Marcus Connolly, The Paisano
On Saturday, March 28, the UTSA football team held their first open practice and scrimmage.
A crowd of over 500 parents, fellow students and media gathered to watch the event, with everyone anxious to see the team five months before the season opening kickoff at Arizona on Sept. 3.
“We’ve got a long way to go, we know that,” said UTSA Head Coach Larry Coker. “(However), I like what I see so far.”
In his seven years as UTSA’s head coach, Coker has guided the team to 23 wins. The former national champion and two-time Coach of the Year has high expectations heading into the season.
Prior to the spring campaign, Coker announced the hiring of a new offensive line coach, Mike Markuson.
“There’s always good things and bad things. Somewhere in between is reality,” stated Markuson
discussing the team’s outlook. “To be a great offensive football team, you’ve got to be physical. How do you become more physical? You’ve got to have an attitude about it; you’ve got to have a toughness about it.”
Markuson has 30 years of coaching experience in programs such as Boise State, Arkansas, and most recently, Eastern Illinois. He has enjoyed his first few months at UTSA, stating, “(UTSA has been a) fabulous place. It’s been awesome, just awesome.”
With the team graduating 36 senior, a multitude of positional battles remains. The healthy competition between players is great for overall team success. Returning redshirt freshman quarterback Blake Bogenschutz remarked on the competition, saying, “Guys are out here making plays, everybody’s trying to make a name for themselves. That’s what spring is all about.”
Coker speaking about Bogenschutz said, “I think he’s going to be really good, I like him a lot. He’s got a good arm and a really quick release, and he’s smart.”
Bogenschutz is returning from an injury-shortened season where he received a medical redshirt.
“Being hurt, I got to see everything a little bit better, I got to sit back and watch everything. It was more mental reps than anything, so I’ve got that aspect down. I got it in the film room, it’s time to take it to the field,” explained Bogenschutz.
Bogenschutz isn’t the only player dealing with injuries. Offensive lineman Juan Perez was seen in a cast at practice. Once at full strength, Perez is expected to battle for the starting center position.
“(Perez) is a guy that’s going to work hard. He’ll play tackle, he’ll play guard, he’ll play center, he’ll do whatever the coaches want,” Bogenschutz said.
One of Perez’s competitors for the starting center position is UTSA’s number one incoming recruit, Clayton Woods. “You always want competition — that’s always a great thing when there’s competition,” said Markuson. “(Woods) might have one of the best center snaps I’ve been around. He get’s the ball back there, he’s consistent,” he finished.
The Roadunners must come out strong in the first three weeks of play against Arizona, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
“I think we’re going to have a good mentality and that attitude to come out and really (play well),” explained senior tight end David Morgan II. “I think it’s going to be a spectacular year,” he finished.