one game, but what are your impressions of first-year coach Jake Spavital, and what are the biggest things he and his staff need to do to get the program heading into the right direction?
I think Spavital has two main goals for this season: revamp a bottom-10 Football Bowl Subdivision offense, and help an improving defense reach its maximum potential. Last week’s opponent, Texas A&M, is a pretty difficult team do either of those things against. I think the defense should look a lot better with teams pushed back further in their own territory, but it'll be incumbent on the offense to make sure that's the case. Texas State crossed the 50-yard line twice all game, and the Aggies' average starting field position was their own 44-yard line.
The Bobcats played two quarterbacks last week at Texas A&M. Who do you expect to start and see the most playing time Saturday, or could it be a two-man rotation?
Spavital called the decision a "coin flip" at Tuesday's press conference. Tyler Vitt, last week's starter, has a higher ceiling with the ability to extend plays with his legs and make throws on the run outside the pocket, but also makes too many questionable decisions. Gresch Jensen has the higher floor with better pocket presence and quicker reads, but can't evade pass rushers as well as Vitt. My best guess is Spavital will start Jensen this week, but also give Vitt a drive in the second quarter and might keep him there if he performs better.
With 10 starters back, the defense looks like a definite strength of this team. Aside from experience, what makes this unit click and in your opinion, what is its strengths?
The upperclassmen have played under several different defensive coaches in their careers, and learned multiple schemes. I think it has turned them into an unusually versatile unit that can adjust to any style of offense. Don't discount the young guys, either. The coaching staff is banking on them to provide a lot of depth. Freshman defensive back Khambrail Winters led the team with eight tackles last week.
What were the biggest things -- good or bad -- you took from Texas State's 41-7 loss to Texas A&M?
My biggest takeaway was that Texas State has to run the ball to be successful. The coaching staff thinks a lot of the team's running backs, but they weren't able to break free against Texas A&M. Spavital said they chose to axe the ground game altogether in the second quarter. I think establishing the run will be a point of emphasis this week.
How do you see Saturday's game playing out, and who wins?
Spavital called Wyoming "the definition of efficiency," and it should be enjoyable to watch the Cowboys' offense and Bobcats' defense clash. I don't think it bodes well for Texas State that Wyoming held Missouri’s running backs to 3.0 yards per carry. The Cowboys lead 2-1 in the all-time series, but the home team has won each game. I predicted the Bobcats would win the game 28-21 before the season, but after seeing them in action, I think Wyoming comes away with it.
Robert Gagliardi is the WyoSports senior editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 307-755-3325. Follow him on Twitter at @rpgagliardi.