4/12/2014 Practice Report
I was able to get my first glance at UTSA’s 2014 squad at today’s open practice at Ranger Stadium in Smithson Valley. The team split into first and second team by offense and defense and practiced goal line situations before engaging in a controlled scrimmage. The first team offense lead the way on the back of an extremely impressive performance from Tucker Carter who finished the day 12 of 17 for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Carter threw the ball authoritatively and with great velocity in spite of a strong crosswind. The anticipated starter showed veteran patience while progressing through reads and was able to look off receivers to open up the middle of the field. Carter’s arm is certainly as good as advertised, as he had no trouble slinging the ball deep down the field. In perhaps the most impressive play of the afternoon, Carter rolled from the left hash to the right hash on a protected bootleg before throwing across his body, on one foot, to Brandon Armstrong who was running a wheel route down the left sideline. The toss resulted in a 31 yard touchdown.
Top Five Performances:
- Tucker Carter: See above.
- Brandon Freeman: Had a fantastic scrimmage as he caught four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Showed impressive quickness, great hands, and more explosiveness than in previous years. Very excited to see what Brandon can do in his senior season.
- Codie Brooks: Lead the defense in sacks (2) and tackles (6) while displaying sound technique and encouraging athleticism.
- Trevor Baker: Here’s a guy that I hadn’t heard much about until today. Trevor had a nice pass break up and laid a terrorizing lick on a receiver. He wasn’t able to jar the ball loose but it was certainly an eye-popping tackle. Baker also did the small things well, as he fought through a screen to nip a bubble screen at the line of scrimmage.
- Jason Neill: Fresh off knee surgery, Neill terrorized the second string offense today by ripping around offensive tackles with a blend of strength and quickness. UTSA’s defensive line is too good. It’s not even fair.
A little concerned about:
- Austin Robinson: Reports from earlier this spring were positive so I think Austin just had a rough day. Finishing 10 of 21 for just 52 yards, Robinson failed to lead the second string offense on a touchdown drive. He threw two interceptions and a third was dropped by Dalton Miller. Austin does not yet have the same velocity and tight spiral on his throws that Carter does so his throws were more susceptible to floating or dying in the wind depending on which direction the offense was facing. Robinson did show promising signs as well as he evaded relentless pressure in the pocket and ripped off a 50 yard scramble as he glided past the defense. These tough days will prepare Austin for the moment when he has to step in to the fold at quarterback.
- Offensive line depth: The young guys aren’t quite ready yet. They still have a lot of practice ahead of them and plenty of time to catch up in the weight room so I’m not terribly concerned about the long run. Cavanaugh got torn into by the coaching staff on several different occasions and Perez let a blitzer fire straight through the A gap, meeting Robinson in the back field just after he received the snap. That’s no-no number one for a center. While the starting linemen gave Carter plenty of time to throw the ball, the second string had Robinson running for his life most of the afternoon. The running backs did a great job fighting for yards but the push and holes weren’t all there today from the line. There were also an unfortunate number of false start penalties.
- Jens Jeters coverage ability: Jens had a great practice and mostly made up for it, but he got burnt hard by Brandon Armstrong on the previously mentioned wheel route. Coach Coker said that Jens was running in the 4.4s so I’m hoping he’ll learn how to translate that speed over into the passing game by next fall. If he can do so he’ll be a stud since the dude looked like a monster on the field.
It’s always hard to gauge the team as a unit in these intrasquad scrimmages since one man’s success is another’s folly. With Nate Leonard, Kam Jones, Jalen Rhodes, etc. not participating in the scrimmage it is impressive that the first string offense was able to move the ball so well. Carter performed so well that it’s easy for me to look past any other shortcomings the team may have shown. With Carter posting such impressive numbers you might think that the secondary had a rough day but they actually covered quite well– Carter was just that good. I’m looking forward to seeing how the team progresses over the next two weeks before the spring game on the 26th.
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