Offseason Talk

JaredHey Matty. How’s it going? UTSA’s All-Conference USA honors: Inskeep and Wade made the second team… Brooks, Harris, Hubble, Johnston, Kam, Kurfehs, Mabry, B. Okotcha, Singletary, Soza, and Stern were honorable mentions. Brooks made the All-Freshmen squad. Who got snubbed? Who’s too low or too high?

Matty: Snubbed? That is so easy. Mabry and Kurfehs are all conference players. No way that is debatable in my mind. UTSA had the #4 rushing defense in CUSA. This is after playing Ok St., Arizona, and Houston in non conference. Yet, we couldn’t get a single one of our Front 7 into the 1st or 2nd team?

The funny thing is that I don’t really think that Wade was playing at an All CUSA level for most of the season. All this list proved to me is that preseason lists do more harm than good.
What defensive players in CUSA, not just defensive tackles, would you trade Mabry for straight up right now?

JaredYeah it’s a short list for sure. Orr, Jackson, Doss, and maybe D’Joun Smith?

I agree about your beef with preseason honors. Is there a such thing as familiarity bias? Pretty sure that’s what happened here. Think about this– 75% of the players selected to the first and second team were from “old” CUSA teams but 44% of the league consisted of “new” teams (MTSU, UNT, FAU, FIU, UTSA, La Tech). Huge discrepancy there in my opinion.

Let’s talk recruiting for a bit. What do you think of UTSA’s latest commit David Anzaldua and where do you see UTSA heading at the offensive tackle position after his commitment?

Matty:  Pretty important grab IMO. We’ve literally never had anyone like him on campus. Coach Marshall has done an outstanding job with basically 2 guards at tackle. I’m excited to see what he can do with someone like Anzaldua. Like you said yesterday in your breakdown of David, he’s a pretty boom or bust type player. This size and strength jump out at you right away when watching his Hudl, but he also looks like he’s been poorly coached. Get him into a college weight program, and get Marshall to coach him up, and the sky really is the limit. It was a long wait, but also a much needed Birds Up from the staff.

Wes over at InsideUTSA.com got in touch with your boy Rast from Johnson and got a lot of good info from him. (Isn’t it funny how all the best info comes from the kids after coaches visit?) Looks like the staff is moving forward with grabbing 2 HS OT’s this cycle. We’ve already got an offer out to Haynes (for thos that don’t know he’s about as opposite a tackle from Anzaldua as you can get.) and it looks like Rast could be close to one also. I feel great about both of these guys. If you had to choose one which way would you lean? Would you go after a JUCO tackle with 2 HS tackles on board?

Jared:  Those that follow me on Twitter should know of my new infatuation with Rast. How this kid flew under the radar so long is completely past me. He might be the most technically – advanced blocker I’ve ever seen at the high school ranks. You mentioned that Anzaldua looks like he wasn’t coached very well. Rast looks like he’s been under the tutelage of college coaches for years. Haynes is stronger than Rast for sure, but JC looks like he has a better frame on film. Both are listed at 6’4″ but Rast looks taller to my eyes. He also has room to put on another 25-30 pounds EASILY. That guy is a skinny 275 right now.

Right now I’m leaning towards two high school tackles over picking up a JUCO one. My reasoning is twofold: a.) It doesn’t look like UTSA will pick up an elite talent at OT after being spurned by several of their top choices. If you’re not going to get a JUCO guy that can compete for playing time early then what’s the point? A three-year JUCO transfer would be am exception. b.) I think Cody Cole is going to be ready to play in 2014. You were at spring scrimmages with me so you know how impressive he was during those limited sample sizes. He’s much like Rast in that he has a very slender, athletic build that can carry more pounds. Another summer of weight lifting could see Cole come into the fall at 6’5″, 300 pounds. We already know Jordan Gray is a great option off the bench at tackle and Zach Hester is still out there. I just don’t see an urgent need for help at tackle anymore unless you’re bringing in a guy that pushes for a starting spot.

Agree?

Matty:  If Rast or Haynes do end up committing, I’d be done at tackle. Like you said, if it isn’t a legit starting option then it’s just a waste of scholarship. Cole and Gray would be a pretty solid bridge from the ’14 mass exodus to 2016. Cody Cole benefited big time from the spring injuries along the line. Got a lot of solid run with the first team. I’ve got a lot of hope for him down the line. If we run out Cole and Gray in 2015 I’m alright with that. Hell Reed Darragh is a name to remember at tackle also. He’s on the short side at 6’4″ but as a former TE is athletic as hell. He could make some noise.

The interior of the line is actually more worrisome to me. Inkseep is our best offensive player, and Nate is so underrated at Center. Does Cavanaugh slide back over to center? Then we are replacing two guards. Are Juan Perez, Reed Darragh, or Breyeun Owens going to be ready? I’m gonna have both of my eyes on those 3 come spring.

Speaking spring, what 3 players are looking forward to watching the most? What storyline is going to define the team come spring?

Jared:  My top three to watch:

1.) Tucker Carter/Zach Conque – By far the biggest position battle this spring. Both are going to fight furiously for this spot. Carter seems to be the early favorite but there’s no denying Conque’s talent. It’s going to be fun to watch this one play out.

2.) Jens Jeters – The defense is losing its leader in Steven Kurfehs. Jeters played well in his opportunities last season but will he be able to bridge the gap with Kurfehs graduating? Furthermore, will he assume the open leadership role on the defense? If not then who will? Will Tank O’Neal push for playing time? Can Jeters stay on the field for third and long?

3.) Jarveon Williams – Outside of Soza, Okotcha is the only other real loss on the offensive side of the ball. Jarveon showed great promise as a freshman but will need to increase his football intelligence to assume the dependability that Okotcha provided. Glasco should still be the guy at the running back position, but UTSA needs three good options in the backfield. Don’t forget that last year was only Jarveon’s second year playing running back. Very high ceiling for him.

I can see the spring going one of two ways: Carter or Conque could step up and kick ass, having everyone fired up for a conference championship run in 2014. If neither quarterback establishes himself then the focus will turn towards the defense, which has an opportunity to be the best in the conference. The secondary will be bolstered by the addition of Henricks, Baker, Blow, Bailey, Chavez, and Dobbins. That should more than make up for the loss of Berry. An elite showing from a couple of those defenders will take notable pressure off of the offense as it seeks to determine a starting quarterback.

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