New season, new faces

Spring football is underway at Sam Houston State University, and with that comes the first look at the 2018 Bearkat football team.  Spring football started on March 21, with practices happening every other day during the week.  All practices start at 8 a.m. and are open to the public for anyone that wants to see the Kats in action.

During the course of the Spring there will also be three scrimmages, including a Spring game.  The first scrimmage took place on March 24, the next will be Saturday April 7 and the Orange vs. White game is salted for Thursday April 12 and will wrap up spring football.

The headline of spring football is the battle to replace record-setting former Bearkat quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe.  It is really a two horse race at this point in the Spring with junior Mike Dare, the former Rutgers and Lackawanna College quarterback and last year’s second overall recruit, redshirt freshman Ty Brock.  Both bring a different skillset; Dare more closely resembles Briscoe, as he is a prototypical pocket passing quarterback with a big arm.  Brock is more of an athlete. While he does not quite possess the arm talent of Dare, he makes up for it with his legs and his ability to make plays on the fly.

Aside from the quarterback battle, the biggest story of spring football is the Bearkats new offensive coordinator Ryan Carty.  This will not be the first time that head coach K.C. Keeler and Carty have worked together, as Keeler coached Carty at Delaware where Carty was a quarterback.  Carty has spent the last 11 years at the University of New Hampshire and was the offensive coordinator the last six years.

Keeler likely needs Carty to remake the offense as the Bearkats want to be a more physical team particularly in the running game.  With the second-leading rusher from last season Remus Bulmer and sophomore Kyran Jackson returning, Carty does have talent to work with.  The goal is to have a more formidable ground attack to match up better with FCS powerhouses James Madison University and North Dakota State in the playoffs.  Keeler actually offered the job to Carty last season, but Carty declined because he would not be able to remake the offense in his image.  This year that is not the case.

“One of the reasons [Carty] did not take the job last year was my mandate that we were going to pretty much keep the offense intact,” Keeler said. “After evaluating where we are offensively, I think we need to be able to run the ball better late in December. I think what you’ll see is us continue to play fast, but we’re not going to sacrifice scheme for speed. There are going to be some things schematically that we’ll do differently than we’ve done in the past.”

With another scrimmage coming up on Saturday followed by the spring game April 12, fans will be able to see what the reimagined SHSU offense looks like going into the 2018 season.

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