The big 2014 UTSA football preview: One last go-round

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

UTSA boasts 38 seniors on its 2014 squad. The ambitious Roadrunners have come a long way in a short amount of time, and with experience and continuity galore, they could be the team to beat in the Conference USA West.

SB Nation 2014 College Football Countdown

Confused? Check out the advanced-stats glossary here.

1. We probably aren't talking enough about the job Larry Coker's doing

In 2010, UTSA football was a theory.

In 2011, UTSA football was going 4-6 against teams like McMurry and Minot State.

In 2012, UTSA football was going 8-4 against a schedule that included nine current FBS teams.

In 2013, UTSA football was finishing a game shy of the Conference USA West title.

If you were to build a program from scratch and were looking for the perfect location, San Antonio would likely be in the top five or 10 when it comes to potential candidates. It's in the middle of perhaps the most football-populous state in the country. It's a large metropolis without a big-time football team. It's one hour and change from Austin, three hours from Houston, four hours from Dallas, seven hours from New Orleans, and seven hours from Oklahoma City. Your access to recruits is massive, and it would seem that building a program there might be as easy as anywhere in the country.

But it's still really hard. Well-placed Florida International won nine games in its first four years in FBS and has two winning seasons in 10 years. Florida Atlantic did reach a pair of bowls in its fourth and fifth years in FBS but still only has three winning seasons in 10 years. Georgia State, almost as perfectly placed as possible, just went 0-12 in its first FBS season and is 10-35 overall.

Of the recent batch of new, ambitious programs, only Old Dominion has succeeded at a level close to what UTSA has achieved so far, and even the Monarchs spent four years at the FCS level before their FBS provisional year.

UTSA has been incredibly ambitious in its FBS timetable, and Larry Coker is making any and all risks pay off. We should probably be talking about this more.

2. An incubator test

Of course, Coker is only passing the first test. It was a giant one, but it's almost over. In 2014, just as in 2013, he will field a team that returns at least 19 starters. He could be starting as many as 18 seniors.

His first recruiting cycle was full of players who were ambitious and willing to take some lumps in exchange for major playing time. The next cycle will have expectations and will be young in 2015. There's nothing saying Coker will be able to manage his program's current trajectory with a different batch of less-experienced leaders.

But that's a worry for 2015. In 2014, his team will basically be an incubator test for the value of chemistry and experience. His guys have played together a lot, and they very well might be the favorite to win the Conference USA West division barely three years after playing the program's first game.

2013 Schedule & Results

Record: 7-5 | Adj. Record: 9-3 | Final F/+ Rk: 67
Date Opponent Opp. F/+ Rk Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L 5-gm Adj. Avg.
31-Aug at New Mexico 110 21-13 W 19.5 - 17.7 W
7-Sep Oklahoma State 8 35-56 L 42.5 - 43.6 L
14-Sep at Arizona 25 13-38 L 28.4 - 36.6 L
21-Sep at UTEP 119 32-13 W 24.4 - 18.8 W
28-Sep Houston 46 28-59 L 41.6 - 40.1 W -0.1
5-Oct at Marshall 52 10-34 L 21.3 - 21.2 W -0.4
12-Oct Rice 69 21-27 L 31.2 - 27.8 W 0.5
26-Oct UAB 115 52-31 W 32.7 - 37.9 L 1.1
2-Nov at Tulsa 94 34-15 W 32.4 - 29.5 W 0.6
9-Nov Tulane 70 10-7 W 32.9 - 29.7 W 0.9
23-Nov at North Texas 51 21-13 W 36.5 - 25.0 W 3.2
30-Nov Louisiana Tech 112 30-10 W 36.5 - 14.9 W 6.8
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk Spec. Tms. Rk
F/+ +0.9% 56 -0.8% 68 -2.7% 106
Points Per Game 25.6 86 26.3 62
Adj. Points Per Game 31.7 43 28.6 73

3. A six-week learning curve

UTSA has played eight FBS opponents in its history. In 2013, the Roadrunners will play 12, including seven projected in the Top 92 of the preseason F/+ rankings and four in the Top 60. [...] The Roadrunners are going to struggle in 2013, but they are ahead of schedule, and they should be able to hold their own for at least a good portion of the season.

