Listen Live on  
 

Ticket 760

San Antonio's Sports Station
 
 

UTSA prepares for season opener

 
Posted August 25th, 2014 @ 4:55pm by Photo Credit: Jeff Huehn

UTSA will open its fourth season of play and first as a full-fledged member of the Football Bowl Subdivision in front of a national television audience when it makes the trek east on IH-10 to face Houston on Friday night. The second meeting between the two programs and first non-Saturday game in Roadrunners history is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. and it will be the inaugural contest at the brand new TDECU Stadium.

UTSA, which has won 19 of its first 34 tilts in program annals, is coming off a 7-5 campaign that saw it post a 6-2 ledger in its first campaign as a member of Conference USA. In fact, the Roadrunners, who are opening on the road for the third consecutive year, come into this fall's opener riding a five-game winning streak, which is one shy of the school record set from the finale of the inaugural 2011 season through the first five outings of the following year.

Led by fourth-year head coach Larry Coker, UTSA returns a national-leading 37 seniors and total of 21 starters (9 offense/10 defense/2 kickers), which also tops the FBS, this fall.

Listen to UTSA football games on Ticket 760.

 -----------------

GAME Notes:


Head Coach Larry Coker
On the start of practice for this week's first game …
"We have had a good week, good start to the week. It's a short week and we know that. We are healthy, the guys are working hard and running fast and our coaches are coaching hard. I am pleased with the special teams work I've seen, so now we just have to finish out the week with focus."

On Houston …
"They're a very good team with a lot of experience back. First off, the quarterback is good, and they have size and excellent speed. Houston has always had good speed in that program. They have a positive mindset. They have the confidence that they are going to be good and that is a lot of it."

On the Cougars' big-play capability …
"They are explosive and we know that. Their wide receivers have big play capability. They can run and they can catch."

On the importance of Friday's game …
"One of the first things I would say is that we will still have 11 games left. I have a lot of respect for Houston and their coaching staff. They are going to be well coached and they have talent. This is where we are now. We are playing big time competition and the Houston Cougars are big time competition for us."

On the status of the team …
"I feel good about where we are. We have taken care of ourselves off the field and that is a big thing. We have been in the weight room more and I don't know if we have been in better shape before than we are right now entering a season. These first games are always a mystery to me. I am asked how we are and when we haven't played — we don't have any preseason games — we just don't know until we get out there on Friday night at Houston."

On comparison of this year's team to previous UTSA teams …
"We are a better football team now and we have more talent. We are going to have to play better on Friday, but we are a more talented team, we are stronger, we are bigger and we have more experience and all those types of things, so I certainly feel better about this team going into the first game."

- - - - - - - - - -

Tucker Carter, Sr., QB
On the mood of the team on game week …
"It feels good. You can feel something different in the air. Guys are really flying around and excited throughout practice. We are just getting ready to get going, getting ready for Friday."

On the game being played on a Friday …
"It will have the same game feel and I think we just want to get out there and hit someone else. I am tired of defensive ends tapping me on the butt every time I run by, so I'm glad they are going to hit someone else."

On being ready to start the season …
"I think we all are ready, to be honest. I am just going to go out there and execute the offense and give the ball to the playmakers and see what they can do in space. That's what we're used to doing. I feel really good. I feel like we're flying around and I feel we can give them a lot of looks. We are pretty disciplined. The guys are ready to hit somebody else. You can tell."

On being the first game in their new stadium …
"We always want to start fast, but we can't pay attention to what they are doing with their stadium. It's another road game. We are going on the road and we know it is going to be a great atmosphere. Hopefully, we can put some points on the board and make it a little quieter than it should be."

On what it will take to win on Friday night …
"We want to start with a victory. A win in week one would be big for this team."

On playing an established program like Houston …
"I wouldn't say it adds any extra incentive. We have been looking forward to this game for a while. They are a great team. They've got a lot of experience and a really good, disciplined defense, so we know we have to go play really well in order to get a win."

On the Cougars' defense …
"They fly around really well. They have a lot speed at every position, they are very disciplined and well-coached. We realized that during our game against them last year. We have been practicing hard, so, hopefully, we can go in there and put up some points."

- - - - - - - - - -

Triston Wade, Sr., FS — *** Jim Thorpe Award candidate ***
On being ready for Houston …
"I am ready to do my job and help this team come out with a win on Friday. I am ready to hit somebody in a red jersey."

On the UTSA defense …
"It starts with our defensive line. They come hard and rush the passer. The linebackers are getting better and the DBs have gotten a lot better, so we are just going to come out and play the game."

On the mindset of the defense …
"Everyone has experience, so the main thing is trying to stay focused on the small things and just do our jobs."

On the Houston passing game …
"They had a lot of passing yards last year from blown coverages by us, so as long as we line up and are in the right place ,we should be good."

On preventing blown coverages …
"It takes practice. Practice makes perfect. It is recognizing how they are lined up and making sure everyone is on the same page."

On how the defense has changed heading into this season …
"It is experience. We all know what to do now and we just play ball."

 

Photo Credit: Jeff Huehn

 

Recommended Stories

More from Ticket 760

*