We get to know a few things about the UTSA Roadrunners, the Colorado State Rams week 2 opponent. Jared Kalmus, of Underdog Dynasty, answers a few questions.
With a brand new coach in Frank Wilson, how has the team responded to him?
JK: Frank Wilson has brought incredible energy and excitement to the UTSA program. Things had gotten pretty stale and lethargic under Larry Coker's watch so it's a big swing. There's the old saying that football teams take on the personality of their coaches and we're definitely seeing that at UTSA. Wilson has a very authentic paternal presence to him and the players have responded to it very well. UTSA may see some growing pains in adjusting to the new system this season but there's no denying that Wilson has them on the right track overall.
I see that UTSA did something similar to CSU at QB and waited until last second to reveal the starter. What does Dalton Strum bring over Jared Johnson as a QB?
JK: While Jared Johnson has played more snaps in college (albeit at the FCS level) Sturm has more experience with this group of players and coaches. Johnson played in an uptempo air raid at Sam Houston so it's been a big adjustment for him to step in to a pro style offense that requires him to make multiple reads and take snaps under center instead of in the shotgun. Sturm can process information quicker than Johnson, partially due to a demanding graduate course schedule for Johnson that kept him away from practices at the beginning of fall camp. While most folks claim that Johnson is more physically gifted than Sturm I politely disagree. I think Sturm is exceptional in escaping broken pockets and getting up the field when there aren't any options in the passing game.
The defense had some struggles in the first half against Alabama State. What changed at halftime to cause such a difference between the first and second half?
JK: Intangibly, I think UTSA just cooled their nerves at the half time. Guys were overextending themselves to try to make big plays as they were understandably juiced up to start a new era of UTSA football under their new head coach. The team started to play within itself in the second half and it prevented mental mistakes. UTSA also made some changes in the gap assignments between the defensive linemen and linebackers which prevented Alabama State from blocking UTSA defenders out of the play.The shift lead to UTSA shutting down the Alabama State run game that had made some big gains in the first half.
Jarveon Williams suffered a sprained ankle. What does he bring to the table if he can go? If he can't what should we expect to see out of the UTSA running game?
JK: Jarveon Williams is officially listed as probable to play this weekend but the Roadrunners lose a big play threat if his recovery hits a snag. Sophomore Jalen Rhodes performed really well in place of Williams last week, racking up 78 yards on 16 attempts. The two backs are pretty interchangeable (Quarterback Dalton Sturm said he sometimes forgets which guy is in because they run so similarly) but Jarveon does have an increased propensity for breaking past the second level since he's quite a bit heavier and stronger. Williams is also a superior receiving threat out of the backfield. If he misses the game then sophomore back Brett Winnegan could be inline for some carries.
You're surprise players on offense and defense (who makes a difference that isn't expected).
JK: I've been evangelizing for UTSA redshirt freshman middle linebacker Josiah Tauaefa over the past year but I guess the word is out after he lead the UTSA defense with 13 tackles and two sacks in his first collegiate game. Starting strong safety Jordan Moore is a physical freak (6'3", 225 pound SEC track champion) that can break a game open at any point. Once the game starts to click for him mentally he'll be hard to beat. On the offensive side of the ball UTSA's tight ends Trevor Stevens and Shaq Williams played much more well than I expected them to in the opener. UTSA is replacing stud tight end David Morgan (now with the Minnesota Vikings) but the duo looks ready to reproduce his production. They combined for six catches for 110 yards against Alabama State.
You're predictions for the game.
JK: This has been the toughest game for me to call through the entire offseason and I'm still feeling the same way on game week. I think the two teams are extremely similar in scheme and talent level. They'll probably end with similar records. In games like these that are toss ups I usually ride with whichever team I think will have superior quarterback play. UTSA should have the edge there but I'm very unsure about the Roadrunners' offensive line. I can't shake the gut feeling that Colorado State bounces back and squeaks out a close win at home. UTSA's kicking game has been miserable through the past 13 games so that could make a huge difference in this game. Give me Colorado State 27, UTSA 24
Colorado State vs UTSA is Saturday September 10th at Hughes Stadium. Kickoff is at 2:05 MT. Game can be stream on Campus Insiders and the Mountain West Network.