After a several weeks off, JJ's Journal returns.
Fall camp practices are grueling, both mentally and physically. Despite having several players miss some time, it appears UTSA
made it through camp relatively healthy.
Having attended all but one of the available practices personally, I came away impressed with the consistency at which the coaching staff worked. From day one to the last day, every single coach was on it. Especially toward the end of camp where some players seemed a little lethargic.
Head Coach Larry Coker was mindful of the "grind" feeling as several times throughout the camp, he gave the team a few days off away from workouts: this include things like extended film study and team building activities.
All in all, every coach seemed to think the 2013 fall camp was a success. Defensive Coordinator Neal Neathery probably summed it but best when he said that each semester they've come out, they've gotten better. Even from last year, you could easily see the improvement.
DEPTH CHART CHANGES
As part of the game notes for New Mexico, on Sunday UTSA released an updated depth chart.
The most intriguing change is along the offense line where Payton Rion and former tight end Jordan Gray will anchor down the right side as starters. Gray has been taking snaps with the first team offense but seeing him ahead of Josh Walker is somewhat surprising.
Brian King is also listed ahead of Cody Berry at Safety while Ferrington Macon gets the starter spot over Richard Burge at Defensive Tackle.
There weren't many other surprises on the rest of the depth chart. UTSA is known for making personnel changes on the fly, especially when it comes who starts, who plays the most, and who finishes games. It will be interesting to see if all of these changes shake out as expect when things kick off on Saturday.
NEW MEXICO AND BOB DAIVE
As part of our game-week coverage, I am scheduled to conduct a one-on-one interview with New Mexico Head Coach Bob Davie this week.
The former Notre Dame coach who took the Irish to three bowl games during his tenure is charged with turning around a program that won just one game in each of the two seasons prior to his arrival.
As a program, New Mexico isn't too dissimilar to UTSA, something that Roadrunner Head Coach Larry Coker discussed last week.
On the grid iron, the Lobos are a unique foe. Somethings we'll touch on as the week goes on: smash mouth run game, triple option, limited passing game, a defense that gives up the long ball, and a unique special teams. We'll have more on New Mexico later in the week.
ON-CAMPUS PRACTICE FIELDS
UTSA will break in their new on-campus practice fields on Monday in the first of three practices scheduled for this week.
The fields and construction surrounding the fields cost $7 million, according the UTSA President Dr. Ricardo Romo.
Along with the improvements to the weight room and the installation of the new lockers, the football team moving its base of operations full-time on to campus ushers in a new era of UTSA football.
Since the program's inception, the football team literally worked with minimal facilities. The addition of practice fields with lights and a weight room that is second to none will have a direct impact on their on-the-field performances almost immediately. In addition, this will also help with recruiting and future improvement.
While the long term goal is to eventually move all of UTSA's athletic programs to the newly christened Park West, it will be quite some time before that happens. The on-campus fields provide UTSA football a semi-permanent home until that occurs.
We are less than two weeks away from the home opener vs Oklahoma State. That means we are less than two weeks away from a morning tailgate party in various lots surrounding the Alamodome.
Some of my favorite things about tailgating: grilling/bbqing in the morning, consumption of various beverages in the morning, and time to spend with people who share your common interest.
Tailgating is easy and fun, it has also evolved over the years. You can do a simple set up with chairs and grill or you can get complex with various sun shades, trailer smokers, and multiple electronics. In the end, however, one thing remains constant in tailgating: the love of the team you are supporting and the willingness for recreation.
This weekend I dusted off my tailgating supplies for a trip to the lake. Although it was a limited setup, I had all of the tailgating essentials: grill, tables, chairs, music, canopy, drinks, food, and good friends. It was good to knock off a little of the rust prior to the season kicking off.
It's been a long off-season for tailgaters all across the land. When college football games kick off later this week, so too will kick off one of America's favorite past times, tailgating.
Here at InsideRunnerSports.com, we pride ourselves on tailgating. If you haven't heard, we'll be hosting our official tailgate party all season long at The RK Group at 1220 E Commerce St (corner of Cherry St and E. Commerce St).
A limited number of reserved season parking passes remain available. Come tailgate with us. If you're interested, email me firstname.lastname@example.org
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InsideRunnerSports.com Reporter JJ Perez gives his thoughts on five topics.