I wrote that in last year's UTSA preview, and I was reasonably correct ... for a few weeks. UTSA did struggle early on. The Roadrunners eased past New Mexico, the offense showed against Oklahoma State, and the defense certainly held UTEP in check. UTSA was playing somewhere near an average level, though after six weeks its record was just 2-4.

But following a 24-point loss at Marshall, one that featured decent defense but turnovers galore, UTSA got its act together. The Roadrunners played well in a tight loss to Rice (one that would end up costing them the division title even if they didn't realize it at the time), then didn't lose again.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 6 games): Opponent 29.7, UTSA 29.6 (minus-0.1)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 6 games): UTSA 33.7, Opponent 27.5 (plus-6.2)

In the final six games, UTSA's offensive output improved from 5.7 yards per play to 6.3; the defense went from averaging 5.8 yards per play to 4.9. The Roadrunners averaged 5.8 per play against a stout Tulane defense (even while only scoring 10 points) and allowed 4.5 per play to a surging North Texas offense. They whipped Tulsa in Tulsa and finished the season by pasting a Louisiana Tech squad that had beaten them by 24 points the year before. That tight loss to Rice was costly, but it's impossible to look at 2013 as anything other than a rousing success.

Offense

FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.12 76 IsoPPP+ 92.0 103
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 45.6% 37 Succ. Rt. + 110.4 28
FIELD POSITION Def. Avg. FP 31.4 99 Def. FP+ 102.4 30
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.4 54 Redzone S&P+ 104.0 42
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 18.8 ACTUAL 21 +2.2
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 56 53 28 80
RUSHING 57 16 20 69
PASSING 56 81 41 74
Standard Downs 45 27 75
Passing Downs 52 32 120
Q1 Rk 67 1st Down Rk 59
Q2 Rk 49 2nd Down Rk 50
Q3 Rk 59 3rd Down Rk 54
Q4 Rk 43

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2014 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp
Rate
Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Eric Soza 236 377 2719 12 11 62.6% 15 3.8% 6.8
Tucker Carter 6'3, 225 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 23 33 190 1 2 69.7% 2 5.7% 5.1
Austin Robinson 6'3, 220 RSFr. 2 stars (5.2)
Blake Bogenschutz 6'1, 180 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)

4. After Soza

In UTSA's entire football history, Eric Soza has thrown 89 percent of its passes and thrown for 88 percent of its yards. He is, without either question or competition, the greatest quarterback in UTSA history.

Granted, that's by default. Aside from when he was limited by injury, he's been UTSA's only starting quarterback. Still, he was solid -- he completed 63 percent of his passes as a senior and added another efficiency aspect to an already efficient offense -- and his replacement has a reasonably high standard to meet.

Who will that replacement be? And what kind of offensive tweaks might UTSA implement? Despite Soza's solid mobility (he averaged 6.2 yards per non-sack carry as a junior, 5.3 as a senior), UTSA was balanced between the run and pass. The Roadrunners almost perfectly matched the national run-pass averages, and if the new winner of the starting job, be it senior Tucker Carter or redshirt freshman Austin Robinson, isn't quite as successfully mobile, it wouldn't be hard to see these run-pass rates becoming reasonably pass-happy. Carter, the most likely starter, completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,654 yards at Trinity Valley junior college in 2011, so he can sling it.

