With Arizona's season opener against UTSA this Thursday fast approaching, we thought we'd ask Jared Kalmus, who writes about UTSA for Underdog Dynasty, a few questions about UTSA and the upcoming match-up.
1. Last year’s UTSA team was very senior-heavy. With those losses, how different do you think this year’s team will be?
Jared Kalmus: It's really a whole new ballgame for UTSA. The program returns just five starters, which ranks second to worst in FBS. While the lack of experience will be a thorn in the side of this team throughout the season, it's not all bad news. The massive groups of seniors that UTSA will replace this season were all no-star and two-star recruits that were recruited to UTSA whenever the program was still expected to play in the FCS or scrape by as an FBS independent at best. UTSA's freshmen and sophomores were recruited to play the Conference USA level and are faster and larger than the athletes that they are being called upon to replace. Of course athleticism is only half the battle but there's reason for optimism in the long term forecast with this program.
2014 UTSA QB moves to safety
Robinson will have an opportunity to utilize his athleticism in UTSA's secondary.
2. Which players on UTSA should Arizona fans be worried about?
Jared Kalmus: Foremost, I think UTSA's wide receivers have the best opportunity to win one-on-one battles against Arizona. As you all know, Arizona is starting a converted wide receiver and a true freshman at cornerback. Both will likely end up being great players, but in their first Division I starts at cornerback, I think there's some chances for mental mistakes. Kenny Bias, Kerry Thomas, and JaBryce Taylor are all terrific wideouts and could exploit Arizona's inexperience at corner. I'm particularly optimistic in Kerry Thomas' ability to create big plays against Arizona as he is a phenomenal route runner with deceptive speed and strong hands. Thomas didn't play against Arizona as a true freshman last year, but he consistently produced in each opportunity he received last year. Thomas was so exceptional through the spring and fall that the coaching staff announced him as the top receiver in the program despite having just five catches last season.
3. What do you expect to see out of new starting QB Blake Bogenschutz this week?
Jared Kalmus: That's the million dollar question, huh? If you haven't been following UTSA in the off-season you may not know that UTSA is moving to a no-huddle uptempo attack this week. Given that UTSA had one of the slowest offensive paces in the country last season, the difference should be staggering. Fortunately for UTSA, Bogenschutz seems to be the perfect fit for a fast-moving offense that will likely employ a lot of quick-hitting throws to underneath routes. Bogenschutz has been nearly flawless through fall camp and held off competition from three other quarterbacks, including Michigan transfer Russell Bellomy. Bogenschutz has an extremely quick release, a razor-sharp football IQ, and a knack for finding open receivers. I think Blake will have some great drives and some poor ones against Arizona but if his offensive line and running backs allow him to avoid third-and-long I think he'll give the Desert Swarm a workout.
4. What is your prediction for the game?
Jared Kalmus: I've pretty much given up hope on UTSA's ability to pull the road upset but I do think UTSA will play pretty well for three quarters. I'm a big believer in the changes UTSA is making on offense but I'm worried about the rebuilt offensive line's ability to pick up blitzes against Arizona's 3-3-5 defense. I'll say Arizona wins 34-21 in a game that's not as close as the score ends up being.
Thanks to Jared for answering our questions, and be sure to follow him on Twitter at @CC_Jared!