On a gorgeous spring Saturday, the Roadrunners took the Alamodome field for the inaugural spring game, giving the 4,289 Roadrunner fans a preview of what will come on Sept 3.
The defense shined for most of the day, and the lone touchdown came on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Eric Soza to wide receiver Jake Wannamaker. That touchdown proved to be the difference as the White team (offense) beat the Blue team (defense).
The offense showed signs of promise as the four quarterbacks who saw playing time threw for a combined 176 yards.
The quarterbacks had to make do without wide receivers Earon Holmes, Kam Jones, Nick Garza and Cole Hubble.
The defense stepped up when it had to and made the plays to keep the offense out of the endzone on all but one drive.
“I was really pleased with the play of the safeties,” Head Coach Larry Coker said. “Our new safeties coach made a big difference.”
The defensive backfield was effective behind the efforts of cornerback Mark Waters who broke up two passes and recorded two tackles.
“Mark Waters has been as good as anybody we have,” Coker said. “You can count on him bringing it every day.”
While the defensive backfield slowed the passing game, the running game showed signs of promise but for the most part failed to make a dent in the action.
“It tells you we have to run the ball better,” Coker said. “Secondly we have to make sure our playmakers get the ball; we had some dropped passes.
Despite the play on the field, Coker saw signs of promise.
“I think the thing they can say is this is the ground level,” Coker said. “It’s only going to get better.”
In order for it to get better, the team must use the practices leading up to the inaugural season to bring the new recruits in and build a rhythm together.
“I am looking forward to going through fall practices and getting these new kids in,” Coker said. “I am looking forward to seeing them fit in to this plan.”
Even as the defense stymied them on drive after drive, Coker saw signs of promise on the offensive side of the ball.
“You would like to have consistency on offense; I am not worried about our offense,” Coker said. “We have some playmakers out there.”
The consistency on offense will come from depth on the offensive line. Where the line goes is where the offense goes. The offense was without llinemen Cody Harris, Brady Brown and Robert Chapman.
“We had a couple of guys out today,” Coker said. “We had five [offensive] linemen play the whole day.”
The fan turnout pleased Coker, who remarked at the size of the crowd and the support they gave.
“We probably had more fans here than we did for Miami spring scrimmages,” Coker said. “I want these kids to be supported, and if we do a good job as coaches and players, we will be supported by this city.”
With the completion of the spring game, the Roadrunners are now like every other college football team in America: Counting down the days to opening day.
“It is exciting because we are getting closer and closer to the first game,” Coker said. “We will have a mock game down here before the season begins.”
The Roadrunners will open up with Northeastern State (OK) on Sept 3 in the Alamodome. Kickoff time has not been set.