Nightmare: UTSA 20 LaTech 27
The title is a little dramatic. For the reasonable-thinking person who has followed the team for the last few games, you weren’t really surprised by what happened in Rustin this morning. I don’t know if you would call it a nightmare given that information.
There was the inconsistent quarterback play. There was questionable play-calling. There were flashes of brilliance from playmakers that haven’t touched the ball as often as they really need to. Finally, there was a loss that felt like it should have been a win. Could have been a win. You’ve seen this the last few weeks (save for the miracle win against FIU).
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014 Roadrunners!
For the aforementioned reasonable-thinking fan, this is a nightmare scenario if the situation was described to you on August 1, 2014. Then, the UTSA program was poised for the big breakthrough with a senior-laden squad coming off of a big year. This was going to be the year that UTSA well and truly announced themselves to the college football world.
I cautioned1 that I was reluctant to declare Coker’s charges as shoe-ins mostly because I have seen this kind of thing before. I didn’t and don’t want to sound negative, or like Mr. Told You So. I mean, I didn’t tell you this would happen. Not in this space2. I just had a nagging feeling like it could. I still predicted UTSA to win the division.
I don’t know if this is happening because of a sense of accomplishment overriding desire3, but between the rumors of practice habits slacking4, and the loss of leadership5, this isn’t the well-drilled, disciplined team that we saw surprise CUSA last year.
The losses haven’t come because UTSA is less talented, or that CUSA has “figured them out”. Instead it seems as if UTSA forgot what got them to this position in the first place: the little things.
Tucker Carter is injured but he didn’t look amazing when he wasn’t. Austin Robinson and Blake Bogenschutz have looked amazing at times, but also really young. Their biggest problem hasn’t been the speed of the game, or reading defenses, no it has been defensive lineman in their lap. Austin Robinson was sacked and hit so often today I had to double-check to see if this O-line is the same one I saw in hold back the North Texas fearsome pass rush that cold day at Apogee.
Football is a slippery game. Wins can slip through your fingers with just the slightest bad luck. But most of this game is won or lost by taking care of the details. That is something that last year’s team did so well.
Aside from realizing that your football happiness is dependent on 18-21 year-old kids, it also makes you appreciate the moment. Followers of this program have enjoyed nothing but sustained success6. Perhaps the long-rumored return to earth is here? Too bad it feels like it is a year too soon.
- I did this on twitter in some places. Amidst all the UTSA praise coming during preseason I couldn’t help but remember a Sports Illustrated article from 2005 on Purdue’s senior-laden defense and how they would lead Joe Tiller’s crew to greatness. They finished 5-6. ↩
- I said it mostly on MGN and in the context of providing hope t the UNT fan base that thought there was no way that UTSA could be overcome. ↩
- I certainly could see the scenario where these guys felt like they accomplished so much to do last year, and maybe — just maybe — took their foot off the pedal this year. ↩
- That infamous tweet about taking practice seriously. ↩
- Soza, obviously. ↩
- On field and/or off. ↩
Editor extraordinaire, UTSA grad student. Twitter