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UTSA’s offense has a lot to prove in this week’s spring game

Fan morale is at an all-time low. The Roadrunners need to show some playmaking ability on offense to get the fanbase to buy in.

NCAA Football: Texas-San Antonio at Southern Mississippi Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

After a spring full of rave reviews, former three-star recruit Frank Harris is expected to get the first snap under center for the UTSA Roadrunners in the program’s annual spring game this weekend.

When asked if he was ready to get out and show the fanbase what he can do in this offense, Harris kept his answer honest. “We’re all ready to come out here and show everybody what we have, since I know we have some people out there who are doubting us”.

It’s hard to say that those doubters are off-base. After all, the Roadrunners averaged just 247 yards of offense per game in 2018. UTSA’s offense wasn’t just one of the worst units in the country last year; the Roadrunners’ yardage and scoring averages were among the worst figures seen across college football in the past decade.

While concern for this offense is valid, a lot has changed in the past year. UTSA has pulled in instant starters at tight end and offensive guard, found a clear-cut starter at quarterback, replaced their offensive coordinator, and added a former four-star recruit to the offense.

Here’s a look at the storylines we’ve been tracking through UTSA’s spring practices.

Finally, a quarterback separates himself

By far the biggest story of the spring has been the play of San Antonio native Frank Harris. The 6’0” quarterback has made a habit of turning option read keepers into touchdowns this spring. Despite two knee surgeries in two years, Harris’ scoring ability on his feet still isn’t a surprise.

What’s been eye-opening this spring has been Harris’ ability to thread the needle and find open receivers down the field. It’s a big “if”, but if Harris stays healthy then UTSA should be competitive this year, and Harris could make a lot of larger programs regret recruiting him as a defensive back.

Questions continue to linger at linebacker

With starters Les Mauro and Josiah Tauaefa leaving the program last year, UTSA has a long road ahead of them at the linebacker position. Strong safety Andrew Martel added weight and moved down into the box, drawing positive reviews for his ability to translate his skills to the outside linebacker position. Linebacker is probably Martel’s natural position so it will be interesting to see how he holds up over the span of the season.

While Martel has played well in the spring, UTSA is still searching for a starting inside linebacker. Promising young linebacker Donovan Perkins has missed most of the spring due to injury, and two of UTSA’s incoming transfer linebackers won’t be on campus until the fall.

Competitors arise on the line of scrimmage

The Roadrunners’ blocking abilities seem to have received a boon from two JUCO transfers that joined the program in the spring.

Offensive guard Ahofitu Maka has been running with the 1s this spring, and has looked the part with a powerful frame and quick feet. Maka still has three years to play so he could become a fixture along UTSA’s offensive line.

In addition, tight end transfer Leroy Watson has been a revelation as a blocking tight end, while four-star transfer Carlos Strickland has excelled in the passing game after moving from wide receiver.

A youth movement in the backfield

After a strong finish to his freshman season, Brenden Brady appears in line to be UTSA’s new starting running back. Head Coach Frank Wilson has raved about Brady’s ability to play on all four downs, a ringing endorsement considering the head man is coaching the running backs this spring.

Brady has been joined by another San Antonio product in UTSA’s backfield. True freshman Sincere McCormick was able to graduate early at Converse Judson in order to join UTSA’s program this spring. He’s made an immediate impact, which shouldn’t be a huge surprise given his 43 rushing touchdowns at the high school level.

UTSA has a lot of question marks lingering this season. Frank Wilson’s seat is getting warm, and he certainly can’t afford another three win season.

The spring game isn’t going to convince anyone that UTSA is ready to compete for a conference championship this year, but it will serve as a teaser of where the Roadrunners could be improved from last season. If nothing else, the spring game will be worthwhile for UTSA fans as it will be their first time to see Frank Harris in shoulder pads under center as a Roadrunner.

Fans can get their last glance at the team until the fall at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Dub Farris Athletic Complex (8400 North Loop 1604 W).