2013 Midterm Report Card

2.5 seasons of UTSA football are in the book and this program is growing up quickly. Fans are creating unrealistic expectations, unfairly criticizing players and coaches, and cozying up to their new semi-bigtime conference. Nationally televised games each week is fun. For the pragmatic among us, this team has met realistic expectations. They’ve lost to the teams they were expected to lose to and have beaten the teams they had a talent advantage over. For a team that is only three recruiting classes deep, that’s really all you can ask for. The Houston loss hurt since a nice little in-state upset was within reach until the team imploded. But did anyone seriously pick that game as a win for UTSA before the season started? What the Roadrunners do from here on out will define their season. UTSA matches up fairly well with every team left on the schedule. Tulsa has looked shaky, UNT’s defense is stout but have struggled on offense, and Tulane seems to be more than a push over. La Tech and UAB should be wins at home. Assuming UTSA can take two more wins from Rice, Tulsa, Tulane or UNT, will anyone complain about a 6-6 record? I just struggle to see a universe in which that’s a poor season for a program of this nature.

Moving on, let’s grade out each position at the midway point:

 

Quarterback

Eric Soza has been productive but erratic. After last week’s three interception fiasco, Soza has now thrown more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (eight). You really don’t see too many senior quarterbacks do that, especially three-year starters. With that being said, Soza has generally kept the offense snappy and effective. The cumulative stats are skewed by the Marshall disaster, but this offense has put up points on some very strong teams. Eric deserves much of the praise for that fact.

Three Coker Heads out of Five

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Offensive Line

An undersized and undermanned offensive line has allowed ten sacks through six games against tough competition. That’s a nice win in my book. This offensive line hasn’t plowed over its opposition, but it is not designed to do so. What the line has done a fantastic job of is pulling on screen plays, opening up the field for receivers. Jordan Gray has been very impressive as a sophomore playing at just 260 pounds, likely one of the smallest linemen in FBS. A lack of clear interior running lanes is the only thing really holding this offensive line back from being a true team strength.

Three Coker Heads out of Five

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Running Backs

Statistically, UTSA has been completely average running the ball. The Roadrunners have done a good job of punching the ball into the endzone on the ground when in the redzone but big plays have been rare. UTSA is averaging 4.3 yards per rush and 133 yards per game on the ground but a nice chunk of that have come by way of jet sweeps from the receivers. David Glasco and Brandon Armstrong have been solid and Jarveon Williams has shown great promise but Evans Okotcha hasn’t followed up his junior season the way he would want to. The rushing attack should improve in the second half of the season as UTSA starts to face more defenses in line with UTSA’s talent level.

Two Coker Heads out of Five

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Wide Receivers

This unit has been very productive this year. Kam Jones and Kenny Bias have both been effective as big play threats and guys like Brandon Freeman, Seth Grubb, and Marcellus Mack have been dependable. Perhaps most impressive has been the unit’s blocking. Josiah Monroe has really excelled here. A few dropped TDs hold the receivers back from a perfect grade.

Four Coker Heads out of Five

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Tight Ends

Hello– anyone home? I really thought this unit would take a step to the next level this season so maybe my expectations were unfair but the tight ends have been a personal disappointment. Cole Hubble has been the top performer here with two touchdowns but he has only totaled 79 yards through six games. Hopefully David Morgan is just starting to get into the groove after missing last season and this fall’s camp with assorted injuries. Senior Jeremiah Moeller has been a terrific blocker as always.

Two Coker Heads out of Five

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Defensive Line

Studs, the lot of them. Space-eating Ashaad Mabry has shown little concern for doubles teams, racking up 25 tackles to lead the unit. UTSA has done a phenomenal job at limiting rushing attacks and taking away the interior gaps. Richard Burge, Brian Price, and Ferrington Macon all deserve recognition. The defensive ends have been equally impressive with walk-on freshman Codie Brooks emerging as an elite pass rusher (four sacks, three pass break ups, one QB hurry, one fumble recovery). Robert Singletary has also impressed since returning from a suspension while the returning cast of Ritter, Rogers, and Harris have all performed up to par. I’m looking forward to seeing this unit tear up some of C-USA’s lesser offensive lines. Even scarier is that almost all of this unit’s production will return next season while also adding Justyn Eddins, Skylar Nelson, and Anthony Lee

Five Coker Heads out of Five

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Linebackers

Another squad that has been as good as expected. Senior Steven Kurfehs has been fantastic (40 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QBH) and first-year starter at Mike Drew Douglas has been right behind him . Jens Jeters has already proven that there will be little to no drop off after Kurfehs’ graduations. While Jens is just a sophomore, at times he has looked like UTSA’s most physical athlete. The power of the beard, folks. While he lost a position battle to Drew Douglas, Blake Terry has provided excellent depth at the Mike position. The only reason I’m giving them four instead of five Coker Heads is that I personally feel that your linebacking corps should be a unit that generates turnovers– something that UTSA has struggled with this season. Nitpicking perhaps, but I’ve got to run a tight ship over here yanno?

Four Coker Heads out of Five

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Safeties

Tough evaluation here. Triston Wade and Brian King have racked up tackles (53 and 39, respectively) but oftentimes that is a byproduct of the opponent being able to run a lot of plays. Nic Johnston has been a star when defending against the run but has gotten eaten up in pass coverage a few times. Cody Berry has bitterly fought against the injury bug. Chase Dahlquist has impressed as a true freshman and Joseph Lizcano has provided high quality snaps. Outside of Wade’s dependable play at free safety, nothing positively sticks out for this unit that hasn’t been able to come down with an interception this season.

Three Coker Heads out of Five

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Cornerbacks

I saved the best for last… LOL. In fairness, the cornerbacks have faced some of the best passing attacks in the nation but rarely looked competitive against them. Transfer Bennett Okotcha took little time to earn a starting spot but has looked average after shutting down UTEP in El Paso. The other starting corner Crosby Adams has made some nice plays but struggles to deflect passes away from larger receivers. Andre Brown has provided three pass break ups but has also suffered from some awful mental miscues that lead to big plays against Arizona and Oklahoma St. Darrien Starling has performed much better after Okotcha became the starter but he was regularly toasted before that change was made. UTSA is one of only three FBS teams that has not intercepted a pass this season. That is simply inexcusable. Fair enough reason to knock this unit into the depths of Coker Head Hell.

One Coker Head out of Five

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About jared

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