Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

UTSA football enters bye week 1-3 after nonconference schedule

Now in their bye week, can the Roadrunners flip the script in conference play?
Stephen Saenz

For most high-level college football programs, the real season begins after nonconference play. Though for UTSA football, the team finds itself with the worst record (1-3) through four games in the Jeff Traylor era. Now entering their bye week before gearing up for league play in the American Athletic Conference, will the Roadrunners be able to flip the script in their 2023 campaign?

In Traylor’s four seasons as head coach for UTSA football, the team has had just one winning record in nonconference play. The season came in 2021 when UTSA played a schedule consisting of Illinois, Lamar, Memphis and UNLV and went 4-0. 

“I know our fan base is very used to seeing us being more productive, and I understand their frustration,” Traylor said. “Their head coach shares the same frustration.”

The Roadrunners are not unfamiliar with slow starts. In 2022, UTSA finished its nonconference schedule with a 2-2 record before entering play in Conference USA. Of course, The ‘Runners went on to win their conference, and yet Traylor feels better about this year’s team than the one prior.

“Coming off of this game compared to the Texas game last year, we’re way better off,” Traylor said. “And we’ve got a bye week. We’ve got some offensive line issues that we’ve been addressing throughout the year. But we should get a couple of those guys back, which will help our depth and maybe move some positions around.”

Along with the tough schedule, the Roadrunners are also playing without some of their top contributors. Veteran receiver, De’Corian Clark, is still nursing the knee injury he suffered last season, while several linemen and star linebacker Trey Moore have also missed time. Most significantly, though, is quarterback Frank Harris who is battling turf toe from the week two game against Army. 

Despite Harris battling a plethora of injuries along with the team missing several key players, Traylor is counting on the quarterback to return sooner rather than later.

“I’m not sure if we’ll see him at full speed again this year,” Traylor said, “but I think there’s a good chance he’ll be good enough.”

UTSA entering its bye week is some good news for both the players and coaching staff. In seasons past, the Roadrunners waited until the first couple of months before their week off. Taylor believes the ‘Runners finally caught a scheduling break with this year’s idle week.

“If you’re beat up and not doing so well, there’s not a better time in the world for a bye week to show up,” Traylor said. “This one being so early and us still struggling in so many areas, I think it’s a perfect time for us to continue to practice like we do today.”

It would be easy to assume the team’s attitude and overall mood on the season is shaky after the first month of the season. However, according to coach, the players and staff are still optimistic about their season.

“We’re good,” Traylor said. “Focused. Angry. Disappointed. But, told them I had good news and I had bad news. Only one time we’ve ever had a winning record going into conference. So, unfortunately, we’re pretty good at being bad in nonconference, and we’re pretty good at being good in conference.”

There can be positive takeaways in losses that can help a team going forward. Of course, nobody wants to start their season with a losing record. But Traylor has been impressed with his team’s battle through adversity and believes it will guide the team for the remainder of the year.

“We got an amazing group of kids. That’s how we’re gonna battle out of this,” Traylor said. “We’re gonna fix this thing. I don’t know what that means [with a] win and loss record. But we’re gonna look better. We’re gonna put a better product on the field.”

Though the ‘Runners do not necessarily play a more talented team than a couple they have already played, UTSA still enters a new conference rather than the familiar C-USA league. The AAC will present new competition as well as some familiar faces. Nonetheless, the Roadrunners will make the proper accommodations one week at a time, starting with Temple on Saturday.

“We’ve got to be able to really evaluate ourselves, as coaching staff first, and as players next, and make the necessary adjustments to get going in Temple,” Traylor said.

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About the Contributors
Luke Lawhorn
Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor
Luke (he/him) is an English major at UTSA and is set to graduate in the Spring of 2024. This is his fifth semester at The Paisano and his fourth as the Sports Editor. Along with covering UTSA sports and events, Luke also covers high school sports and local events for the San Antonio Express-News and covers the San Antonio Spurs for The Paisano. He has a huge passion for covering sports and giving his opinion on them. Outside of writing and talking about sports, Luke's hobbies include playing basketball, watching movies and all things outdoors.
Stephen Saenz
Stephen Saenz, Photographer

Stephen is a first-year mechanical engineering major with a minor in business administration. Stephen is from McAllen, TX, but has lived in San Antonio for about 9 years now. This is his first-year shooting for The Paisano, however, Stephen has loved film and photography since he was around 10-11 years old and has actively been pursuing freelance photography for about a year now. While photograph is not his major, Stephen is currently focused on growing his name in the industry by focusing on his photography business, however, if it’s not editing or taking photos, he is either listening to music, watching movies, in a coffee shop or finding a good spot to eat. Stephen is a part of other organizations like Engineers Without Borders and works for a non-profit in San Antonio called Kinetic Kids.

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