Opening statements …
"I’m really excited about the players we signed. It's a bunch of good football players and and it’s a good academic class, as well. The coaches did an outstanding job of finding these guys and just did a terrific job of recruiting.
"Last year, we played with 30 redshirt freshmen, 23 freshmen and 2 seniors. I think the thing we realized is that the bar has been raised. We’re going to be an FBS team next year with a full WAC schedule, but that’s what we needed to do to step up. It’s really an exciting time for us.
"It’s a little different for us this year. A couple of guys came mid-term. A couple of JUCOs from California and Texas, as well as a couple of early graduating high schoolers joined us this semester. We signed 16 from Texas, and like we said, we are going to recruit from San Antonio out. We have four from this area, five from the Dallas area, five from the Houston area and two from East Texas. We have one from Louisiana, three from California, one from Arkansas and two from Florida. It’s a balanced class, offense and defense, and we’re really excited.
"We had an outstanding recruiting year. We got some offensive linemen with size, athleticism and a little age from the JUCO ranks. With this class, we’re going to be deeper and will make each other better."
When do you see UTSA having a major impact on the college football world?
“Well, I think we made an impact on the college football world last year by setting attendance and winning games. First of all, we’re going to graduate these kids and then we’re going to compete for championships. We should win championships here. We’re going to recruit to win every game and I think these kids are those type of kids. The kind to win football games, win championships and represent our school the right way.”
What is the difference with a third class coming in when you were just playing anybody you could last season? How will this class help with depth?
"Right away, I think this group will make things more competitive in practice. We have guys who have to learn how to keep their job and compete. It’s going to make us more competitive and better. We are going to be competing against some pretty good people, guys who have beaten some good people. We beat out some Big 10 and Big 12 teams for some kids, but we lost some too. It’s going to be much more competitive in practice and that’s a good thing. I don’t care who plays. It could be a freshman or whatever. These guys need to come in, compete and show us what they can do."
What about Marcus Wright’s game caught your eye? Does he still have that same burst that he was noted for?
"I didn’t catch any film on him in high school, just the film from Georgia Tech. I know the coaches here and at Georgia Tech think he’s a great player and it’s an opportunity for him to come home. It’s a one-year deal since he will graduate in May. We’re excited to have him."
How much easier was it to sell the program now that you have a season under your belt?
"Well, now there are people that can see it. The crowds were great. I’ve had coaches from different schools tell me that the atmosphere here is electric. Having all the question marks about the program are behind us and it has become a lot easier to sell. I think with the administration and fans involved, it really makes a difference. I’ve had fans tell me that they have already bought their season tickets for next year and they're really getting into it. Texas will be Texas and A&M will be A&M. We just want to be the best we can be. The staff has done a tremendous job with recruiting these athletes and building an atmosphere around UTSA Football."
What are your expectations for the second year of this program?
"After getting beat up by older football players, I can tell you there is a lot more excitement about the small things like lifting weights. I think the difference is that the players are sold, and if they buy in, we’ll be just fine. If they don’t, they probably won’t survive on this football team."
Can you talk a little bit about the JUCO signees?
"When you look at the numbers, half of those guys are originally from Texas. I think they are really good football players. They’re coming here to play and most JUCO players have two years left looking for a job, which will make our other players work harder. They have played on a higher level and are ready to compete right away. It’s a good fit for us. We are recruiting players that give us the chance to win right away."
Are there any incoming freshmen coming in that will battle for playing time?
"I’m hoping they will all come in and compete right away, but there are a few that will definitely play right away and a few that will probably redshirt. All we ask is that everyone comes in and compete for a job. We don’t care who plays. If you’re not ready, you’ll get a redshirt year to get better. Now, we have to make sure our guys understand that this is major college football. You will have to compete for your job in order to get playing time."
Can you talk a little more about the offensive line?
"The guys that we added, the junior college players, are going to come in and make the guys already here better. The guys coming back have a year under their belt and we’ll just have to see what these junior college guys can do. We brought them here to compete for a job and that’s why they're here. Those guys with only two years left to play want to come in and play right now. They don't want to wait around for playing time."