UTSA began fall practices Monday morning. InsideRunnerSports brings you notes and quotes from practice.
UTSA FOOTBALL PRACTICE NOTES
Starting QB Blake Bogenschutz picked up right where he left off during the spring. The East-Texas native was hands-down the best QB on the field Monday morning. We saw Bogenschutz and the offense run against the defense in 7-on-7 drills. For the most part, Bogenschutz was razor-sharp. From commanding the new no-huddle offense to executing the correct throws, the redshirt freshman looked very good. On one particular play, Bogenschutz looked off the deep safety before hitting WR Kenny Bias for a nice pitch and catch up the far sideline. It was the type of play we’ve yet to see from Bogenschutz. After practice he would say that he and the entire offense are well ahead of where they were at this point last season.
As expected, UTSA ran their no-huddle offense exclusively. With what appeared to be a similar playbook, the tempo between plays was simply faster than compared to previous seasons. A typical set of downs consists of the offense rushing up to the line of scrimmage, then the play being signaled in. It was a frenetic pace that saw minimal substitutions. This is the first time Bogenschutz has run this type of an offense. Although it’s very similar to what UTSA ran last season, he said he likes this version better saying that no-huddle keeps defenses in their base formation while. Also, the pace between drills was even faster than in previous seasons. UTSA is known for moving quickly in practice, however this season, it feels like things are moving at a much faster pace.
We got our first look at Michigan transfer Russell Bellomy. One of the bigger QBs on the roster, Bellomy certainly looks the part. The thing that immediately stood out was him arm strength. We didn’t see any deep balls today from any of the QBs. But the velocity of which the ball exited Bellomy’s hands was much faster than any other QB on the field. With that said, you can see why Bellomy is listed as the backup as of now. As compared to Bogenschutz, his decision-making within the offense simply isn’t that fast. That should likely improve with more repetitions. In fact, true freshman QB Jaylon Henderson had a nice day hitting a few targets working with the third team. Clearly, Henderson getting a lot of reps during this past spring has helped his development. Austin Robinson was not at practice today due to having a schedule conflict with a class.
Lufkin-native JaBryce Taylor caught every ball thrown his way on Monday. As advertised, Taylor looked the part of a very good WR. He had a good release off the line of scrimmage, ran solid routes, was quick, and has very good hands. He didn’t make any flashy plays but just made catch after catch. Taylor worked in the second team but it appears like it will be difficult to keep him off the field. Some other WRs had a nice day as well. Aron Taylor, Kenny Bias, and Kerry Thomas all caught a few balls from the various QBs. While there’s a lot of numbers at the WR position, we did not see a ton of in-drive substitutions. That could be signal of a change in philosophy of substituting WRs in and out of the game.
THREE TIGHT END ROTATION:
Lining up in the backfield as an H-Back was the first time we saw Juco TE Shaq Williams in action. On this particular play, Williams entered the formation across the middle and made an acrobatic catch. A few plays later, he made another. Along with Williams, we saw a steady rotation between starter David Morgan and backup Trevor Stevens.
The preseason all-conference player showed off why he earned those accolades. Playing a lot of one-on-one coverage, Okotcha had several pass breakups. On one specific play, WR Kerry Thomas had appeared to make an athletic one-handed catch, but Okotcha ripped the ball away before Thomas could secure it. Taking more a leadership role is something that Okotcha said he also wanted to try to do this season. He was seen coaching up backup CB Aneas Henricks while the second team was on the field.
BRAND NEW LOCKER ROOM:
UTSA unveiled their brand-new locker room to media prior to practice. The 3,600 SF space located on the second floor of the PE Building was deemed functional Sunday afternoon. While some finishing touches still remain to be installed, the space is a significant upgrade over what UTSA had been using. Restroom and shower facilities are located in the same space as the locker area. There is also a lounge area for players.
LARRY COKER POST-PRACTICE QUOTES
On the first day of practice
“We had some rough edges, the coaches are on that. We’re practicing fast, we’ve got to be in great condition. It’s good to see some new guys. I think I can see some guys that are going to potentially help us and they need to because we’re going to have a young football team.”
Who will be the starter vs Arizona?
"If we played today, Blake (Bogenschutz) would be our starter. We’ll know a lot more as we get into pads and go through practice. We’ll know a lot more after scrimmages. "
Did Blake Bogenschutz pickup where he left off in the spring?
“I think he (Bogenschutz) did. The guy that really stood out is a player I really haven’t seen much of is Jaylon (Henderson). He really looked nice. I think our quarterback position is going to be pretty solid. Dalton (Sturm) looked good. Again, I like our quarterbacks a lot.”
How is the depth on the team?
“You just look around position by position, we do have numbers. We have numbers in the offensive line, numbers at receiver, numbers at quarterback and we need that. As you know, we like to say nobody is going to get hurt throughout the year, but we’ve got to get guys ready to play.”
On leadership on this team
“We talked about that last night. We had a gentleman talk to us from the Navy Seals, we talked about that we want leaders. I asked them today, who are our leaders? They all raised their hand. Everybody has to be a leader for us. We’re going to be a team where it’s a bunch of individuals, it’s going to be a lot of guys doing their job. “