2013 Fall Camp Primer
Welcome to August– a month dominated by the lingering aura of football and swamp ass. UTSA had 103 players report to camp today, falling just under the NCAA-mandated limit of 105. There haven’t been any no-report surprises this year which is refreshing as Mason Russell and Drew Phillips both dipped out of the program before the beginning of fall camp last year. Rather, UTSA had a few nice surprises pop up on the roster, which I’ll address later. First let’s take a look at the fall depth chart.
As expected, the most notable changes are along the offensive line. Josh Walker moves to right tackle, a spot he performed very well at in 2012 when not playing at guard. In his steed, Cody Harris moves from right tackle to left tackle. Promising sophomore Zach Hester moves inside to right guard while true freshman Reed Darragh gets a vote of confidence from the coaching staff and gets listed as back-up left guard– the only true freshman to crack the camp depth chart. Redshirt freshman Cody Cole found a spot on the depth chart after impressing during spring camp and packing on some weight. If Cole excels at the tackle position he should see plenty of snaps this season after bulking from 265 pounds to 295 pounds.
Everything else along the offense is essentially as expected. Sliding over to defense, you’ll notice that Drew Douglas’ coming-out party during spring camp earned him the preseason nod at middle linebacker. The battle between Douglas and Terry will be ferocious as both guys are great players and natural competitors. Ultimately, I think Douglas wins out due to his additional length and coverage skills, though Terry’s nose for the football is hard to deny.
Along the front four, Jason Neill slides back out to defensive end despite bumping up to 270 pounds. Neill will move in and out between seven and three techniques this fall so 270 is probably a perfect weight for that assignment. The spring emergence of JUCO transfer defensive tackle Brian Price probably gave the staff enough faith in the tackle position to have Neill focus on playing on the edge.
Not much else to report along the depth chart. Joseph Lizcano will back up Nic Johnston after Charles Wort left the program. I think this will be the first position to play a true freshman this season (Michael Egwaugu). It’s hard to take much stock in the cornerbacks listed on the depth chart as the position will likely be in turmoil until August 31. If I had a gun to my head I would predict Kevin Adams and Bennett Okotcha as starters, with Aneas Henricks burning his redshirt year to contribute immediately. UTSA is going to need a stable of cornerbacks to keep up with the vertical passing attacks they will face this season.
Probably the most surprising news of the day is that senior defensive end Will Ritter has been reinstated to the team and will participate in fall camp. I’m sure he will miss the New Mexico game at minimum, but I was shocked to hear that Ritter was still a Roadrunner after allegedly assaulting several people inside of a Sixth Street bar, with one of the victims being a woman. It will be interesting to see if more facts from the police report will be released. In the meantime, Ritter will have to fend off competition from Jarron Harris, Robert Singletary, Codie Brooks, and Justyn Eddins.
As far as preseason injuries are concerned, the only injuries announced to the media were sustained by Cole Hicks and Alex Delgado. Hicks is suffering from a knee injury that will keep him out of fall camp, but he should be available to contribute at some point this season. Delgado underwent shoulder surgery and will be unavailable in 2013. Although Delgado redshirted in 2012, he may be able to receive a medical redshirt for 2013 since the injury was sustained before the season began.
A new season brings with it a new slew of walk-ons, some of which may end up contributing to the program significantly. Most intriguing is Ragan Robichaux, an athlete out of Kingwood Park that UTSA recruited for the 2011 class. Ragan was a stand-out running back and defensive end that ended up signing with Northwestern State, where he would contribute on special teams and provide depth as a linebacker. Of course since he’s moving up in classification, Robichaux will be able to play immediately. The roster lists him as a safety, and I think he would be a perfect fit for the Dawg position as an aggressive athlete that can make plays in space. If Ragan is even able to contribute just a few snaps per game it will be an enormous help to Nic Johnston. Best case scenario is Robichaux beating out Lizcano for the back up Dawg spot in fall camp and UTSA is able to retain Egwuagu’s redshirt.
Smithson Valley stand out George Schwanenberg walked onto the team as expected, but the roster peculiarly lists him as a running back instead of a linebacker. That could be a typo, as George was a stud LB at Smithson Valley. Another name to watch out for is Blake Dean, a transfer from West Texas A&M. Dean’s highschool highlight video displays his ability as an elite blocker on the edge and a capable receiver. The rich get richer, as UTSA is absolutely stacked at tight end. Kris Salinas was an all-district offensive tackle at Southwest HS but may need to lose weight in order to be nimble enough to be an effective collegiate lineman. Also added to the roster is deep snapper Matt Bayliss– that makes three long snappers on the squad if you’re counting ’em.
All in all, a pretty great foundation to start the fall on. No surprises subtractions from the squad, some interesting walk-ons, and consistent improvement in the strength and conditioning department as almost every athlete on the team has gained at least 10 pounds this summer. Now let’s play some real football.
A UTSA alumnus that has been cast away to Austin, Jared enjoys live music and a craft beer. He thinks four verts is the best play in football but loves a QB sneak on fourth and inches. Twitter