BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
If the third time is the charm things have to be looking up for Tarleton State football coach Todd Whitten as he enters the third season of his third trip at the university.
Things indeed appear to look up after Tarleton rounded out the 2018 season with a trip to a bowl game only to have victory slip away much like the end of the season in Lone Star Conference play.
Despite having a bevy of talented receivers, the Texans were unable to stretch the field and the season took its toll on a talented offensive line.
Tarleton inability to move the football came as a big surprise considering quarterback Zed Woerner was on his way to rewriting the Texan’s passing record. Woerner staked his mark as Tarleton’s all-time passing leader in the Corsicana Bowl when his 15-31 two touchdown performance was good for 253 yards and 8,243 yards total career yards.
Tarleton’s first winning record since 2013 (6-5) had a tipping point, and it was a heartbreaking loss against Midwestern State where the Texans had the undefeated 8-0 Mustangs on their heels in a road game only to lose in overtime 45-42. That was followed up by a 33-21 loss to A&M Commerce and a 38-31 bowl game loss to Central Oklahoma.
Looking back the Texan could easily have been 9-3 instead of the 6-6 final mark they recorded, and those last three games have left Whitten and this year’s 2018 edition of the Texans wanting more.
“I thought we left something out there last year,” Whitten said. ” We went out to Western New Mexico, and they took it to us. Nothing against them, but I thought we were the better team, and we came away with a loss.”
You don’t need to attend a coaching school to quickly realize the Texans’ biggest question mark will be at quarterback where an open competition exists between seniors Ben Holmes (Orchard Park, NY) and Derek Kiser (Burnet, TX).
Kiser played in three games last season including starts against Delta State (20-36) and Western Oregon (19-30) but didn’t throw a touchdown while tossing four interceptions. Holmes is a former receiver who turned into a quarterback his senior season of high school and led his team all the way to the state title game in doing so.
“We are an improved football with some veteran football players who are talented and stepping up into the leadership roles like we hope they will do,” Whitten said. “We are in shorts and pads right now, but we will soon see who is prepared to play.”