UTSA v. UIW 7 on 7
Dropped by Incarnate Word’s campus today to check out a 7 on 7 scrimmage between the Lone Star Conference Cardinals and UTSA’s Roadrunners. Most of UTSA’s skilled position players were present, amounting to around 35 to 45 players by my guess. In contrast, UIW only had around 25 guys and did very little substituting. A cautionary tale: I was sitting quite a ways away from the action and the players weren’t wearing any form of identification, so take player names with a grain of salt as I could have screwed up. Except Carter, can’t miss that flame-red ginger dome of his.
New comer quarterback Tucker Carter started the scrimmage by leading the Roadrunner offense down the field on a crisp and efficient drive without a single incompletion. Carter threw exclusively and quickly to under routes with a strong plant step and a clean follow through. The Roadrunner defense was equally impressive on the defensive side of the ball on the first series as Darrien Starling picked off the Cardinals’ quarterback on a tipped pass on their third play in the series.
|Sorry guys, phone picture is gonna have to do for this one|
Following the interception, incumbent QB1 Eric Soza took over under center for Carter. Not to be outdone, Soza lead an even more efficient drive for a touchdown. Soza’s footwork looked near perfect and his throwing motion was swift and compact. Eric often quickly cycled through three check downs before finding an open receiver to dump off to or hit in stride. After two drops, Soza found pay dirt by nailing a slanting Mike Wilburn (I think) through two defenders in traffic for about 17 yards. On the following play Soza threw up a perfectly-placed bomb to Marcellus Mack on a flag route in the end zone.
After the Roadrunners came to a 2-0 lead over the Cardinals, the team started to lose focus as the Roadrunner secondary let a Cardinal streak past the defense for a touch down on UIW’s first play following the UTSA touchdown. Soza would remain at quarterback for the majority of the scrimmage, presumably in an attempt to build a repertoire with the UTSA receiving corps. Soza dug deep through his options to throw to nearly every player UTSA had on the sideline, from walk-ons to guys I swear I have never seen before. Neither Soza nor Carter ever looked particularly deep on routes, opting to work on their short throws and check downs instead. Overall the Roadrunner quarterbacks performed generally well, with Soza missing on a few passes and Carter having a little bit of trouble with his release in his last series.
If anyone was wondering about Nic Johnston’s injury, he was present at the scrimmage without any type of protective wear on his foot or a noticeable limp. While Johnston didn’t play, he was coaching up several of the Roadrunner newcomers on the sideline throughout the evening with some occasional help from Mauricio Sanchez. Interestingly enough, JUCO transfer Cody Berry showed some leadership following a defensive break down that led to a UIW touchdown by pulling the secondary aside to talk over the play and the unit’s assignments. Not only does this show that Berry has the psyche mettle to lead, but also that he has absorbed UTSA’s defense in just a few months. Kid’s gonna be special.
Individual highlights include a 10 & delayed out route from Sean Hesler that ended in the RS FR. dragging an inch of his toe over the turf for a first down and drawing a gasp from all of the players in attendance. Hesler’s speed is impressive, as he shot off of his defender with a sudden and violent burst. It was tough for me to identify some of the lower profile players from my seat in the stands, but Cody Berry and who I believe was Spencer Phillips had a strong pass break up on a Cardinal receiver at the goal line. Gonna dub that one the Cedar Hill Shutdown.
In the “Why isn’t this kid getting hype” department, I had my first chance to see the menacing Jordan Gray play football. I’ve seen this dude at the gym every day this summer so I can ensure you that he’s a physical specimen. GOUTSA lists him at 6’4″, 250 lbs. which is SEC size at tight end. Gray only lined up for two plays so I didn’t get much of a chance to see him move in space, but on his second play he caught a hard pass from Soza with impressive dexterity on a curl route. He was covered by a kid that was around 5’10”, 170 lbs. Don’t think homeboy would have brought down Gray before he rumbled for a handful of additional yards. I can definitely see UTSA adopting a tight end-first passing game with Gray and David Morgan, similar to the Patriots current system with Gronkowski and Hernandez. Kam Jones is Wes Welker.
The most impressive play of the game was the last. With UIW leading 3-2, Soza lofted a pass to the back of the end zone. David Morgan, who looks like a new man after going through an intense spring strength training regiment, broke off of his defender and dove backwards over a good three yards of turf to come down in bounds with a batshit crazy touchdown. GOUTSA lists Morgan at 225 but I’d guess he’s at around 235~240 off the eyeball test. Morgan’s rambunctious catch brought the 30 minute scrimmage to an end at a 3-3 draw.
Pretty funny moment towards the end of the scrimmage– UIW was driving and in the red zone when a Cardinal attempted to beat Erik Brown on an out route. Brown swatted the ball away, causing a UTSA player to yell out “don’t let him score with New Balances on!” A couple of UIW’s players took offense, and let the Roadrunners know they were moving to Nike gear this year, causing another UTSA player to rebut “we’ve got the Nike shit you boys won’t see for years.” UTSA is an Adidas school, but the premise was both true and hilarious. I kind of still can’t believe the triple stripe is hooking us up with custom print gloves next year.
Miscellaneous: Our friend Kevin McGuire at No 2 Minute Warning recorded a podcast with Coach Coker this afternoon. It’s about 10 minutes long and is a great listen. Pay close attention when Kevin ask Larry about potential rivalries. Listen here.
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