JJ Perez, InsideRunnerSports.com

UTSA Football Practice Report 3.10.17

UTSA Football practiced for the third time this spring on Friday. InsideRunnerSports provides you a practice report.

By JJ Perez
For InsideRunnerSports.com

UTSA Football Practice Report for March 10, 2017

First Day in Pads: UTSA practiced Friday for the first time in full pads. Originally scheduled as a shell practice, the staff switched things up to get some contact going. Wilson said the workout was crisp: “The physicality was there. Contact was sincere. It’s always good to hear that little pop to make sure we are who we are, not a group of T-Shirt All-Americans, but guys that enjoy contact.”

Getting Physical: The ‘Runners got things going at the beginning of practice with their version of the Oklahoma drill, aptly named the “Bird Cage” drill. Wilson on the use of the drill: “You can be as skilled as could be, if you’re not tough that goes against the grain of our DNA of our program. We want tough guys, at every position.”

Dunlop Answers Challenge: According to Wilson, one of the major matchups in Friday’s “Bird Cage” drill came between OL Josh Dunlop and DL Baylen Baker. Dunlop, a new Juco transfer who just arrived on campus earlier in the semester faced the ever-physical Baker. Wilson said they wanted see how Dunlop would fair. “We wanted to know who he (Dunlop) was. It was a great matchup. He fought. It was good to see. I thought he did well.”

A More Matured Sturm: Starting QB Dalton Sturm met with media for the first time this spring. The Goliad-native said that he feels good about how workouts are going. “Mentally, I feel as strong as I’ve ever been. I know the offense like the back of my hand. I just need to keep growing, not necessarily just knowing the offense but be able to check plays, read the defense. I feel like I’m the most developed since I’ve been at UTSA. I feel strong. I feel fast. I definitely feel real confident.”

Best Team Ever?: Sturm went on the record Friday with how well he feels this 2017 team could be. “We have the biggest goals out of anybody. We want to be conference champs, we want to go to the group of five bowl game. There definitely isn’t a game that we look at on the schedule that can’t win. We just have to keep putting in the work and growing as team. We’ll be the best team we’ve ever had.”

Scrimmage Thoughts: Fridays throughout the course of spring practices will typically be dedicated to scrimmage settings. Since this practice was the first one in full pads, UTSA held a quasi-scrimmage in that they didn’t tackle to the ground. Coach Wilson on how the team performed: “I thought it was physical. Upfront, that’s always combat zone for the offensive line, defensive line. I thought our receivers competed early on. We ended practice with a pass breakup. I thought our linebackers flowed. I’m just really encouraged by the strides we’re making.”

Backup QBs Continue Work: It’s one week into spring practice, and to no one’s surprised, the backup QB position battle is still ongoing. Coach Wilson on the competition: “Those guys are trying to figure it out. There’s a mental part of it that needs to happen with the speed of the game. They’re taking steps in the right direction.”

Banks Settling In: Former high school QB Eric Banks said that he’s settling in to a role at defensive end behind Marcus Davenport. As a true freshman last season, Banks initially saw action on special teams before seeing reps at end. Banks on his role: “I’m a young guy, I’m developing. I definitely have to step up this year. My role, I believe, is going to enhance. I have to make plays. I’m behind Marcus (Davenport). He’s going to need a break in the game so I have to pick up where he left off.”

BBQ Talk: DE Eric Banks is a native of Memphis, TN. That area is known for their BBQ. So too is Texas. On Friday, Banks opined on the topic: “There’s some good bbq down here, don’t get me wrong. But there’s nothing like Memphis BBQ.” Banks went onto say that he misses some of the food from home, especially his mother’s cooking.

Sturm/Banks Add Weight: Strength and Conditioning Coach Ryan Filo and his staff have been credited with improving UTSA’s offseason workout regimen. On Friday, the results were evident on two players. QB Dalton Sturm looked noticeably bigger. Sturm currently weighs 205lbs. He said he wants to get to 215lbs by the season. For comparison purposes, Sturm graduated high school at 170lbs. DE Eric Banks came to UTSA last year weighing 220lbs, now he’s 24l1bs with hopes of getting to 250lbs+ by the end of spring.

Jones Reminisces on UTEP Game: WR Brady Jones said he’ll never forget UTSA’s five-overtime loss to UTEP last season. In that game, Jones dropped a potential game-winning touchdown only to come back and make a spectacular touchdown reception later in the game. Jones on the UTEP game: “That was definitely one I’ll never forget. Dropping that ball was really tough. For me to be able to recover from it, I have to give all of the credit to the coaches and other wide receivers and players. I don’t that anyone on the sidelines didn’t come up to me and say “don’t worry about it.” For them to have the confidence in me was what boosted me. It really meant a lot to me.”

One Week Off: UTSA will now take one week off for spring break. Coach Wilson says he’s discussed with players the importance of remaining responsible: “The buy in is that much greater that the hard work that they’ve put in isn’t in vain. We have real conservations with them about rule number one, protect the team.”

Recruits Visiting: Coach Wilson said a van-load of recruits pulled up to Friday’s practice. For more on the recruits that visited be sure to visit the UTSAInsiders Forum: LINK Wilson on the visitors: “It’s good to see those guys out. People our excited about our brand of football. When you get van loads up young men, that’s always good to see. That means we’re doing something right. We continue to encourage that.”

UTSA returns to spring practice on Monday, March 20.

FRANK WILSON POST-PRACTICE INTERVIEW

VIDEO OF THE BIRDCAGE DRILL (Courtesy UTSA)
https://twitter.com/UTSA_FB_VIDEO/status/840340857895190529

 


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