As most UTSA fans know, the program goes on lock down during spring practice. With extremely limited media availability there really isn’t much to digest until the spring game. I’ve personally been replaying short video clips from practices on repeat, reading way too much into 15 second clips of various drills. Since that doesn’t make for much of an article, I decided to poll our great readers for questions for a mailbag and you all certainly delivered. Let’s hop into it.
@TailgateSA 1. You have two scholarships to give to graduate transfers. Which positions do you fill? 2. Rank each position group from strongest to weakest.
This is tough to call without having the opportunity to watch spring practice. If I had to pick right now my first priority would be to find additional depth on the offensive line. We all know UTSA’s history at the position so I’m taking every opportunity I can to get another guy on the roster that could play snaps immediately. We know that UTSA is hosting former LSU offensive lineman Andy Dodd on a visit this week so there’s a clear option for a guy that could enter the mix if he ends up at UTSA.
With my second scholarship spot I’m looking for a backup quarterback. I don’t know how Manny Harris and Jaylon Henderson have developed but if the staff has any doubt in those guys then they should secure another guy that can come in and play smart, mistake-free football.
- Defensive line
- Wide receivers
- Offensive line
- Running backs
- Tight ends
@MarkAMiller50 - Surprise contributor this season?
On offense I’ll take... wait for it... David Anzaldua. The monstrous 6’5”, 345 pound offensive lineman has disappointed so far throughout his career due to his inability to get on the field but I think Anzaldua is in the best shape of his life and I can see him carving out a niche role on the offense as a jumbo package blocker. Don’t forget that the staff had him on the field at left tackle on the goal line in the New Mexico Bowl before a series of penalties turned it into a passing situation. It feels like Anzaldua has been around UTSA forever but he’s still just a junior. If he continues to slim down he could end up being a utility lineman or hell even a starter in 2018.
Give me both Solomon Wise and Eric Banks on defense. I think Wise will fill out in weight to take over the defensive end playing time that T.J. King was likely to absorb this season. Banks should complement Marcus Davenport really well as an edge rusher. Sky is the limit for that kid— it still amazes me that UTSA was his only FBS scholarship offer.
@PappaSquillo - Which out of conference game is the biggest/most important to start the season?
This one is an easy call— Houston. The Coogs will be vulnerable as they’ll be breaking in a rookie head coach and a new starting quarterback on the road in front of what should be a rocking Alamodome crowd. A win will give UTSA the series advantage and catch the eyes of Texas recruits that likely (and accurately) see the Cougars’ program as a step up from the Roadrunners. This is a game that should end up being nationally televised and could put the conference on notice if UTSA is able to take care of business.
@savagerowdy - What is your “too early” take on the UTSA vs Texas State game?
Let me preface this by saying that I think Texas State’s graduate transfer quarterback Damian Williams will single-handedly keep this game close for at least three quarters. I really think the Bobcats nailed it on that transfer but I don’t think he’ll be enough to give Texas State a chance to win this game. UTSA’s blitz-happy defensive front should give Texas State’s undersized and inexperienced offensive line some serious troubles. The Roadrunners’ size advantage and superior depth should eventually wear the Bobcats down in the fourth quarter.
@roadrunner10 - 1. Who is this year's MVP and newcomer of the year? 2. Your pick for Roadrunners that are the best player at their position in Conference USA
MVP: Jalen Rhodes
Newcomer of the year: Josh Dunlop
Last question is a tough one since the positions that UTSA boasts the best talent at have really tough competition across the rest of the conference. Jalen Rhodes is a phenomenal running back but he’ll have to outperform guys like Jeffery Wilson (UNT), Ray Lawry (ODU), and Devin Singletary (FAU). If I had a gun to my head I’ll pick Nate Gaines at free safety and Josiah Tauaefa at linebacker. Jaylon Ferguson (La Tech) edges out Marcus Davenport at defensive end for me.
@usernameis2shor - Please liken Frank Wilson to a ride at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Frank Wilson is like the Goliath at Fiesta Texas. He’ll take your program to new heights at speeds you wouldn’t believe. Thanks to the extreme speed the ride ends awfully quick just like how Wilson will eventually land a great Power Five job after a short stint at UTSA.
@johnfnally - Does the success of UTSA rest solely on quarterback Dalton Sturm?
No way. In an ideal Frank Wilson offense the running game is so strong that the quarterback just has to be an adequate game manager and prevent turnovers; something Dalton already showed he was capable of last season. Sturm certainly needs to improve, and we have no reason to expect otherwise, but the advancement of the offensive line and wide receivers is just as important.
@JeremiahMcCurry - How excited are you about traveling to Birmingham every other year from now throughout eternity (or C-USA dies)?
I know Birmingham gets a bad rap around the rest of the country but I’m honestly extremely excited to visit. UAB has the coolest fans on C-USA Twitter and Birmingham just seems like my type of city as I have a soft spot for southern towns with great beer and art scenes. I just wish that new downtown stadium would be ready in time for the 2018 season when UTSA makes their first trip to the Magic City.