With football season just around the corner, InsideRunenrSports Reporter JJ Perez discusses several topics in his 7.20.15 Journal Entry.
JJ’s Journal Entry for 7.20.15
7 Weeks and Counting
Season 5 for UTSA
Football begins in less than 7 weeks with the Sept 3 matchup at Arizona. The first month of the season will be nothing short of brutal for the ‘Runners. Four very tough matchups vs four well-established programs in consecutive weeks. It will be a gauntlet, to say the least. And while UTSA will be underdogs in all of those matchups, it will be important to monitor the improvement of the team as they head in to Conference USA play. Especially this season with so many new and young faces, improvement may not necessarily show up in the win/loss column.
It’s been a long summer of questions at the QB position for UTSA. With little coming out of private summer workouts, it seems like the upcoming fall practices (which are scheduled to start in two weeks) will decide who will lead the ‘Runners in 2015. It will boil down to two players, in my opinion. Senior transfer Russell Bellomy vs Redshirt Freshman Blake Bogenschutz. Bellomy comes in from Michigan where he saw very little action in his tenure there. Bogenschutz played sparingly in 2014 before an injury to his throwing hand caused him to the last half of the season. While arguments can be made for both players to play, I’m not sure we’ve seen enough out of each of them to make an accurate assessment. We’ll dive into this QB discussion more in our “Countdown to Fall Camp” series later this week, but it does appear like this will be THE position battle to watch this fall camp. UTSA did not release a post-spring depth chart. Earlier in the summer, Head Coach Larry Coker said he did not anticipate releasing a new depth chart before the fall. Also earlier in the summer, Coach Cocker told the local NBC affiliate “I think we'll have more than one quarterback.” Two weeks from the beginning of fall practices, I feel like we’ll have an early indication of who QB1 will be but that could be subject to change later in the season, much like it was last season.
Fall Camp Storylines
Beyond the discussion QB there are other storylines to monitor this fall. What will the offensive line look like? Who will be RB2 and how much will he contribute? Who will step up at LB and Safety? What will the d-line look like? How many Juco and Freshman will see action? We’ll be looking at each of these questions and more in our series “Countdown to Fall Camp” beginning later in the week.
It’s been really quiet on the UTSA Football recruiting front. The ‘Runners stand firm with 2 commits to the 2016 recruiting class. With about 40 known offers out there, it appears that UTSA is taking their time and really zoning in on the targets they want. Many of the recruits UTSA has targeted thus far have stated they anticipate waiting before making their final decision. The ‘Runners will hold their last camp of the summer next week so things may pick up a little bit very soon.
It’s an interesting time to follow the UTSA Hoops program. Coming off a down year, the coaching staff has had a shift in mentality when it comes to their recruiting strategy. UTSA has offered some of the area’s top-talent early. The Elite Camp held earlier this summer was one of the most attended, in terms of talent, that I’ve ever seen. And while it still may be an uphill battle for UTSA to break through, they’re now making more of a concerted effort to go after some of these local ballers. How this will all translate onto the hardwood still remains to be seen. With a change in the coaching staff and a handful of new players coming in for the 2015-16 season, who knows what this season’s team will look like. But one thing is certain, it will be vastly different squad that took the floor last season. And for a team that went 14-16 last season, change could be a good thing.
Shifting gears to the NFL, mark me down as one who let out a sigh of relief last week when Cowboys WR Dez Bryant signed a hefty contract extension. Typically, I do not like when teams tie up large amounts of money with high profile skill-position players. But in this case, Dez Bryant was an exception to that rule. A dynamic player whose talent and hard work put him in a position to be successful, Dez has matured so much in his time in Dallas. Out of college, Bryant had his fair share of off the field issues, probably more than most. Sometimes it’s easy to portray someone as a bad guy without considering all the circumstances that led them there. There’s no excuse for someone’s past. But in the case of Bryant, it all appears to be in the past. With a brand new 5 year the Cowboys are hoping so. Bryant is one of the most talented and dynamic players I’ve seen wear a Dallas Cowboys uniform. The fact that he’ll be with the Cowboys long-term, during the prime years of his career, only adds to his value. Rare is it the case that you can legitimately say a player has the potential to become the very best at what they do. But for Dez Bryant, he’s already among the top WRs in the league. If he can continue to keep his off the field situations in the past, he’ll have the chance to become the best WR in the game.
Closing Thoughts – Last Month Without Football
We’ve almost made it. The end of July will signal the end of a relatively quiet period for many sports enthusiasts. Very soon, numerous football teams will be reporting to fall practices and camps all across the country and the sights and sounds we all enjoy so much will be back. Two more weeks of fishing, lake trips, river days, camping, and general vacation. Get it all in, because if you're anything like I am, once football season starts, you won’t have time for much of anything else.