Fall Camp Preview: Offensive Line
A large part of how well UTSA’s offense will perform in 2016 will hinge on the play of a revamped offensive line. There have been some significant changes from a unit that struggled in 2015. In the spring, several players showed they ready for playing time. As a unit, however, there are still some unknowns. UTSA’s coaching staff is hoping the changes made at the few positions will pay dividends.
- OG William Cavanaugh: Graduated. A three year starter that was versatile enough to play several positions.
- OT Jordan Gray: Graduated. A two year starter that made the jump from tight end to offensive tackle.
- OG Zach Hester: Graduated. A reserve o-lineman that saw action on special teams.
- OT Michael Roberson: Graduated. A walkon who played sparingly as a reserve.
- OT Shane Block: A signee to the 2015 recruiting class, Block left the team before spring practices.
- LT Reed Darragh: A returning starter, Darragh enters the 2016 campaign as one of the more experienced offensive linemen, in terms of games played. With good size and decent footwork, Darragh should be able to continue to anchor down the left side of the line.
- LG Austin Pratt: A late addition to the 2015 recruiting class, Pratt was one of the few pleasant surprises last season. A versatile interior lineman, Pratt performed well when he was used in several positions along the offensive line last season.
- C Juan Perez-Isidoro: A cornerstone offensive lineman, Perez-Isidoro is widely considered one of UTSA’s best/most versatile players as he can play any position on the o-line. When healthy, he is a mainstay at the center position.
- RG Kyle McKinney: McKinney moves from LG to RG this season. Last season, McKinney and Darragh were a large reason UTSA was able to have so much success in the run game. He should transfer over seamlessly to the right side.
- LG Clayton Woods: Was thrust into action in 2015 as a true freshman and played remarkably well. Woods has seen time at the center and both guard positions. He’s listed as backup LG.
- OT Jevonte Domond: A former 4-star recruit, Domond comes to UTSA as graduate transfer from LSU. He enrolled at UTSA earlier in the summer. He is eligible to play immediately. Domond is listed as the starting right tackle on the post-spring depth chart.
- OG Stefan Beard: A Juco transfer who signed with UTSA last December. Got to work with the team during the spring and made his way onto the two-deep. Will be a factor for playing time in 2016.
- OT Tanner Myers: Another Juco transfer who signed with UTSA in December. Myers was also with the team during the spring. Has also cracked the two-deep.
- OT Zach Pare: A member of the 2016 recruiting class who enrolled early at UTSA. Was on campus last semester as was able to work with the team during spring practices. Will be a candidate for a redshirt.
- OT Josh Oatis: A 2016 signee who will arrive on campus this fall. He is a prime candidate to redshirt.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Without question the biggest spotlight shines on Jevonte Domond and the right tackle position. For several seasons UTSA has struggled to find the right player for that spot. Domond certainly fits what UTSA needs. He’s big (6’5” / 325lbs) and possesses the footwork and skillset of a quality division one tackle. But he comes to UTSA with a checkered past. In May of 2015 while at LSU, Domond was involved in an off the field incident (LINK) that resulted in his indefinite suspension from the team. Two months later (and after completing a pre-trail intervention program) the case was closed (LINK) and he was reinstated. While Domond certainly has earned the right for a second chance, the seriousness of the charges raised questions in the offseason. He will enter the 2016 season as UTSA’s #1 right tackle. His backup, Gabe Casillas, only saw action in one game in 2015.
1. Can pass protection improve? A large part of running back Jarveon Williams’ record-breaking season in 2015 was the fact that UTSA was at good run-blocking. Pass protection, however, was a different story. Many times last season miscues on the offensive line created broken plays and hurried passes that led to critical mistakes. The big question moving forward is how does this unit improve QB protection? While there is only one new player on the line, the skillset of each of the players seems like they have the ability to mesh with each other, at least more so than in seasons past.
2. How will injuries affect the unit? Injuries seem to rear their head along the offensive line more than any other position. In the past, that’s been an issue for the Roadrunners. And while there isn’t a ton of game experience in the backup roles, there are mature players who showed this past spring that they may be ready for playing time. The likes of Gabe Casillas, Stefan Beard, Tanner Myers, and Clayton Woods all had very good spring practices. So while injuries are a bit of an unknown variable, it appears that this version of the offensive line has the making to be one of the more deeper units we’ve seen.
KEY TO SUCCESS
Be ready. In the past depth along the offensive line was an issue. Now, that does not appear to be the case. There is talent and some maturity at each of the positions at either the starter or backup role. And while the reserve players are uncertain of their playing time headed into the fall, the likelihood is that at some point this upcoming season, their name will be called in a critical situation. So they’ll need to be ready to play and perform. To put it simply, the key to UTSA’s offensive line success in 2016 relies on continuity.
- LT Reed Darragh
- LG Austin Pratt
- C Juan Perez-Isidoro
- RG Kyle McKinney
- RT Jevonte Domond
- LT Tanner Myers
- LG Clayton Woods
- C Alex Snow
- RG Stefan Beard
- RT Gabriel Casillas
- OT Cody Cole
- OG David Anzaldua
- C TJ Talashek
- OG Jacob Graner
- OG Juan Rodriguez