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UTSA Needs to Get its Best Athletes on the Field

The upperclassmen aren't getting it done. It's time to give the young guys a fair chance.

True freshman Kerry Thomas attempts to evade a tackler on his only career completion
True freshman Kerry Thomas attempts to evade a tackler on his only career completion
Stacy Revere

UTSA has a lot of problems to sort out. Play calling has been atrocious, technical execution has waned in attention to detail, the defense continues to give up idiotic penalties and the offense struggles to sustain touchdown drives. The team has a lot of issues to sort out in order to win their division. The coaching staff has heavily leaned on the upperclassmen to carry this team and after two sloppy consecutive losses I believe it's time to start questioning the coaching staff's personnel choices.

Throughout the 2014 season the two most disappointing position units have been the wide receivers and the cornerbacks.The receivers have failed to generate separation and have dropped countless passes that Tucker Carter has delivered to the receivers' chest and hands. UTSA employs what may be the longest receiver rotation in the country, regularly finishing games with anywhere from eight to twelve different receivers catching passes.

Outside of 6'0", 190 pound Marcellus Mack, the rest of the receivers on the UTSA depth chart average around 5'9", 175 pounds. There's some decent speed there but UTSA's small receivers are playing split out against 6'1" cornerbacks that can run with them.

It's not like UTSA doesn't have any other options. Currently riding the pine are 6'1", 200 pound Aron Taylor and 6'0", 200 pound Kerry Thomas, both freshmen that certainly would have been better red zone options for UTSA's last second pass attempt from the FAU ten yard line last week than 5'7" receivers. Aron Taylor has speed to match his size with a 4.5 second 40 yard dash, a dash of speed that he used to destroy the first team defense all last season on the scout team according to several team sources.

Thomas has seen limited playing time this season but the converted basketball player has looked extremely impressive in the few snaps he has been given. With the incumbents not producing results, why aren't these promising athletes, both of which should start in 2015, being provided an opportunity to prove their worth and develop their abilities?

Cornerback Darrien Starling has long been the recipient of disdain from the UTSA fanbase, some fair and some undue. After two solid outings against Houston and Arizona, Starling has returned to his old days of allowing receivers a ten yard cushion and still managing to find a way to get beat overhead.

Since Starling continues to earn a starting spot on the defense, the coaching staff must see something that the fan base is blind to. Nonetheless, it seems bizarre to me that a guy can get beat repeatedly (just watch for a navy #24 in this FAU highlight video) and longer, faster athletes don't even get an opportunity to compete for snaps.

N'Keal Bailey is one of the fastest players in the program as he has broken the 4.4 mark in his 40 yard dash and boasts a 10.6 second 100 yard dash. Add in a long wing span at 5'11" and a 38" vertical leap and it's hard to believe the redshirt freshman hasn't seen a single defensive snap since breaking up a touchdown against Houston.

Similarly, three star recruit and former Texas Tech commit Aneas Hendricks boasts similar size and numbers. Hendricks hasn't played a single snap this season. True freshman Stanley Dye had his redshirt burned against Houston where he would display a knack for breaking on release, using impressive closing speed to quickly total four tackles and a pass breakup. Dye hasn't played since the Houston game.

Since UTSA provides staggeringly little media access to practice it's hard to speculate why these guys haven't been provided opportunities to compete. Who knows if the coaching staff is actually playing their best players? All I can say for sure is that there are two positions where UTSA has certainly been out ran and out jumped this year and both positions continue to trot out FCS level recruits to get beat by better athletes again and again.