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NCAA Football Conference USA Football

Rant Sports College Football Rankings: No. 80 Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners

Jerome Miron - USA Today Sports

Jerome Miron – USA Today Sports

In his three seasons as head coach, Larry Coker has brought football excitement to the San Antonio area, and the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunner fans could be in store for a great season with a FBS-leading 37 seniors, 21 of them being starters, returning for the 2014 season.

Offense:

Of those 21 returning senior starters, nine are on the offensive side of the ball and they are led by running back David Glasco II who rushed for 496 yards and had five touchdowns on 95 carries. These may not seem like eye-popping stats from your leading rusher, but in 2013, UTSA had three backs with over 90 carries and three other players with at least 25 carries. Glasco has the size, 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, to be the focal back of the offense, but even if  offensive coordinator Kevin Brown continues to go with the “running back by committee” plan, they can rely on sophomore Jarveon Williams and senior Brandon Armstrong for depth.

Even with increasing the workload of Glasco II, Brown may be better served using multiple backs as they may have to rely on the run game more heavily with the departure of senior quarterback Eric Soza. In addition to the 2,719 yards he accumulated through the air, Soza was a running threat as he rushed for 369 yards and had seven red-zone touchdowns. His replacement, Tucker Carter, is more of a traditional passer, but the offense will still look to run the ball from the quarterback position and could use receiver Kam Jones more in the Wildcat formation.

Jones, a senior from Edna, Texas, returns as the team’s leading receiver with 34 receptions for 496 yards and was the fourth-leading rusher with 302 yards and a gaudy 10.2 rushing average. Joining him at the wide receiver position are four upperclassmen: seniors Marcellus Mack, Kenny Harrison and Brandon Freeman along with junior Aaron Grubbs. This position group should see an upswing in their production with Carter being a better passer than Soza.

The offensive line returns all five starters and will be led by senior tackle Cody Harris and senior guard Scott Inskeep, both of whom made the 2014 preseason All-Conference USA first team.

Defense:

Not to be without any representation on the defensive side of the ball, seniors Robert Singletary (DE) and Triston Wade (S) joined Harris and Inskeep as first team All-Conference. Singletary, a transfer from Baylor, flashed his BCS conference talent in 2013 by leading the team in sacks with five in limited action. Surprisingly, he is the newcomer on the defensive line that returns three seniors and should be the catalyst for a great defense.

Defensive coordinator Neal Neathery uses the 4-2-5 defense which utilizes the athleticism of Wade, who not only led the team in tackles with 94, but also was tied for the team lead in interceptions with two. Joining him at the safety position are seniors Nic Johnston and Brian King, so there is leadership at every level of this defense which should pay dividends.

Schedule:

The non-conference schedule has the team traveling to Houston and Oklahoma State and home against Arizona and New Mexico. Going 2-2 is not out of the realm of possibility with the Houston game being the “swing game” if the defense and rush offense step up. The conference rotation schedule plays right into their hands as they avoid playing East Division favorites Marshall and Middle Tennessee State. They travel to Rice looking to avenge the 27-21 home loss and end the season with a home game against in-state opponent North Texas. The Roadrunners should be able to secure their first birth in the C-USA championship game if the transition into the Tucker Carter era is a smooth one and the defense is able to improve on the paltry 283.3 YPG passing average.