If the quarterback position is stable, then that answers basically the only lingering question about the offense.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards TD Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
Opp.
Rate
David Glasco II RB 5'10, 200 Sr. NR 95 496 5 5.2 5.7 36.8%
Evans Okotcha RB 93 386 2 4.2 4.5 30.1%
Eric Soza QB 82 431 7 5.3 5.0 43.9%
Brandon Armstrong RB 5'6, 155 Sr. 2 stars (5.0) 31 251 3 8.1 10.2 48.4%
Jarveon Williams RB 5'9, 195 So. 2 stars (5.4) 28 126 0 4.5 4.2 42.9%
Kam Jones WR 5'11, 190 Sr. NR 28 309 5 11.0 9.9 67.9%
Brian Vaughn RB 5'6, 180 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 13 45 0 3.5 2.8 38.5%
Aaron Grubb WR 5'8, 170 Jr. NR 7 72 0 10.3 6.0 85.7%
Kenny Bias WR 6'1, 175 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 7 45 1 6.4 5.6 57.1%
Tucker Carter QB 6'3, 225 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 5 12 0 2.4 0.7 20.0%

Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Target
Rate
%SD Yds/
Target
NEY Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Kam Jones WR-Z 5'11, 190 Sr. NR 47 34 345 72.3% 12.2% 39.5% 7.3 -44 7.2 41.9
Brandon Freeman WR-X 5'10, 175 Sr. NR 39 24 255 61.5% 10.1% 64.5% 6.5 -42 6.2 31.0
Marcellus Mack WR-Z 6'0, 195 Sr. NR 32 22 169 68.8% 8.3% 79.2% 5.3 -89 4.5 20.5
Cole Hubble TE 6'2, 235 Sr. 2 stars (5.1) 31 20 274 64.5% 8.1% 53.6% 8.8 32 8.9 33.3
Aaron Grubb WR-H 5'8, 170 Jr. NR 29 18 218 62.1% 7.5% 57.1% 7.5 -4 7.3 26.5
Kenny Bias WR-X 6'1, 175 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 29 16 335 55.2% 7.5% 57.9% 11.6 125 6.3 40.7
Kenny Harrison WR-H 5'9, 170 Sr. NR 29 23 201 79.3% 7.5% 70.8% 6.9 -51 7.1 24.4
Brandon Armstrong RB 5'6, 155 Sr. 2 stars (5) 23 15 172 65.2% 6.0% 40.0% 7.5 -8 5.8 20.9
Seth Grubb WR 5'9, 185 Sr. NR 22 14 228 63.6% 5.7% 40.0% 10.4 57 13.0 27.7
Evans Okotcha RB 20 13 148 65.0% 5.2% 46.7% 7.4 -9 8.7 18.0
Josiah Monroe WR 5'6, 170 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 19 13 101 68.4% 4.9% 66.7% 5.3 -52 5.6 12.3
Earon Holmes WR-X 6'4, 190 Sr. NR 18 9 122 50.0% 4.7% 42.9% 6.8 -3 7.1 14.8
Jarveon Williams RB 5'9, 195 So. 2 stars (5.4) 16 14 134 87.5% 4.2% 45.5% 8.4 -13 7.1 16.3
Jeremiah Moeller TE 12 9 62 75.0% 3.1% 37.5% 5.2 -39 5.8 7.5
David Morgan TE 6'4, 260 Jr. NR 9 7 69 77.8% 2.3% 57.1% 7.7 -8 5.5 8.4
Miles Lerch WR 5'10, 170 So. NR 3 3 22 100.0% 0.8% N/A 7.3 -8 0.0 2.7
Aron Taylor WR 6'1, 200 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)
Triston Crossland TE 6'3, 220 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)

5. A glut

Whoever wins the starting job at quarterback will have incredibly familiar options around him. Soza and tight end Jeremiah Moeller are officially the only two starters missing from last year's offense, and Moeller wasn't much of a target in the passing game -- the "returning starter" in that regard is Cole Hubble.

In all, every Roadrunner targeted more than 20 times in 2013 returns; the unit (hell, the offense as a whole) could use a bit more explosiveness, but efficiency matters, and players like Kam Jones (a meager 10.1 yards per catch, but with a 72 percent catch rate) have it.

