JJ Perez, InsideRunnerSports.com

UTSA Football Spring Practice Report 3.27.17

UTSA Football hits the midway point of spring. InsideRunnerSports provides you a practice report.

By JJ Perez
For InsideRunnerSports.com

Practice Report for Monday, March 27, 2017

Sluggish Start: For the first time this spring, UTSA didn’t have a crisp practice, according Head Coach Frank Wilson. “We would have liked more today. I thought today started off sluggish for the first time this spring. We picked it up at the end. They were challenged and they answered the bell.”

Extra Motivation: Following practice, over a dozen players stayed late for additional workouts. Wilson on providing direction for his players: “Sometimes they need leadership to emerge and us (coaches) to bring them along the way, to stir the pot, to get us going. We did so. They needed, we gave it to them, and they responded. We finished strong.”

Kicking Old Habits: Coach Wilson made a point on Monday to emphasize that individual play is not more important that the play of the team. Wilson on getting his players through the grind of spring practices: “This program is about the team, it always has been and always will be. We do things in uniform. When guys think that it’s important for their individuality to show, we’re here to remind them that won’t be the case. That kind of tried to rear its head today. Of course it was rejected. And we got back into the UTSA Roadrunner way.”

Still on Schedule: Monday’s practice marked the unofficial midway point of spring practices. Despite the slow start to Monday’s practice, Coach Wilson says his team is where it needs to be at this point in the spring. “We’re on schedule,” said Wilson. There are eight more practices before has their annual spring game on April 15.

Ability to Finish: Last season UTSA found success in both phases of the game in the redzone. Coach Wilson says the team works on redzone scenarios twice a week: “It’s a real task to go the length of the field, to put together double-digit (play) drives requires discipline, attention to detail, and consistency. When you get down there after putting a drive together, the ability to punch the ball in the endzone is critical for us.”

New Kicker: There is a new kicker on UTSA’s roster. Walk-on Emanuel Hulbin had his first workout with the Roadrunners on Monday, although he did not kick. Coach Wilson on the search for consistency in the kicking game: “Until someone emerges that can consistently kick it through the uprights, we’re going to try to find a remedy. Maybe it’s Daniel (Portillo), maybe it’s Victor (Falcon). If not, we’re going to find a person who can do that for us.” Wilson also added that Portillo and Falcon combined to go 15 of 17 in last week’s scrimmage. The missed attempts were from 44 and 48 yards.

Searching for Returners: Another phase of special teams that Coach Wilson has placed an emphasis on is the return game. Wilson says that Matt Guidry and Kirk Johnson have looked good on kickoff returners. But punt returns are still a question mark: “From a punt return standpoint, we’re still trying to identify who what guy will be. We have several guys auditioning.”

Even Stronger: Defensive End Kevin Strong said he’s put on 5lbs of muscle thanks to Strength and Conditioning Coach Ryan Filo. Strong, who looked more toned, said he’d like to play between 285lbs (where he is right now) and 290lbs.

Greater Emphasis on Turnovers: DE Kevin Strong said Monday that UTSA wants to have 36 turnovers because the top number in the country last season was 35. As a result of that goal, the defense has placed a greater emphasis on creating turnovers. At a recent scrimmage, UTSA’s defense forced five turnovers. Strong on improving turnover numbers: “We definitely have a lot more work to do. We’re still improving. We’ve got to make more plays on the ball, got to get to the quarterback, got to get more fumbles, and stuff like that. We’re still working.”

Liking Coach Davis: DE Kevin Strong commented on new defensive line coach Bo Davis and the differences from the previous coach. “It’s different but it’s kind of similar. He (Davis) is a great coach. He’s detailed, every little thing. From the steps, to the ground, to the man. We trust him. Everything he goes over, we just lock in.”

Rivers Making Strides: True Freshman QB Bryce Rivers drew the praise of his head coach on Monday. Wilson on Rivers: “He’s growing. He’s still at times youthful and will make a youthful mistake here or there. It’s fundamental things, quarterback-center exchange things, the tempo. He’s a very mature young man. You realize he’s been here since January and has been a student of the game. I think he’s embraced that. I think he’s making strides in all the right directions and having a good spring.

Henderson Competing: Third-year sophomore Jaylon Henderson is one of a handful of players competing for playing time at the quarterback position. Henderson on the QB competition: “Everyone is working hard, keeping it real competitive out here, everyone is trying to get each other better. Iron sharpens iron. Everybody is competing and getting each other better every single day.”

Pro Day on Tuesday: UTSA’s annual Pro Day will take place on Tuesday afternoon. Here are the players participating in the event: WR Kenny Bias, S Michael Egwuagu, S Ronnie Feist, TE Jordan Jones, DE Ben Kane, FB Andrew King, S Jordan Moore, DE Romario Napoles, DT Jonathan Tuiolosega, and RB Jarveon Williams.



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