This week Jack Hopkins joins us from the WACJack.Blogspot.com and formerly of Bobcat Report. Vandal Nation: Talk about this Texas State program as a whole. The win over Houston was a big statement, the last four games not so much. How are fans feeling about the transition so far?
Jack Hopkins: I’ve watched the Bobcats play Houston, Texas Tech, Nevada and New Mexico. Right now I think the people that care passionately about the program are disappointed, but I also think a few have been levelheaded and understand that Texas State wasn’t even a good FCS team last season. Home attendance outside of the Texas Tech game has been abysmal. With the Vandals coming to town during Austin City Limits and on the same day of the Texas/Oklahoma Red River Shootout, I don’t expect many fans to see the game.
VN: Talk about the quarterback position. Shaun Rutherford has good numbers on the surface, though some fans I’ve talked to seem iffy on the position so far.
JH: Several Bobcat fans would like to strip this funky run-first spread zone-read option offense and install a system with more drop back passing. Tyler Arndt, Rutherford’s backup, would be better suited to running that kind of scheme. Rutherford’s history of fumbling made many fans wish for a change, so it looks like the best option in this scheme might be the third string quarterback, Duke DeLancelotti. There’s not much to complain about Rutherford’s command of the offense this season, except for that it looks like the other team I’ve seen that runs it, New Mexico, has figured out how to play both a passing and a running QB for sixty minutes. Franchione likes to use Rutherford until the team has fallen behind to the point where he needs a passer, and Arndt is then inserted.
VN: Marcus Curry. Dynamic and explosive, it looks like. Talk about what this kid is capable of. Has he been everything fans expected this season?
JH: Curry, believe it or not, has probably been underused this season. He had five carries for seventeen yards against the Lobos, then eight for 33 the week before against Nevada. Curry also met Duke Johnson that week. While he shares carries with Terrance Franks, Curry also only has 79 yards combined in the four games since his outburst in Houston for 131 yards. The coaches need to figure out a way to get him the ball because Curry is one of the most talented backs in the conference.
VN: What’s the environment like for a game at San Marcos? Has it ramped up now that the Bobcats are in the WAC?
JH: I’ll be honest – I haven’t made a game all season. From what I know, the opener against Texas Tech was fantastic outside the scoreboard, rain dropped the Nevada attendance to a laughable number, and not many fans were enthused to see old Southland foe Stephen F. Austin.
I think the excitement for the WAC was for the one that contained Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii — not the one that gets scrapped after a season and then follows with a trip to the Sun Belt. That’s nothing against the Vandals or Idaho, as I’m sure you feel the same way.
VN: The Bobcats have given up at least 34 points in their last four games. What’s the reason behind the defense struggling so mightily?
JH: Both of the lines are dinged up and a little lighter than most FBS teams counter with. This funky offense I described earlier is meant to devour time of possession.
When it’s coming off the field repeatedly, the defense is wearing down. Texas Tech, Nevada and New Mexico bottled the Bobcats up early and often, and really weren’t threatened after halftime.
Sean Kramer can be reached at email@example.com