Meanwhile, if David Glasco II can stay healthy, he could have a prolific season out of the backfield. Glasco and Brandon Armstrong have both shown potential for both efficiency and explosiveness in their respective careers.

There are a lot of options here; it will be interesting to see if younger options -- sophomore running back Jarveon Williams, junior receiver Kenny Bias, redshirt freshman receiver Aron Taylor -- play a bit more of a role, both because of potential and a need for proven experience in 2015 and beyond. But the seniors are proven and decent.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 105.9 2.91 3.75 41.5% 73.8% 23.5% 149.0 4.6% 2.7%
Rank 43 72 21 41 35 118 15 62 7
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Career Starts Honors/Notes
Scott Inskeep LG 6'4, 300 Sr. NR 33 2nd All-CUSA
Nate Leonard C 6'0, 280 Sr. NR 34
Cody Harris LT 6'5, 300 Sr. NR 32
Josh Walker RT 6'3, 295 Sr. NR 21
Payton Rion RG 6'3, 285 Sr. NR 10
William Cavanaugh RG 6'1, 300 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 9
Jordan Gray RT 6'2, 260 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 3
Zach Hester LG 6'4, 315 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 1
Cody Cole LT 6'5, 285 So. 2 stars (5.2) 0
Juan Perez C 6'2, 275 RSFr. 2 stars (5.2)
Kyle McKinney OG 6'4, 300 RSFr. 2 stars (5.3)
David Anzaldua OT 6'6, 330 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)

6. A potentially fantastic line

There are worse things in the world than returning your entire starting line and its entire second string. UTSA's line produced solid numbers in 2013 -- 43rd in Adj. Line Yards, 15th in Adj. Sack Rate. There are always extenuating circumstances with these numbers; quick passing helps the sack rate, and running backs obviously impact how well a line does its job. But these numbers were still among the best in the mid-major universe, and unless the numbers were all because of Eric Soza (probably not), there's no reason to think the numbers will regress much this fall, not with all-conference guard Scott Inskeep and seven other players with starting experience returning.

UTSA returns 143 career starts in all, which is just about as good as you'll ever see.

Defense

FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 0.98 7 IsoPPP+ 114.1 11
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 44.1% 88 Succ. Rt. + 91.6 96
FIELD POSITION Off. Avg. FP 24.8 125 Off. FP+ 93.4 117
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 3.8 24 Redzone S&P+ 91.6 84
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 16.1 ACTUAL 14.0 -2.1
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 46 72 96 56
RUSHING 34 52 78 11
PASSING 71 86 109 109
Standard Downs 82 100 16
Passing Downs 47 63 28
Q1 Rk 82 1st Down Rk 93
Q2 Rk 84 2nd Down Rk 58
Q3 Rk 57 3rd Down Rk 82
Q4 Rk 91

7. Bend ... bend ... bend...

UTSA's offense was wonderfully efficient but lacked in the big-play department -- the Roadrunners ranked 28th in Success Rate+ (efficiency) but 103rd in IsoPPP+ (explosiveness). The defense had the exact opposite problem: 11th in IsoPPP+ but 96th in Success Rate+. UTSA was content to bend as much as possible on defense, prevent big plays, and hopefully stiffen in the red zone. It more or less worked. This style did no favors for UTSA's field position game, but it certainly helped UTSA to improve from 120th to 68th in Def. F/+.

