By Kiersten Ehr
“Effort, effort, effort. Find a way to get better.”
These are the words that Associate Head Coach-Linebackers Coach John Wiley shouts at the start of spring camp practice to the players who are proving themselves to hopefully be chosen to play during fall season.
Blasting in the background are the lyrics, “Say your prayers little one, don’t forget, my son, to include everyone” from the famous “Enter Sandman” from Metallica, as head coach Everett Withers gave his players a pep talk.
During every practice, Withers gives his players a pep talk along with implanting the values to ensure it becomes a habit in memory on and off the field for the athletes. The core values are honesty, treating women with respect, no weapons, no drugs and no stealing. Welcome to the Everett Withers era of Texas State football ladies and gentlemen.
Success on the field isn’t the only thing that is emphasized for Withers coaching philosophy; strong academics is highly praised and pushed upon.
There are three groups for academics for the players: group gold is the top for B’s and above, maroon is C-B’s and blue is the lowest level for academics with C’s and below. Previous Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione did not have this academic system players stated.
During spring camp on Monday, Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach Brett Elliott spoke to the media and stated that the coaches are backing up coach Withers coaching philosophy for on and off the field behavior.
“I think there are some (players) who are buying it,” coach Elliott said. “The coach has a plan. He had a plan at James Madison University and I saw him execute it. He wants good guys around and wants quality human beings. Not just great athletes. He doesn’t want players that will keep us coaches up late at night worrying about them.”
Coach Elliott said that, hard work in the classroom and hard work on the field goes hand and hand. The players will then do things right on the field.
“I think it all translates and that his ultimate goal,” Elliott said. “I think (Withers) is doing a great job of it and us coaches support him and will try to help him get the program at where it needs to be.”
As far as spring camp, coach Elliott said that the coach’s jobs are to make sure the team is always going up and improving every day.
“We have our good days and bad days,” Elliott said. “That’s the big thing about spring is that it’s getting the base offense down and improving every day. We got a long way to go but if we keep doing it every day, we’ll be all right.”
Before you know it, the 2016 fall regular season for the Bobcats will be here as there are only 144 more days until the first game on September 3 versus Ohio.
“We got a long way to go,” Elliott said. “But good thing is it’s spring right now but we have to have a sense of urgency. Before we know it, fall’s going to be here and we have some good stuff on tape stuff to learn from.”
Junior quarterback Tyler Jones is continuing to prove to the coaches that he is worthy of the starting position when fall season comes around.
“I think Tyler has done a pretty good job this spring picking up the offense,” Elliott said. “We’ve got to find some depth behind him. In my mind, we got kind of one quarterback and we’ve got to find some other guys to step up.”
As far as goals for the Texas State football team during the spring camp, coach Elliott said that the whole goal for spring is to get the tempo down and for the team to regain confidence on the offense and get the base fundamentals down.
“We’re going to make mistakes,” Elliott said. “Coach (Randall) McCray does a good job on the defense. It’s a complicated scheme on the defense since you have guys coming from everywhere. It’s a little unorthodox of what were going to face. I don’t think we’re there yet with the tempo.”
This is coach Elliott’s first year at Texas State; last year he was down at James Madison University alongside Everett Withers. Coach Elliott said it was hard for him to have expectations before arriving at Texas State.
“We didn’t know the personal or the capability of our guys,” Elliott said. “You try not to have specific expectations. Literally it sounds cliché but you just want to improve on one practice to the next and if you do that, you a put a few together, which is the goal, and we can get where we want to get.”
Summer is only a month away and that means the football players have to focus on meeting the expectations and criteria for the coaches on their own which is key coach Elliott stressed on.
“I want them to get their weights, where they are required to be at,” Elliott said. “I think that’s important. I want them to be in phenomenal shape especially on offense. The pace that we’re going to go we better be in phenomenal shape. We got to be able to go, go and go. I always want our guys to keep learning the offense.”
With only two more spring camp practices, focus and confidence is the primary goal for the players and the coaches to ensure the football program finishes proactively before summer starts.
“We got to really, really focus on these next two and go out in the spring with some confidence, and send some guys in the summer off season with some confidence,” Elliott said.