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

Football returns home after first road trip ends in defeat

Brianna Cristiano

The Roadrunner football team’s first trip outside of San Antonio did not end well. The Southern Utah Thunderbirds answered a UTSA opening drive touchdown with 38 unanswered points on the way to a 45-22 victory.

For Head Coach Larry Coker the game was an indication of how far the team has to go.

“They manhandled our front early,” Coker said during a media roundtable Monday. “They kept a running back in the backfield to chip Marlon [Smith] some to help the tackle blocking.”

The Roadrunners started out by taking the opening drive down the field and scoring on a 10 yard pass from quarterback Eric Soza to tight end David Morgan but the end result showed that the team still has a lot to work on.

“Our coverages and special teams were horrendous. Obviously we have to get that shored up,” Coker said. “Our third down defense was equally bad, these are things we have to get corrected.

Part of the Roadrunners’ downfall came from the inability of the defense to get the opposing offense off of the field on third down.

“We have to get our defense off the field and let them rest,” Coker said.

For many of the Roadrunner players, the trip to Utah was the first time they had ever flown on a plane or left the state of Texas.

“We had two guys who had been to Utah before,” Coker said. “The team handled the trip really well, I was encouraged by that.”

While the flights went off without a hitch, the game itself left something to be desired for the team.

“There was obvious disappointment,” Coker said. “I think we had a reality check on what we need to do to win.”

The inexperience of the Roadrunners has shown through in the two losses against McMurry and Southern Utah though there is reason for Coker to hope for a brighter future.

“This group is amazing because they really have bought into what we are trying to do here,” Coker said. “That is really encouraging.”

The Roadrunners now have to put the loss behind them and move on to their next matchup with Bacone College in the Alamodome on Saturday. Bacone is coming off of a 65-7 victory over the Haskell Institute.

“They are very big up front,” Coker said. “They are 1-3, but they have some players.”

Owing to the fact that very little is known about Bacone, it would be easy for the Roadrunners to overlook them but as McMurry taught the Roadrunners, no team can be taken lightly in college football.

“I dont see how anybody could be overconfident when we have lost two in a row,” Coker said.

As the season continues, it is possible that the Roadrunners will open up the playbook more as the players get comfortable with it but for Saturday it will most likely be a simple playbook.

“I think the thing you have to be careful with is how much do you want to confuse them,” Coker said. “We need to get good at our base stuff and then when we get good at that we can expand [the playbook].”

As the Roadrunners improve going forward, new names will pop up. One name for Roadrunner fans to look out for is cornerback Eric Brown.

Brown came to UTSA as a transfer from Fresno State and in action against the Thunderbirds came up with a tackle.

“Eric Brown is going to be awfully good. He is a little older, he’s got skills,” Coker said. “He knows how to be in flow with the receiver and he knows how to play the ball. He will be in the mix to start this week, we are going to start the best players.”

With three games down and seven to go the Roadrunners find themselves looking down a tough stretch following Bacone.

In October, they will be on the road at Sam Houston State with home games against South Alabama and Georgia State.

“We have to keep the energy level up. We have to keep working,” Coker said. “We will learn a lot about ourselves this year and we are going to get better.”

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