The Sam Houston State University Bearkats football team suited up for the first time in 2018 with the annual Orange vs. White Spring football game Thursday night at Bowers Stadium.
The Bearkats showed great play on both sides of the ball with some key goal line stands on the defensive side and even some deep throws down the sideline from the offense.
Head coach KC Keeler knows that answers will not come overnight, and it takes time and patience to try to fill in the gaps left by players last season.
“We are a work in progress,” Keeler said. “We have definitely made progress. It’s tough playing spring ball without your top three tight ends. But, I definitely have seen a pretty dramatic improvement with our defense.”
Keeler has been satisfied with both sides of the ball so far, especially considering all of the offensive weapons the Kats lost last year.
“I think the offensive line is coming along. But, when you bring in a brand new offense in a short period of time, there is going to be some growing pains. All in all, I thought it was a really good spring.”
New offensive coordinator Ryan Carty is bringing a new style to the offense. He is coming off of his gig with the University of New Hampshire for 11 seasons—in which the last six seasons his role was as offensive coordinator. Carty is working with Keeler for the second time in their football careers; Keeler was coach when Carty played as a quarterback at Delaware and was the signal caller.
Carty, with the new job and new competition that he will be facing, has had to make adjustments within the offense.
“We have made a few [changes] here and there,” Carty said. “Not too much to where anyone couldn’t handle it. We wanted to make sure that we were still going to play as clean as we could. But, we also wanted to make some tweaks so we could make sure that everyone is on the same page and knowing exactly what we need from them to hopefully take the next step in going to the national championship and win the national championship. That’s what we are here to do.”
One of the key battles that everyone was keeping their eyes on during the game was the battle at the quarterback position. SHSU is looking to find a new starter since the departure of Jeremiah Briscoe after his final season in 2017.
Mike Dare, who is in contention for the starting job at quarterback, talked about how he felt the offense performed during the game.
“Tonight, I felt great,” Dare said. “Honestly, I thought our offense came a long way from the start of the spring semester. Meeting the new guy [Ryan Carty] coming in here and grasping the offense really quick and getting used to two starts like Davion [Davis] and Nate [Stewart]. Getting used to them and being able to throw to them is really easy now, especially with the chemistry and summer is only going to make that better.”
SHSU opens the 2018 season on Sept. 8 at Bowers Stadium against the Prairie View A&M Panthers.