The End of Spring

The Sam Houston State Bearkats will end the 2003 spring practice campaign with the annual Orange and White spring game on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Spring practice started on March 10 and with the exception of Spring Break continued until yesterday.

One of the central focuses of this spring has been the quest to find a starting quarterback for next season. Junior Travis Tobaben, freshman red shirt Adam Karas and junior college transfer Daniel Forrest are all competing for the job.

“I think that all three have made progress,” SHSU head coach Ron Randleman said. “Daniel is new to the program and he has done a nice job in the time he has been here. Adam has made a lot of progress and Travis has improved a great deal from last year, of course he is coming off some experience.”

Tobaben started five games for the Kats last season in which he completed 93-of-180 passes for 1,118 yards and three touchdowns.

On defense, the Kats have the daunting task of replacing five starters from last year including second team All-Southland Conference defensive lineman Kelvin Randall and honorable mention All-SLC defensive lineman John Charles Guseman.

“We have changed our defensive scheme up somewhat and made some changes in how we do things,” defensive coordinator Craig Naiver said. “The guys have picked it up really well and overall they have worked hard for the spring.”

Naiver said linebackers T.J. Dibble and Marcus Mikulec have really stepped it up for the Kats and Dejuan Davis has been moved to free safety as part of the new scheme.

The Bearkats have had their share of injuries in spring practice, but nothing that should keep any of the players out for an extended amount of time.

“We have pretty much met all of the objectives that we wanted to in practice,” offensive coordinator James Ferguson said. “On the negative side, we have had some injuries to some guys that we wanted to see workout and haven’t been able to, but it has given some younger guys the opportunity to get some reps and that leads to experience.”

Spring practice helps the coaching staff set a depth chart heading into August and gives the players a chance to find out where they stand.

The Bearkats are playing one of the toughest Division II schedules next fall with games against two Division I schools in Baylor and the University of Texas-El Paso. Also included in the Kats schedule is 2001 Division II national champion the University of Montana.

“We had a chance to play a money team in UTEP, which is good for the program, and then we had a chance to play Baylor,” Randleman said. “It makes it a very tough schedule with UTEP, Baylor and Montana, but you have to play one of those Big 12 schools when you get the chance. We’ll face those obstacles as they come.”

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