Coach: Larry Coker (23-23, entering fourth season, 83-38 overall)
2014 record: 4-8, 3-5 in the Conference USA, fourth place in West Division
Look back: Texas-San Antonio signed the first recruiting class in school history in February 2010 and has made a remarkably quick transition to competing at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. Coach Larry Coker, who steered Miami to a national title, led the Roadrunners to winning seasons in 2012 and 2013. UTSA returned the most starters in the nation last season and was supposed to contend for a Conference USA title, but a slew of injuries crippled a team that could not post back-to-back wins.
Offensive starters returning: 2
Offensive starters lost: 9
Defensive starters returning: 4
Defensive starters lost: 7
Key losses: QB Tucker Carter, RB David Glasco II, FB Nate Shaw, WR Kam Jones, WR Marcellus Mack, C Nate Leonard, OG Scott Inskeep, OT Cody Harris, OT Josh Walker, DE Cody Rogers, DE Robert Singletary, DT Ferrington Macon, DT Ashaad Mabry, LB Jens Jeters, S Triston Wade, CB Darrien Starling, K Sean Ianno, P Kristian Stern, PR Kenny Harrison, LS Jesse Medrano
Top returnees: RG William Cavanaugh, TE David Morgan II, LB Drew Douglas, S Chase Dahlquist, S Mauricio Sanchez, CB Bennett Okotcha, KR Aaron Grubb
Strengths: Coker brings an elite level of coaching experience and has worked to get the most out of the young program. He will likely be leaning heavily on tight end David Morgan II, the team’s sole returning All-Conference USA honoree. Morgan, who has 40 receptions for 538 yards and three touchdowns in 30 games during his career, will be a key team leader for an offense that returns just nine starters.
On the defensive side of the ball, safety Mauricio Sanchez was a steady force on the secondary who recorded one interception for the Roadrunners.
Coker planned for the loss of many players. He added 37 athletes to his roster, including five grayshirts, two early enrollees and eight junior-college transfers. Michigan quarterback Russell Bellomy also will be joining the Roadrunners after earning his degree this spring.
Weaknesses: UTSA faces the challenge of losing the bulk of its first signing class that helped start the program. While Coker did all he could to plug holes with experienced junior-college players and a promising transfer in Bellomy, it will take time for these players to learn his system.
The Roadrunners won’t have much time to get adjusted, playing arguably one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the nation. The team plays at Arizona and at Oklahoma State and hosts Kansas State and Colorado State during the month of September. The four teams went to bowl games last season, with Arizona and Kansas State earning spots in the final top 25 polls.
Outlook: UTSA needs its infusion of talent to quickly adapt to big roles on the team and avoid injuries in some big mismatches early to have a chance to compete for wins in Conference USA. Coker has impressed by posting two early winning seasons, but it won’t be easy to earn another one.
Sept. 3 at Arizona
Sept. 12 Kansas State
Sept. 19 at Oklahoma State
Sept. 26 Colorado State
Oct. 3 at UTEP
Oct. 10 Louisiana Tech
Oct. 17 at Southern Miss
Oct. 31 at North Texas
Nov. 7 Old Dominion
Nov. 14 at Charlotte
Nov. 21 Rice
Nov. 28 Middle Tennessee
College Football / College Basketball Handicapper. 2011 won 74%, 2012 won 72% 2015 SPECIAL. CALL, 877.WIN.ATS9 EMAIL,V@VincentRizzoSports.com