Players to watch for the 2023 season

Haley Aguayo, Staff Writer

As UTSA’s football team geared up to play its spring Fiesta game at the Alamodome, coach Traylor was geared up to see how new potential starters and backups would perform during their public practice last Friday night.

Going into the game, Traylor made it known that this was a practice and not a game. Since UTSA’s defense played against their own offense, there would not be the potential of any surprises that the other team was not already aware of. The only possible revelation the team would have was how well players, especially new additions to the team, could play under a sort of pressure.

The question of who would fill the backup quarterback spot came up during coach Traylor’s radio show. Owen McCown and Eddie Lee Marburger were brought up as potential backups, but Traylor said, “Brandon Tennison has been playing really well.” Both returning sophomore Marburger and freshman Tennison proved to be quick and reliable during Friday night’s practice game. Both threw touchdown passes as well. McCown dropped the ball on his first play and favored the far left field but was quick on his feet as he found holes to run through against his own defense. 

Wide receivers Chris Carpenter and Willie McCoy both made touchdowns during the practice game and were both name-dropped by Traylor in a post-practice interview. “He’s extremely fast,” Traylor said of his newest junior transfer athlete. “He’s got playmaking skills. We can get the ball to him down the field. I really like Willie. He’s a pro. We’ve had no issues with Willie whatsoever as far as getting him acclimated to the culture; really excited for him, and his upside is really high.”

Veterans Frank Harris, De’Corian Clark, Joshua Cephus and Zakhari Franklin were sidelined for the spring game to due injury. This gives other players more time to shine.

“We feel really good about our guys returning,” Traylor said. “Chris Carpenter is really good at returning punts. Willie is as well. We’ll see where [Willie] fits as far as returning kicks. You know, we’ve got Carpenter to do that as well, but I think Willie can take a little bit of that off of Chris. We hope, but we’ll see; he was recruited for that intention. But Chris Carpenter has had a fantastic spring. He’s really come on.” 

Other wide receivers to look out for come this fall would be Jace Wilson, Chu-Chu Doe, David Amador II, Isaiah Davis and Tykee Ogle-Kellogg, who all made runs that helped drive the ball down the field during the fiesta game.

Possible running backs to look forward to watching during the season would be Justin Rodriguez, who made several runs and a TD during the game. Rocko Griffin, Ezekiel Saldana and Mason Culton all made runs that advanced their team as well. Tight end Camron Cooper seemed to be a favorite runner when McCown was on the field and made quick runs as well.

Even though defensive players were not allowed to tackle, they were able to block. OLBs such as Trey Moore, Nnanna Anyanwu and Jimmori Robinson were all major forces in prohibiting plays by the offensive line. Lastly, safety Kelechi Nwachuku proved to be a double threat as he was able to block players and turn around just as quickly to tag them to end a play.

Any of these players can be driving forces and become familiar faces this fall as football approaches.