2012 UTSA Preview - Offense
CollegeFootballNews.com 2012 Preview - UTSA Roadrunners Offense
Preview 2012 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: The Roadrunner offense is really, really, young, but it's also really, really experienced. The coaching staff threw the youngsters to the wolves with as many as eight freshmen starting. Only one starter is gone, and now there are a slew of veterans and options to play around with. The running game uses several players, but could use a true No. 1 option, while the receiving corps gets everyone back including a good set of tight ends. The line is versatile and can move, but it's about to get a rude awakening in the FBS against better lines. Eric Soza is a veteran dual threat quarterback, but he'll be pushed hard by JUCO transfer Tucker Carter.
Star of the offense: Junior QB Eric Soza
Passing: Eric Soza
172-307, 2,148 yds, 14 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Evans Okotcha
50 carries, 326 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Kam Jones
39 catches, 578 yds, 2 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Senior OG Patrick Hoog
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore TE David Morgan
Best pro prospect: Morgan
Top three all-star candidates: 1) WR Kam Jones, 2) OT Drew Phillips, 3) Morgan
Strength of the offense: Experience, Depth
Weakness of the offense: Passing Efficiency, Consistency
Returning to his starting role is junior Eric Soza, a dual-threat playmaker who had a nice year completing 56% of his passes for 2,148 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while finishing second on the team in rushing with 285 yards and three scores. At 6-1 and 200 pounds he's not that big, but he's tough, quick, and has a nice enough arm to spread the ball around. The key will be to keep the interceptions to a minimum, throwing three picks in the loss to Sam Houston State and two in the loss to McNeese State, but he's a baller with the experience to run the veteran attack.
Once again, the 6-2, 190-pound sophomore John Simmons will be one of the main backups. He saw a little bit of time last year completing 5-of-6 passes for 49 yards with a touchdown, and he can run a little bit with 40 yards. However, he'll have to beat out Tucker Carter, a 6-3, 215-pound JUCO transfer from Trinity Valley CC with a live arm and good mobility. A runner as well as a bomber, he took off for 322 yards and eight touchdowns last year to go along with 2,654 passing yards and 26 scores.
Watch Out For … Carter. Soza is the established starter and he knows what he's doing to get the offense moving, but Carter was brought in to make an instant push for the starting job.
Strength: Dual-threats. The quarterbacks are always going to take off and be a part of the attack, but all three can spread the ball around and be effective.
Weakness: Efficiency. The Roadrunners didn't make too many big plays down the field with Soza more of a dink and dunker than a bomber. The passing game would've finished 72nd in the nation in passing efficiency, and that's where Carter might come in.
Outlook: It's a good situation. Soza can do a little of everything and showed last year he can be a good leader and playmaker, while Simmons is a decent backup and Carter is a good prospect who can push for time right away. This won't be a high-octane passing attack, but the quarterbacks will keep the offense moving.
Unit Rating: 5
How many backs are going to get the ball? Junior Evans Ootcha led the team in rushing, but he only came up with 326 yards and four touchdowns. The 5-9, 220-pound fullback has the speed to come up with the big play, taking off for a 77-yard dash against Bacone and came up with enough big runs to average 6.5 yards per carry. He's also a little bit of a receiver with ten catches for 148 yards and a score. Adding more thump to the position is 6-0, 225-pound sophomore Nate Shaw, a big blocker who ran four times for 16 yards and a score.
On the way is Marcus Wright could take over and become the star of the show right away. The senior has just one more shot, and he didn't come to UTSA to sit on the sidelines. The 5-7, 180 local product can fly, and he should be great when he gets his chances.
5-10, 195-pound sophomore David Glasco II was the starting tailback last year, and showed off a little bit of the speed and shiftiness that made him such a promising prospect. However, he only ran for 149 yards and five scores with most of his work coming early in the year. He'll have to fend off Brandon Armstrong, a 5-6, 160-pound speedster who can be used in a variety of ways. The sophomore ran for 171 yards and caught 11 passes for 109 yards in a jack-of-all-trades role.
Watch Out For … Wright. The Roadrunners need one back to work around, and the former Yellow Jacket could be it. He's fast, talented, and has the ability to turn nothing into big plays. This was ac coup for the team.
Strength: Options. The running game used player after player after player with seven backs a key part of the rotation. Throw in the running of quarterback Eric Soza, and the rushing production should be strong with everyone kept fresh.
Weakness: One go-to running back. That's where Wright could step in and take over this fall, but for now, there isn't a sure-thing back the offense can count on game in and game out. Okatcha is close, though.
