UTSA players report for fall practice

UTSA football players reported for fall practice Thursday morning. The first practice is scheduled for Friday.

 The 2016 version of UTSA Football Fall Camp will be a camp in every sense of the word. Veteran players who live off campus have moved back onto campus for the first few weeks of fall practice.

“I like the idea of it a lot,” said QB Dalton Sturm. “It puts you in a team-bonding situation the entire camp. Now we’re going to be with each other 24/7 for a good two, two and a half weeks.”

According to UTSA Housing representatives, 64 veteran players moved into University Oaks on Thursday. The other players on the team moved into Chaparral Village.

“It’s exciting,” Senior Safety Michael Egwuagu said. “I think it’s going to add chemistry and allow the program to be that much more tightly-knit.”

Along with the excitement of having players room together, there is a feel of general enthusiasm surrounding the program. First year head coach Frank Wilson said he had trouble sleeping last night but made sure he was at his office at 5:45 this morning.

“I’m really excited about today,” said Wilson. “I though it would never get here but yet it seems like it just popped up on us at wrap speed. I’ve been anticipating this day for quite awhile. I’m really excited about our team.”

Egwuagu said he believes the new coaching staff is responsible for the excitement.

“The anticipation is more than it’s ever been,” Egwuagu said. “It’s my last season. I want to be able to give my teammates all I’ve got. At the same the team’s anticipation is through the roof as well because we have a whole new coaching staff.”

One of the major storylines as the Roadrunners enter camp is who will be the starting quarterback. Former walk-on Dalton Sturm played admirably last year. But in the offseason, UTSA added graduate transfer Jared Johnson from Sam Houston State. With no starting quarterback having been named, the competition for QB1 will be on these next few weeks.

“Me and Jared are going to have a great competition,” said Sturm. “We’re good friends on and off the field. Whoever’s on the field, we’re going to back them 100%.”

Wide Receiver Kerry Thomas says he’s noticed Sturm’s play improve in the offseason.

“His approach to the game is at a new level,” Thomas said of Sturm. “I think Dalton has taken his game to another level. That’s what we needed and that’s what we want.”

Coach Wilson says he’s looking forward to a competitive camp. When asked which position battles he was most interested in seeing, he replied: “All of them. From top to bottom, to quarterback, to kicker and everything in between. We want to foster a healthy competition and a competitive camp throughout the duration.”

Another storyline to watch will be the offensive and defensive schemes. They will be significantly different from what used last season.

“Under Coach Scelfo it’s a different attack,” Sturm said of the offense. “We’re going to run the ball, slam it down their throats. Then we’re also going to drop back and throw it over their heads. We’re going to have the power to speed it up and slow it down.”

Wide Receiver JaBryce Taylor also noted the offense’s change.

“It’s more of a pro-style, I believe. We have a hell of an offensive coordinator. He’s brought new life to the offense,” said Taylor.

On the other side of the ball, Egwuagu says the overall mentality of the defense is what’s the most different.

“I would say it’s more aggressive,” Egwuagu said of the defense. “We’re going to be rotating and coming from all angles.”

UTSA is coming off back-to-back losing seasons. That’s something that isn’t lost on anyone.

“We’ve got a lot to prove this year,” said Sturm “We know it’s going to be done in the offseason. Now we’re ready to put the pads on and get to work.”

UTSA’s first practice is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

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