UTSA FOOTBALL PRACTICE REPORT
TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2016
First Day of School: UTSA’s main campus was bustling Tuesday morning as it was the first day of fall classes for all of students, including UTSA football players. There was a different feel in the air. Even some players had to duck out of practice a tad early to ensure they weren’t late to their class.
Excitement Rising: Coach Wilson was especially fired up as he met with media following practice. He let out his custom “yelp” noise he makes when he’s excited. He then joked with the gathered media saying “Let’s go! It’s the first day of school.” Wilson says the energy he has mirrors the energy of the team: “I’m feeling it because our kids feel it. We feed off one another. When their energy is high, when they’re excited about being 14 days away from kickoff, it’s contagious.”
Scrimmage Recap: UTSA held a closed scrimmage Sunday at the Alamodome. A little more than a week ago, the offense had a nice showing in a scrimmage setting. This past scrimmage, the defense stepped up. Coach Wilson on what he saw Sunday: ‘I think this scrimmage the defense got the better. I would have said last week the offense got the better of the defense. I think what we did defensively this past week was our best performance so far of camp. And I like the way the offense responded today.”
QB Drill Reps: It wasn’t a large sample-size (five drills to be exact) but it was very noticeable Tuesday that Dalton Sturm was taking all of the first reps in quarterback drills ahead of Jared Johnson. Again, this was only in a few drills over several periods of practice. It’s important to note that a majority of UTSA’s practice is closed to the media. Moving forward, all practices between now and the start of the season will be closed.
No Official Movement on Starting QB: One of the biggest questions surrounding UTSA headed into 2016 is who will be the starting quarterback. The competition between returner Dalton Sturm and newcomer Jared Johnson is about even. And while both have had positive moments in these fall practices, it still doesn’t sound like a starter is close to being named. Following practice, Coach Wilson was asked if he was ready to name a starter. Wilson replied “I am not.” He was then asked if he has one in mind. He replied: “I do not.”
No Two-QB System: The next logical question surrounding the quarterback position is if a two-QB system would be used. Coach Wilson: “No. You go about your preparation as usual with the game plan. We don’t have a game plan specific for an individual quarterback. Our scheme allows us to adhere to the talents of both of our quarterbacks. Either one of them is snap away, so there is no alternation in the things we’re going to do offensively.”
Roster Expands Past 105: UTSA now has six quarterbacks on their roster. We got our first look at walk-on QB Brandon Garza. The former Houston Cougar practiced with UTSA for the first time on Tuesday. The NCAA allows teams’ roster to expand past the 105 limit once classes begin. Garza is one of a handful of additions to UTSA’s team. The NCAA does not limit the amount of players on a roster when school is in session. Typically, players added to the roster during the season (or once school starts) are walk-ons.
WR Play Critical: UTSA’s wide receiving corps is considered one of the more talented groups on the team. That means expectations are high about the contributions of that position unit this season. Coach Wilson on the play of the WRs: “I think it’s critical to the success that we will have this season. It only helps and enhances the run-game, to make defenses more honest.”
No Playing Calling Tendencies: As a first-time Head Coach, Frank Wilson doesn’t have any known play-calling tendencies. Offensive Coordinator Frank Scelfo may have some, but nothing that can be looked at recently. So UTSA may have a little bit of advantage when the season starts. Coach Wilson on tendencies: “The good thing is we’re relatively new. So they (defenses) would have to look at the Jacksonville Jaguars or some LSU or some Arizona or other places Frank Scelfo and myself have been to find our identity. But the reality is it’s a myriad of all of them.”
Bit By Injury Bug: Several players expected to be key contributors did not practice Tuesday. For the most part UTSA hasn’t had many injured players in fall practice, until now. Starting Center Juan Perez-Isidoro suffered an unknown injury last week had as not returned. The following other players did not practice on Tuesday: S Chase Dahlquist, RB Jalen Rhodes, S Justin Chavez, WR Dannon Cavil, WR Aron Taylor, and DL King Newton. Coach Wilson on the health of the team: “I think we’re no different than anyone else in the country. There’s nobody that’s 100%. I would say we’re in good health because we have no one that is detrimental, that will be out for the duration of the year. But we have knicks and knacks here, just normal.”
Defense Looking Solid: In years past, UTSA’s defense has been a strong component of the team. For this coming season, it sounds like that trend will continue. Coach Wilson on what has stood out on defense: “Their energy level. Those guys, their ability to pursue to the ball. I think in the scrimmage we had four or five turnovers. We’re punching the ball out, striping the ball out, intercepting the ball and not just knocking it down. The ability to create turnovers has been a bright spot.”
Youth Movement: More than in any previous season, freshmen are expected to play key roles on UTSA’s football team. A majority of those contributors will be on defense. Coach Wilson says that’s by design: “When we go into homes and are recruiting these young men, we say to them “you’ll have an opportunity to compete for playing time here.” So it’s our expectation. We’re not really going out recruiting players that may not play for three years. We’re trying to get good quick.”
Post-Practice Interview Head Coach Frank Wilson
Short videos from practice