That was one of the largest improvements you'll see, and virtually every reason for that improvement returns in 2014, from defensive coordinator Neal Neathery to a secondary that returns 12 of its top 13 tacklers.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 95.4 3.19 3.13 39.7% 87.9% 15.2% 84 2.1% 8.6%
Rank 80 96 45 70 125 110 95 117 29
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Ashaad Mabry DT 6'3, 315 Sr. 3 stars (5.6) 12 27.0 4.1% 2.5 0.5 0 0 0 0
Richard Burge DT 6'3, 290 Sr. NR 12 26.5 4.0% 2.5 1.0 0 2 0 0
Codie Brooks DE 6'1, 250 So. NR 11 26.0 4.0% 5.0 5.0 0 4 0 0
Robert Singletary DE 6'2, 250 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 8 21.0 3.2% 5.0 5.0 0 2 2 0
Will Ritter DE 10 18.0 2.7% 4.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Cody Rogers DE 6'0, 250 Sr. NR 12 16.0 2.4% 3.5 3.5 0 0 0 0
Brian Price DT 6'3, 315 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 16.0 2.4% 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Jarron Harris DE 11 12.0 1.8% 2.0 2.0 0 0 0 0
Jason Neill (2012) DT 6'2, 260 Jr. NR 10 9.5 1.5% 2.0 1.0 0 2 0 0
Ferrington Macon DT 5'11, 305 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 11 8.0 1.2% 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Justyn Eddins DE 6'3, 250 Jr. 2 stars (5.4)
Anthony Lee, Jr. DT 6'1, 280 RSFr. 2 stars (5.3)






Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Steven Kurfehs OLB 12 62.0 9.4% 6.0 2.0 0 3 2 0
Drew Douglas MLB 6'1, 225 Jr. NR 12 47.5 7.2% 2.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Blake Terry MLB 5'11, 220 Sr. 3 stars (5.5) 11 21.0 3.2% 1.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Jens Jeters OLB 6'1, 240 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 20.5 3.1% 1.0 0.0 0 0 1 0
Tank O'Neal LB 6'0, 210 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)






8. A solid run front

Opponents passed slightly more frequently than the national average in 2013, and the S&P+ numbers above suggest why. UTSA swallowed up run plays with decent efficiency and spectacular big-play prevention. The Roadrunners allowed only six runs of greater than 20 yards; only Wisconsin (four) and Alabama (five) allowed fewer. They were pushovers in short-yardage situations, but you can typically afford to give up some third-and-2s if you're limiting the big stuff.

UTSA does have a few absences to account for up front. End Will Ritter was a decent play-maker against the run, and outside linebacker Steven Kurfehs led the team with six tackles for loss. But teams lose players like this every year; if this is your most pressing issue, you're doing pretty well. The top four tackers on the line and the rest of the two-deep at linebacker return. Depth could be an issue if injuries strike -- we know almost nothing about UTSA's linebackers outside of the three returnees.

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Triston Wade FS 5'11, 165 Sr. NR 12 73.5 11.2% 2 0 2 5 0 0
Nic Johnston SS 6'2, 210 Sr. NR 12 48.5 7.4% 3 0 1 0 1 0
Brian King ROV 6'1, 195 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 42.5 6.5% 1.5 0 0 0 0 0
Crosby Adams CB 5'9, 180 Sr. 3 stars (5.5) 12 28.0 4.3% 0 0 1 8 0 2
Cody Berry ROV 10 24.0 3.7% 2 1 2 1 0 0
Bennett Okotcha CB 6'0, 195 Jr. 3 stars (5.6) 10 22.5 3.4% 0 0 1 10 0 0
Michael Egwuagu SS 6'0, 215 So. 2 stars (5.3) 10 18.5 2.8% 3 0 1 1 0 0
Darrien Starling CB 5'9, 195 Sr. NR 10 15.0 2.3% 0.5 0 0 1 0 0
Chase Dahlquist ROV 6'0, 190 So. 2 stars (5.3) 9 14.0 2.1% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Tevin Broussard FS 6'0, 190 Sr. 3 stars (5.5) 12 9.5 1.4% 0 0 0 1 0 0
Andre Brown CB 5'11, 170 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 7 9.0 1.4% 0 0 0 3 0 0
Joseph Lizcano S 5'11, 210 Sr. NR 7 5.0 0.8% 0.5 0 0 0 0 0
Kevin Adams CB 6'0, 190 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 7 2.5 0.4% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Aneas Henricks CB 5'11, 170 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)






