UTSA Insider: WR’s Coach Tony Jeffery

With upgraded talent and speed, WR Coach Tony Jeffery talks about fall practices and the upcoming season.

Interview with UTSA Wide Receiver’s Coach Tony Jeffery:

How would you characterize fall practices for the WRs?
“It’s been good. You’re not around the guys for two months (in the summer), so were able to be around them now that they’re back. I like that we’ve gotten off to a good start. The injury bug got us a little on the outside but we’re starting to get some guys back. Before they got hurt, we saw a lot of encouraging things. Some of the injuries have allowed some of the younger guys to get a lot more quality reps. I’ve been pleased with how they’ve stepped up. We still need some leadership in the group but I’m encouraged moving forward.”

JaBryce Taylor seems to be having a good fall, what do you see from him?
“He catches everything. You’ve got to be able to do that. He does that very well. He’s shed some weight so now he’s getting around a lot better than he did. He’s starting to get comfortable in the UTSA scheme, he’s adapted more to the offense and has learned it. That’s what happens when you get a guy who’s only been here two months, then he plays a big role, he kind of gets thrown into the fire right away. He’s going to be a weapon for us, we just have to plug him in the right places.”

Are your WRs faster than in previous seasons?
“I believe so. I think now we’ve seen the guys be able to stretch the field more vertically, at least a little more than what we could do in the past. As a group, our position speed at wide out has improved just from the standpoint of how we recruited the last two years. I can say our group speed has improved tremendously.”

What’s you’re opinion on the QB competition in relation to the WRs?
“I’m the receivers coach so I can’t control that battle. What I can control is having my guys ready. One thing we find out with a quarterback battle, the wide outs have to be ready, we have to be where we need to be so that the quarterback can have an equal opportunity to show what he can do. To us, it really doesn’t matter, as long as the ball gets there, we’re happy. Those guys have been doing a wonderful job. The thing that you see with the quarterback group is that they’re tight-knit. Even though they’re battling it out and competing, they like each other and are getting along. I’ve been around some other quarterback battles in my career that haven’t gone as smoothly as this has gone. It doesn’t matter to us though, we want the guy that’s going to make the right decision and get us the ball.”

Will the WR rotation be shorter with the up-tempo offense?
“Yes, obviously. The thing is that we have a production chart, we don’t have a depth chart. So the guys that produce in practice are the guys who are going to play in the game. So that kind of takes care of the rotation itself. I just go off the production chart and say ‘alright, he produced this week in practice, he’s earned my trust, he’ll play.” As far as within a series, you won’t see the revolving door we had in the past.”

Does the UTSA secondary have more speed this season?
“I believe so. I tell my guys it’s technique and fundamentals, we have to be on point there. If the DB is faster than us, we have to find a way to get open. When we break away, I’ve seen some recovery speed out of the secondary, especially with the corners, to be able to make up some ground even though they may be a step behind. They have great recovery speed. I know which one of my guys can run and when a DB is running with him I say that guy can run too. The team speed has improved across the board.”

What’s your opinion on some of you WRs playing Special Teams?
“I’ve been in Coach Eliano’s shoes as far as finding guys and putting them in the right position. He does a fantastic job with that. I think that’s a good thing he wants to put some wide outs on special teams because special teams are normally dominated by defensive guys. So I love it. If I got guys that contribute to specials teams, they will, that’s one-third of the game. Our guys take pride in playing special teams. I have a special place in my heart for special teams because back when I played, that’s how I got on to the field. We’ll have a special teams depth chart that comes out every week. I tell my guys, if you want me to trust you, go make plays on special teams. If you’re not a starter on in the rotation, go you an impact on special teams. That’s how we go about our business.”

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