Outlook: The Roadrunner ground game is the textbook definition of running back by committee. There are several quick options who can bust off the big play, and most of the top options can catch and make things happen out of the backfield. With the addition of Wright, the loss of third-leading rusher won't be that big a deal, and with the right commitment, this should be a solid WAC ground game.
Unit Rating: 4.5
Sophomore Kam Jones stepped in and became the team's best receiver leading the way with 39 catches for 578 yards and two scores. The 6-0, 190-pounder has excellent quickness and a knack for getting open, knowing how to find the seams. While he wasn't necessarily consistent, he came up with three 100-yard games highlighted by an eight-catch, 120-yard day in the loss to McNeese State.
5-10, 155-pound sophomore Brandon Freeman might not be that big, but he was a consistent producer and led the team with four touchdown catches. Extremely fast and nice when he gets the ball in his hands on the move, the coaching staff will find ways to get him the ball more. While he's smallish on the outside, 6-4, 175-pound sophomore Earon Holmes brings more size to go along with decent wheels. He only caught three passes for 27 yards, but he'll be needed more in the rotation.
6-0, 200-pound sophomore Marcellus Mack caught four passes for 34 yards, even though he started three times and saw plenty of action in the rotation. He's a tall, tough target who can make things happen across the middle.
5-9, 160-pound sophomore Kenny Harrison can work in the slot and grew into the job last year finishing third on the team with 28 catches for 209 yards and a score. However, he didn't come up with too many big plays averaging just 7.5 yards per catch. He'll combine again with fellow true sophomore Josiah Monroe, another smallish, 5-8, 170-pound target who saw a little bit of time making eight catches for 85 yards and a score.
The Roadrunners do a nice job of using the tight end and got good year out of true freshman David Morgan. The 6-5, 225-pound sophomore finished fourth on the team with 13 catches for 214 yards and two scores, stretching the field averaging 16.5 yards per catch. Junior Jeremiah Moeller has 6-3, 220-pound size and nice upside, but he only caught two passes for 32 yards.
Watch Out For … even more from Jones. He's a growing talent who should be targeted more now that he knows what he's doing. He should be more of a go-to guy than before.
Strength: Experience. The top five receivers, including the tight ends, are back. It was a young group last season that grew into their jobs. The Roadrunners used seven freshmen and a sophomore, and now they're a year older.
Weakness: The offense. The attack spreads the ball around a bit and doesn't throw all that much. A bit more of a running team, the receivers aren't exactly along for the ride, but the passing attack won't scare too many FBS teams.
Outlook: There's a ton of upside. This is a young, young, YOUNG group that'll grow into the offense over the next few years. If the quarterback play can be a little more consistent and there can be a few more downfield passes, this corps should potentially shine.
Unit Rating: 5
The line needed a good year out of sophomore Drew Phillips, and it got one. The 6-5, 265-pound left tackle isn't going to flatten anyone, but he's great on the move and he did a nice job in pas protection. He'll be backed up by sophomore James Bakke, a slightly bigger option at 6-4 and 270 pounds. He can play either on either side.
Phillips started every game, while the combination of sophomores Cody Harris and Scott Inskeep held down the right side. The 6-5, 295-pound Inskeep started the final two games at right tackle after starting the first eight at right guard. He could kick back one spot over is the 6-5, 280-pound Harris is healthy. A great pass blocker, Harris can play either side.
Sophomore Nate Leonard was a rock in the middle, starting every game at center. At 6-1 and 280 pounds he's a short, squatty blocker who gets great leverage and is one of the team's stronger players.
The left guard position is the only one up front that might be up for grabs. If Inskeep moves back to right guard, then 6-4, 300-pound Patrick Hoog, a former Oklahoma State Cowboy, will likely move over. Very smart and with some Big 12 experience, along with two games of starting time at right guard last year, he can handle the work. However, it was 6-4, 280-pound sophomore Payton Rion who got the call for most of the season at left guard after coming to UTSA with good strength and tackle size.
Watch Out For … Phillips. He might need to add more bulk to his frame, but he's a nice blocker who moves well. For an offense that doesn't require a road grader of a left tackle, he should grow into the role as a nice fit.
Strength: Experience. The Roadrunners can field a nice starting five with good experience and the potential to do a lot more. Last year the team started, for the most part, four freshmen and a senior, and the line wasn't all that bad.
Weakness: The FBS. The young line was able to get the job done at the lower level against teams like Bacone and McMurray, but it's about to grow up in a big hurry against far, far better competition. The line didn't get anything going on the ground against Sam Houston State and McNeese State last season.
Outlook: The line, like the rest of the offense, is really young, but also really experienced. It's an athletic group with just enough versatility to be more than fine if some shuffling needs to be done. This group won't blast anyone off the ball, but it'll be effective.
Unit Rating: 4.5
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