9. Corner playmakers

It's a line I use pretty often; if a cornerback has a high ratio of passes defensed (interceptions and break-ups) to tackles, that either means he's not letting his man catch the ball or he's a terrible tackler. Usually it's more former than latter. Granted, UTSA was not as adept at preventing bigger pass plays as it was on the ground (42 passes of more than 20 yards, 69th in the country), but the Roadrunners still weren't terrible in that regard, and considering corners Crosby Adams and Bennett Okotcha defensed 20 passes while making only 50.5 tackles, that's a pretty encouraging sign.

UTSA's pass rush was pretty sketchy -- and unless redshirted JUCO transfer Justyn Eddins lights the world afire, that probably won't change much in 2014 -- but there's no reason to think that a secondary that returns its top three safeties and top five cornerbacks will do much worse. As a whole, the pass defense needs to improve more than the run, but there is playmaking potential here, especially at the cornerback position.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Kristian Stern 5'11, 185 Sr. 50 40.4 2 17 11 56.0%
Josh Ward 5'10, 220 Sr. 3 29.0 0 1 1 66.7%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB OOB TB%
Sean Ianno 6'3, 215 Sr. 60 61.9 21 0 35.0%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Sean Ianno 6'3, 215 Sr. 38-38 9-11 81.8% 2-8 25.0%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Kam Jones KR 5'11, 190 Sr. 21 20.6 0
Jarveon Williams KR 5'9, 195 So. 9 23.1 0
Kenny Harrison PR 5'9, 170 Sr. 7 7.3 0
Josiah Monroe PR 5'6, 170 Sr. 2 2.0 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 106
Field Goal Efficiency 112
Punt Return Efficiency 112
Kick Return Efficiency 92
Punt Efficiency 53
Kickoff Efficiency 57
Opponents' Field Goal Efficiency 46

2014 Schedule & Projection Factors

2014 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
30-Aug at Houston 41
4-Sep Arizona 34
13-Sep at Oklahoma State 16
27-Sep at Florida Atlantic 103
4-Oct New Mexico 116
11-Oct Florida International 119
18-Oct at Louisiana Tech 98
25-Oct UTEP 117
8-Nov at Rice 88
15-Nov Southern Miss 110
22-Nov at Western Kentucky 91
29-Nov North Texas 94
Five-Year F/+ Rk -12.6% (96)
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 121
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* -7 / -2.8
TO Luck/Game -1.8
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 20 (10, 10)

10. 38 seniors

UTSA boasts 38 seniors in 2014. That's crazy. Not only has Larry Coker done a solid job in talent identification and development; he also hasn't really lost that many players to attrition. Even considering things are going pretty well, you'd have figured a few more players would leave in search for more playing time at some point.

Instead, UTSA is loaded with experience, familiarity, and leadership. This could all lead to some incredible regression in 2015, but that's a worry for another time. In 2014, UTSA could be absolutely awesome.

The early schedule is daunting; trips to Houston, Oklahoma State, and FAU loom, along with a visit from Arizona, and a good UTSA team could still start 1-3 or 0-4. But if the Roadrunners hit October with confidence intact, they might not lose again. None of the final eight opponents on the schedule (nine including FAU) are projected better than 88th -- UTSA avoids Marshall from the East -- and the Roadrunners could very well rip off a nice string of wins.

The road trip to Rice is a bit scary, as the Owls could still be pretty solid. But UTSA gets North Texas at home and could ride this senior class to a Conference USA West title in its second year in the conference and third in FBS. Again, this challenging job could get even more challenging in 2015 when the seniors leave, but Coker has done a magnificent job with this first cycle of players, and he could be rewarded handsomely for that in 2014.

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