The UTSA Roadrunners were riding high on a three-game winning streak coming into this past weekend. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs brought the Roadrunners back to reality on Saturday, however. The Bulldogs led the whole game and completely overpowered UTSA.
The team that looked stellar just two weeks ago now appears to have regressed to a shell of their former selves. With this loss, the Roadrunners have slipped into second in Conference USA West, just behind Alabama-Birmingham. Where to start the evaluation? At the quarterback position.
UTSA’s Quarterback Situation
UTSA found their stride over the past several weeks. All facets of the team played at a high level during their three game winning streak. That all seemed to change in Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech. On the first drive of the game, the Bulldogs forced their way down the field. They accomplished this with ease and set the tone for the game. The Roadrunners were down seven within the first four minutes and played from behind the entire time. By the end, the Roadrunners left with a 31-3 loss. Most of the blame for this loss falls on the shoulders of the quarterback. This leaves many concerned as conference play will pick up in the coming weeks.
The First Option
Cordale Grundy, the junior transfer from NE Oklahoma A&M College, was given the keys to the team out of fall camp. Although he has led the team to three victories, it’s time to consider a move. Grundy has yet to surpass the 200-yard mark for passing yards in a game. This is concerning because without the ability to move the ball vertically down the field, it gives the team no realistic shot to score points. His 51.2% completion rate is last in Conference USA for anyone with 100 or more attempts this season.
On Saturday, Grundy threw the ball 38 times, completing only 17 of them for 45% against LA Tech. He also threw one interception and lost one fumble on his way to 22.5 QBR. This type of performance is not something new from Grundy. This season he is averaging a 34.4 total QBR, with his lowest being 16.2 against Rice last week. This is grounds for change.
Giving the Backups a Chance
The current viable options at quarterback are D.J. Gillins, Jordan “JoJo” Weeks, and Bryce Rivers. Gillins is the only one of the trio that has played in multiple games this year. He is looked at to provide the spark the offense needs but is not given many opportunities to show his talents. Jordan Weeks, who appeared in this week’s game, threw the ball two times and completed both of them for a total of 10 yards. Weeks needs a chance to showcase his skills as he has the talent to be the next starting quarterback for the Roadrunners. Bryce Rivers is also an option. He was a preseason favorite at the position but has quickly slipped in the depth chart.
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) October 8, 2018
Realistic New Number One
Gillins or Weeks are the realistic choices to replace Grundy. Gillins has not been given much opportunity to prove his skill. He has thrown 25 passes and completed 10 of them. Over these three games, he has accumulated 90 total yards. Although Gillins sits at number two on the depth chart, Jordan Weeks should be the one to eventually get the starting job. Gillins, who is in his senior year, has not been bad, but in order to salvage the season, the team should bypass him and look at the true freshman. He was an absolute stud in high school and looked comfortable in the pocket in his first collegiate appearance. Also, getting the young quarterback experience early in his career could prove to be beneficial for the future.
The future of the organization rests in the hands of Weeks and the injured Frank Harris. Harris at one point had a solid chance of being the starter for this year. The redshirt freshman was on track to be an incredible college quarterback; however, an unfortunate ACL injury took his season away. Harris has the unique ability to scramble outside of the pocket and be composed while facing pressure. He has shown flashes of greatness similar to the abilities of Lamar Jackson, but unfortunately, UTSA fans will have to wait until next season to see Harris. Nevertheless, the future of UTSA’s quarterback position seems bright.
But the future might be now for the Roadrunners’ signal callers.
Next week the Roadrunners will take on Southern Mississippi in another conference matchup. It will be interesting to see if coach Frank Wilson will stick with Grundy, or if he will make a change in the offense. The team just passed halfway through the season, so now would be the time to make a quarterback change in order to revitalize the offense. If Wilson sticks with Grundy for the season, expect to see him be the number one option for the rest of the year. And expect the offense to continue to struggle to win games for the Roadrunners.
Embed from Getty Images