Defense has the edge in Texas State spring scrimmage


The Texas State football team pitted its offense against its defense Saturday in the annual Maroon and Gold spring scrimmage.

Unlike a usual spring game format in which the team is split into two sides and a normal four-quarter game is played, the offense and defense competed in situational drills. Through seven sessions, addressing a different situation in each one, the sides were awarded points based on how well the unit played in that situation – three points for a first down and six for a touchdown on offense, and four points for a turnover, sack or forced three-and-out by the defense.

“We came out here to have some fire and energy, get some things done and play some situations. We were able to do that today,” Texas State coach Everett Withers said. “We had one injury today, but other than that I thought we got a lot accomplished today.”

Sophomore running back Anthony Smith hurt his right leg in the scrimmage and didn’t return after being helped off the field by trainers. Smith was second on the team last season in rushing yards with 352 and rushing touchdowns with three.

Junior running back Anthony D. Taylor — the Bobcats’ leading rusher last year with 432 yards — had three touchdowns in the scrimmage, including a 60-yard run against the first-team defense. Sophomores Jaylin Nelson and Robert Brown also ran with the first group.

The Bobcats are looking to replace last year’s starting quarterback, Damian Williams, who completed his eligibility. Sophomore quarterback Willie Jones III came out with the first unit, and redshirt freshman Jaylen Gipson played with the second team.

“I thought (Jones) had a really good day,” Withers said. “There’s some things he needs to get better at, but I thought he had a really good day.

“I thought Jaylen Gipson was a little bit up and down. We’d like to see him be a little bit more consistent. He is trying to make so many plays. Instead of playing the scheme and playing the offense, he wants to make a big play every play, and you just can’t do it in this offense.”

Some new faces made plays for the Bobcats on defense as they held the offense in check for most of the day and tallied 141 points to the offense’s 123. Junior safety Jalen Smith, who sat out last season after transferring from Fresno State, played well in coverage with the first unit and even recovered a fumble.

The defense is also slightly bigger after a couple of players switched sides for Texas State. Sophomore defensive tackle Jaquel Pierce moved from offensive line toward the end of last season and is now running with the first unit. At 285 pounds, he gives the Bobcats a much-needed space eater on the line.

Cornerback Dennis Johnson switched from receiver this spring and is running with the first unit. At 6 feet 4 inches, Johnson gives the Bobcats some extra length in coverage.



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