With a new coaching system and dozens of unproven players, the Bearkats have hardly arrived to where they want to be.
The way they see it, spring football has been the start of Sam Houston State attempting a valiant return to its championship form of two and three years ago, rather than a rebuild for one of only three teams to make the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
Sam Houston caps four weeks of spring football practice with tonight’s Orange-White game at Bowers Stadium.
The Kats bring back 13 starters from the 2013 playoff team and the bar has been set higher this season.
“It’s about getting back to where we’re used to being as champions,” said defensive back Desmond Fite. “But we want to be the Southland Conference champions and win the national championship. Practice has been more of a teaching thing so far. Everybody’s trying to learn new things. We slowed it down a little bit in the beginning but once everybody gets it, we’ll be rolling.”
Kats to use offense-defense point system again
For the sixth year in a row, the spring game will feature a special point system used to determine the winner.
The Bearkat offense will be the white team, while the orange team plays defense.
All scoring plays will have their normal point value – touchdown six points, field goal three, two-point run-pass conversions and single-point PAT (point after touchdown) kicks. The offense also will be credited with two points for every first down.
The defense will receive four points each time it forces a change of possession, six points for a turnover and seven points for a defensive touchdown.
Sam Houston head coach K.C. Keeler said that with several players still recovering from late season injuries last fall, it was more difficult to divide the Kats into two teams.
“I like doing the point system because with every snap, there’s a chance to get points,” Keeler said. “If it’s a turnover, or if it’s a stop on a third down, the defense is getting points.”
Since being hired in January, Keeler added offensive coordinator Phil Longo and co-defensive coordinator Brad Sherrod to the coaching staff.
The new offense is expected to feature a more extensive passing game which uses running backs and tight ends in every facet of the offense, from pass protection to the running and screen game.
Defensively, Sam Houston has holes to fill at linebacker after graduating seniors Eric Fiello, Jesse Beauchamp and Tanner Brock.