UTSA Football Practice Notes for 8.14.15
QB Battle Remains “Open Competition”: Starting QB Blake Bogenschutz split reps with the first team offense on Friday with backup Russell Bellomy. On Monday, Offensive Coordinator Kevin Brown told InsideRunnerSports that Bellomy was in fact see snaps with the first team. When Coach Brown was asked about Bellomy following Friday’s practice, he responded with: “You saw one practice, we’ve been rotating those guys (QBs) numerous ways. Sometimes this guy goes with the ones, this day, sometimes another guy goes with the ones the next day. So it’s a rotation. You want to see some of those guys with the ones and with the twos to make it a fair competition.” Coach Brown also noted that the QB position remained “an open competition” but also said “It was Blake’s job going into the fall, and they’re battling it out.” Bogenschutz remains the clear #1 QB at this point as he saw all of the first reps with the first team. When asked about the competition, Bogenschutz said the competition was making all of the QBs better.
Walking Wounded at OL: Practice began with two key contributors not dressed for workouts along the offensive line. Juan Perez and Zach Hester did not participate in practice. Senior William Cavanaugh moved over to the center position while Austin Pratt moved into the RG position. The starting line from left to right was: LT Reed Darragh, LG Kyle McKinney, C William Cavanaugh, RG Austin Pratt, RT Jordan Gray. Late in practice, Gray went down with an apparent leg injury and did not return. Cody Cole took his place for the remainder of the practice. While experience is minimal along the offensive line, the patchwork unit appears to be effective.
Defense Dominates: In a scrimmage on Monday, it was characterized by many of the coaches and players that the offense had their way with the defense. On Friday, the Hard Hat Defense turned the tables. Creating three turnovers, the defense was stingy. Offensive Coordinator Kevin Brown said some of that was due to the offense’s sloppy play but did also say he’s seen an improvement in the defense.
True Freshman on D-Line: Down a few guys expected to contribute, we saw some young faces see some snaps on the d-line. Most notably were True Freshmen DT Baylen Baker and DE Josiah Tauaef. Baker got a ton of reps and made the most of his time there. Listed at 6-5” and 260lbs, Baker looks as though he’s already added some more weight to his frame. They West Texas-native made one of the plays of the practice on Friday intercepting a batted ball. Tauaefa also saw a good amount of action on the edge. The North Texas-native played well giving the backup offensive linemen trouble. Tauaefa drew praise from Defensive Coordinator Neal Neathery earlier in the week when the coach said he liked what he was seeing from him and that he could see some action this season.
Other Injuries: Other players who did not participate in practice on Friday include: S Andrew Martel (out indefinitely), WR Kenny Bias, WR Aaron Grubb, DT Vontrell King-Williams, DT Kevin Strong, OL TJ Talashek, WR Cal Spangler, CB Trevor Baker and S Isaiah Santos.
Minimal Rotations: As a function of the offense’s new up-tempo offense, we saw few substitutions at WR, TE, and RB. Offensive Coordinator Kevin Brown said that he expected that trend to continue. The open practice gave us the best look at what we’ll see on game day. Although there wasn’t much scrimmaging action Friday, in the little that we saw, there were minimal to no in-drive substitutions.
WR Depth: The WR unit did not skip a beat despite starting X receiver Kenny Bias and starting H receive Aaron Grubb being down with injuries. The emergence of Juco-Transfer JaBryce Taylor has played a large part of that, although he’s not the only one contributing. We saw several players step Friday specifically: Kerry Thomas, Greg Campbell, Aron Taylor, and walk-on Blaze Moorhead.
No Fly Zone: UTSA CBs appear to be more physical in pass coverage than ever before. Led by Preseason All-Conference Bennett Okotcha, several guys are getting in there and mixing it up. Youngsters N’Keal Bailey, Aneas Henricks, and Stanley Dye showed to be very physical in their press techniques.
Coker Expected to Return: For the second time in three days, Head Coach Larry Coker did not attend a practice due to being sick. Coker missed Wednesday’s afternoon practice, did attend Thursday’s practice and was on campus all day Friday before going home just prior to the start of the workout. Described as a bug going around, Coker is expected to be back soon.
Houston Nutt Visits: Former Arkansas and Ole Miss Head Coach Houston Nutt visited UTSA on Friday. A former colleague of Coach Coker at Oklahoma State and O-Line Coach Mike Markuson at Arkansas/Ole Miss, Nutt spoke to the team prior to the start of the practice. Nutt was only in town for one day. Now working for CBS as an analyst, Nutt was headed to LSU, Texas, and Texas A&M in the coming days as part of his preparation for the season.
Weather Delay: Friday’s open practice was delayed for a little over 30 minutes due to lightening in the area. UTSA monitors area lightening for player safety.
Two-A-Days Done: Players were given Saturday morning off. That meant that two-a-days for UTSA officially came to an end. The NCAA mandates the number of two-a-day practices teams can have. While UTSA did not have a lot of two-a-days, the ones they did have were typically a little longer and used as a form of conditioning.
On to Arizona: Over the next week, UTSA will begin to transition from “install” to “game-planning” for Arizona, according to Offensive Coordinator Kevin Brown.
Practice Schedule: From now until the start of the season, all practices will be closed to media. This schedule is subject to change. There will be, however, several opportunities to conduct post-practice player and coach interviews.
Open Practice Notes 8.14.15
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