By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Jake Spavital has envisioned being the Texas State Bobcats head coach for a long-time. His dream came true in November 2018 when the school appointed him as the new head football coach.
“It means a lot. I’ve been looking at this job for a long-time now” Spavital said. “I’ve recruited this area, and I’ve been recruiting it pretty hard for a long-time. I’ve fallen in love with this area. The San Marcos area has a lot to offer. The Central Texas area is a beautiful area.
“Besides that, it’s also a recruiting hotbed. I am very honored to be the head coach here as I see the potential in this place. I am proud to say that I am a part of it.”
This is Spavital’s first head coaching opportunity. He was an Offensive Coordinator since 2013 before accepting this position.
He previously served the last two seasons as the West Virginia Mountaineers Offensive Coordinator. He worked under Dana Holgorsen, who has since become the Houston Cougars head football coach.
As a new head coach, Spavital now has to oversee the entire football program.
“Really, the organization of how things work around here,” he said. “That’s been the hardest thing for me. I’ve always had a plan in place for the staff. I’ve always known this place for its recruiting, so there is a lot of familiarity with that. The thing that I’m not familiar with is how the academics work. How they structure their class schedules.
“When do they have their holiday breaks? And their spring breaks? That’s the one I’ve been working on the most since I’ve been here. I want to make sure I’m on top of that, so I have a detailed plan for the staff and the players.”
Spavital has appointed Bob Stitt to be the team’s Offensive Coordinator. In addition, he hired his brother Zac Spavital to be the team’s Defensive Coordinator.
“I’ve worked with him at the University of Houston for one-year,” Spavital said. “There is similarity. The thing that makes Zac so vital to Texas State is he’s a very quality defensive coach. He’s also a qualified recruiter, too. He’s been a recruiting coordinator in the State of Texas for a while. He also has a proven track record of developing guys — recruiting them then turning them into first-round draft picks. He comes from the Bob Stoops tree and he learned from the great defensive mind in David Gibbs, who is part of a great football coach’s family. It’s also a very good name in the business.
“I think we’re very fortunate because when we were going through the negotiations with it, because he is a wanted coach, as there are a lot of coaches, who want him to be a part of their organization, I thought it was a pretty awesome deal he wanted to come here and take over this defense and do whatever he can to help Texas State. Outside of the professional side of things, he is my brother, but he understands when he walks through this building, it’s for the betterment of the program.”
The 33-year-old Tulsa, Oklahoma native is taking over a program that went 3-9 in 2018 under former head coach Everett Withers. The Bobcats last winning season was in 2014 when the team went 7-5.
“Since my time that I’ve been here, we’ve got some really good kids around here,” Spavital said. “I think they’re a solid group of kids around here. I think they were lacking a little bit in confidence. I think what we’re here to do is spark them. I told them in the team meeting, I’m an Offensive Coordinator and an Offensive coach, but I understand the importance of playing together and playing complimentary football. That’s why I brought in an Offensive Coordinator and have a Defensive Coordinator, who can run those sides of the ball.
“That way I can manage and play both sides of the ball. I also want to make sure that we’re playing together as a team. I think that they’re pretty fired up about — playing complementary football and playing together — because I do think they’re great kids already. I think they’re a close-knit group of kids and they want to win. When they come in, you have to build their confidence up and getting these guys to play together. I think good results will happen when everyone is playing together moving forward.”
The Bobcats averaged 18.7 points per game during the 2018 season. All of the team’s quarterbacks on their roster are slated to return in 2019.
Tyler Vitt went 116 of 191 for 1,159 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions in nine games. Willie Jones III went 56 of 103 for 751 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games.
Hutch White and Jaylen Gipson also threw passes in 2018.
“The quarterback is a very important position in our offense,” Spavital said. “You can tell by the track record that we’ve had with quarterbacks. We’ve had a lot of NFL guys, a lot of high draft picks, who have played in this system. I think these quarterbacks are pretty fired up to be a part of it. There’s a lot of work that needs to be put into this game. I told them all that I know they split time last year, but I told them that it’s an open competition.
“We all have to get to work and get back to the little things, because I’m a stickler with quarterbacks and we have to make sure we’re doing all the things right. We’re going to be the pulse of the team, the pulse of the offense.”
Spavital said that all the players on the roster will have to earn their spot.
“I told them straight up that this is a good opportunity for everyone,” he said. “I don’t have any prior judgments of anybody in this room. Everyone has a clean slate, so it’s going to be an open competition moving forward. We’ll see where it goes from there.”
Spavital wants his team to take it one day at a time instead of indicating an overall goal for the 2019 season. He also wants the entire team to understand their roles on the team.
“They have to go beyond that daily pursuit of excellence,” he said. “I hope they get one day better at something. When you get better at something individually, collectively, as a group, you’re going to continue to get better. You can’t be looking ahead of that next season. You have to focus on getting better each day and perfecting your craft and building together as a unit.”
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