Spring Practice Report for April 6, 2016
HIGH ENERGY: It’s been a common response from players that this spring has been much more energetic on the field than in springs past. Head Coach Frank Wilson says he noticed the energy today: “We probably had our most spirited day today. It’s been really good.”
DOWN TO TWO QBS: Reserve QB Manny Harris did not practice Wednesday. The redshirt freshman missed workouts with what Coach Wilson characterized as a minor ankle injury. Harris exited the practice field in a walking boot. That means UTSA currently has only two QBs working in practice. Coach Wilson on Harris: “It’s more precautionary than anything. We’re extremely thin at the position group. We’re going to let him heel and take precaution to get him healthy.”
DALTON & JAYLON IMPROVING: Receiving a lion share of the snaps, Coach Wilson says he’s seeing improvement in QBs Dalton Sturm and Jaylon Henderson: “They’re getting better. They’re more vocal and more confident in the offense.”
UNDER CENTER TRANSITION: With a more methodical offense excepted to be on display next season, UTSA has made it no secret about having their offense begin under center, which is a complete change from the previous offense. Coach Wilson says things are coming along with the transition: “It’s been a constant work in progress. We’ll be in the gun for a vast amount of things we’re going to do. We want to develop our quarterbacks to have the duality. They’ve embraced and it took some time. We didn’t have one on the ground today. It may have been our first practice where we didn’t have a quarterback-center exchange issue.”
PASS CATCHING PICKING UP: After sputtering to being spring practices, the offense has picked up, specifically with the QBs and WRs. Wilson: “It’s getting better. We had our best day today throwing and catching the football.”
GOOD DAY ON SPECIAL TEAMS: Reports out of practice have been that special teams have improved. WR Derrick Dick is seeing action as the punt returner while RB Brett Winnegan is the lead kickoff returner. Coach Wilson on the special teams: “It was our best day, overall, in special teams.”
LEADERS EMERGING: Coach Wilson made it a point to identify several players as emerging leaders: the offensive line, OL Austin Pratt, WR JaBryce Taylor, DL Kevin Strong, and LB Josiah Tauefa: “We’re asking for leadership and sometimes you have to develop leadership. As a group, they’re growing.”
GAINES RETURNS: Starting Safety Nate Gaines returned to practice in a limited manner. He wasn’t in pads but did participate wearing a helmet: “We had Nate back out there doing some limited things today. Boy what a spark he was to see him in our secondary.”
DAVENPORT IN CAST: Starting Defensive End Marcus Davenport was back working in pads Wednesday. He missed practice last week with hand injury. Although he was in full pads, he did have a cast on his hand.
OTHER INJURIES: Several other players missed Wednesday’s practice with injuries. The following players did not participate in workouts: LB Les Maruo, CB Stanley Dye, S Austin Jupe, RB Corbin White, and RB Halen Stewart.
ON SCHEDULE: Wednesday’s practice took UTSA past the midway point of the spring. It was practice #8 of 15. Coach Wilson likes where his team is: “At this point, we’re hitting stride. Today was a big day psychology more than anything. Enough is in, now they just need to be able to play fast.”
FRANK WILSON POST-PRACTICE INTERVIEW