Head coach Larry Coker has done a tremendous job with the University of Texas at San Antonio’s college football program over the last three seasons. After spending two years as an ESPN analyst, Coker accepted the head coaching position at UTSA’s in 2011, which was the Roadrunners’ inaugural season on the gridiron. Continuity within the coaching ranks is one of the positives for UTSA this season as Coker, offensive coordinator Kevin Brown and defensive coordinator Neal Neathery have all been with the program since its inception.
After finishing second in the Conference USA West Division last season, the Roadrunners welcome back 20 starters in 2014 and are prime contenders to land in the CUSA Title game in just their fourth year of football. UTSA is the most experienced team in college football and have the talent to improve upon its 7-5 record from last season. UTSA’s strength on offense is its offense line that returns 143 career starts, including left guard Scott Inskeep (2nd Team All-Conference) and left tackle Cody Harris (3rd Team CUSA). Coach Coker has done an excellent job developing this unit and I expect excellent production from this group in 2014.
The biggest question mark facing UTSA’s offense is the quarterback position as career-leader Eric Soza departs after throwing for 2,085 yards in 2012 (20-3 ratio) and 2,719 yards in 2013 (62.6%). The backup returns in Tucker Carter, but he only has 33 career pass attempts (played in five games last year). The good news for Carter is that he has an experienced backfield that returns everyone from last year’s unit. Senior David Glasco is the class of this group after leading the team with 5.2 yards per rush attempt last season. Carter will also have a very good wide receiving unit to throw to as Kam Jones and New Mexico State transfer Brandon Freeman both return.
The loss of defensive ends William Ritter and Jarron Harris certainly hurts, but the Roadrunners still field one of the conference’s best defensive lines behind seniors Cody Rogers, Richard Burge and Robert Singletary. UTSA also has a very good secondary that returns seven of its top 8 players from last year, including 2nd team CUSA free safety Triston Wade. The concern with UTSA’s linebacking unit involves the loss of team leader Steven Kurfehs, who led the group in tackles with 82. Despite the loss of Kurfehs, who actually made an NFL camp, the Roadrunners still welcome back seniors Nic Johnston and Jens Jeters.
The positives surrounding UTSA are clear: 20 returning starters and an outstanding coaching staff led by Larry Coker. The negatives are also clear: the loss of three-year starting quarterback Eric Soza and the program’s best defensive player in Steven Kurfeh. Overall, I am extremely bullish on the Roadrunners and will call for them to land in the Conference Title game in December.