SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Excitement and optimism rule San Marcos right now with the Texas State football team wrapped up spring practice under first-year Head Coach G.J. Kinne. The Bobcats are coming off a 4-8 season and are eyeing a major turnaround.

“We can definitely be really good,” said Texas State sophomore wide receiver Kole Wilson. “The offense is clicking. As you can see, the defense does their thing as well.”

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Wilson is one of the handful of transfers from Incarnate Word for Texas State. Kinne spent one season as the head coach of the Cardinals, leading them to a 12-2 record and the most touchdowns in all of FCS.

Kinne is known for a fast-paced, high-powered offense. That was very clear in the spring game Saturday as the offense moved at a frenetic pace.

“I thought the tempo has been where it needs to be since day one,” said Kinne. “Obviously it’s gotten better each practice. I think a lot of times tempo is the coaching staff more than anybody demanding that tempo.”

A key piece returning for the Bobcats is last year’s leading receiver, Ashtyn Hawkins. The junior wide receiver had a couple of explosive plays Saturday at Bobcat Stadium.

“He’s not the biggest guy,” said Kinne about 5-foot-10 Hawkins. “He’s got great ball skills. He’s probably the best I’ve been around at the collegiate level of tracking the ball.”

Throwing Hawkins the ball will likely be a talented transfer quarterback. The question is which one between Malik Hornsby and CJ Rogers?

Hornsby is a former four-star recruit who comes to San Marcos from Arkansas. Rogers transfers in from Baylor after not playing his first two seasons in Waco.

“I thought they did a really good job all spring,” said Kinne about Hornsby and Rogers. “I think [they] got to showcase it a little today. They took care of the ball.”

The defense stole some of the shine Saturday making some splash plays of their own. The biggest cheer for the defense came when Cedar Park alum Ben Bell recorded his second-straight sack.

“Ben Bell has had a great spring, he really has,” said Kinne. “He’s caused a lot of issues for the offense…He was in our backfield a lot. He’s a really good player. Glad we got him.”

The Bobcats will look for their first winning season since 2014. They’ll kick off the 2023 campaign Sept. 2 at Baylor.