The UTSA Roadrunners entered their bye week this weekend which makes it a perfect time to review their season so far. They are currently sitting at fourth in Conference USA West with an overall record of 3-5 and looking to improve on a shaky start. They have tested a couple different looks this year and will need to make some immediate changes in order to have a chance of making a bowl game.
The stout competition that exists in Conference USA will prove to be a challenge for the Roadrunners. They must prove themselves to be able to compete against the best. Currently, Alabama Birmingham is playing at a high level and currently own a record of 7-1. They are the leaders of the division and seem to have the best shot to win the conference. UTSA has an uphill battle ahead of them and cannot afford to drop any more games.
UTSA Bye Week Breakdown
UTSA’s bye week breakdown will look into the team’s performance thus far and will talk about what must change in order for this team to make this a successful season. There are clear issues that have arisen over the course of the year. These include problems at the quarterback position, the defense, especially the corners, and weaknesses in the offensive line. Improvements in even one of these areas will prove that this team has the tools to qualify for a bowl game. However, if UTSA comes back with the same look as before, do not expect to see a better outcome at the end of games.
Frank Wilson recently made a change at quarterback because of the glaring concerns at the position all year. Cordale Grundy was undoubtedly the number one option to start the season. However, as the weeks went on, Grundy was unable to prove himself. Grundy logged three victories in his first seven starts. He started the season 0-3 and then quickly won three straight. He then had an abysmal performance against Louisiana Tech and it was determined that he was too inconsistent for the success of the team. Consequently, Wilson deemed his performance unworthy of his trust to proceed as the starter. As a result, Coach Wilson opted for the true Freshman in Jordan Weeks. This was a huge step in a new direction for the team this year. Although Weeks lost his first contest, he looked poised and ready to take on the new task of being the captain of the offense.
The defensive-minded Roadrunners have been exposed frequently and look like a shell of their former selves. Last year, this small school in Conference USA, ranked highly in national defensive statistics. They were up there with the likes of Alabama and Clemson, whereas now, it would be shocking if they ranked in the top half of the conference itself. They have been exposed in many areas. However, none more prevalent than in the secondary.
This UTSA defense has only held their opponents to below 20 points once this season. Earlier this year, the Roadrunners ranked outside of the top 100 teams in FBS for passing yards against. The corners and safeties are mostly to blame. There have been multiple games in which an opposing receiver had a wide-open catch with no UTSA jerseys within ten yards of them. This type of coverage is unacceptable for a team that used to predicate themselves on defensive prowess. This type of play can bring the whole team down. The offense will begin to force passes looking for the home run ball because they believe that the defense is incapable of making a crucial play at the end of games. This wears on the psyche of the team and builds a culture in which the teammates do not trust each other.
Offensive Line Struggles
The offensive line has been a major concern all year. They have been unsuccessful in keeping pressure out of the quarterback’s face. Many of the offensive snaps end with the quarterback on his back as a result of poor pass blocking. The lack of throwing time causes inaccurate passes and increases the chances of interceptions. Through eight games, the Roadrunners have given up 25 sacks. This comes out to about three sacks a game. UTSA ranks at 117 out 129 teams in sacks allowed. However, this statistic does not include the number of times that the quarterback gets knocked down or throws under pressure. Changes in the pass blocking scheme or play calling must be made in order to see a noticeable difference.
Frank Wilson’s Job Security
Wilson is off to yet another poor start. In his first year, he was able to lead the ‘Runners’ to a bowl game appearance. The team had more losses than wins in this season too, so Wilson has yet to have a dominant year. However, the past two seasons have not been as fortuitous as the first. He has an overall record below .500 sitting at 15-17. Wilson’s job as head coach may well be in jeopardy if the season continues to go the way it has. The university will be looking for new options as the success of this young FBS program is slowly declining.
UTSA will play Alabama Birmingham in their first week off their bye. This will be the ultimate test this season as it will prove if the team has worked out its kinks. With a win in this game, the momentum could very well swing in their favor. However, if they lose, the result will likely be another losing season.