The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

October 1, 2013

Under veteran Coker, Roadrunners have taken off

By Gary Fauber

Assistant Sports Editor

In Adam Sandler’s football comedy “The Waterboy,” the South Central Louisiana State University quarterback pitched to Bobby Boucher and went deep on a trick play.

With Jerry Reed’s evil coach character frantically signaling and yelling “Pass!” to his unwitting defense from the sideline, Boucher fired a touchdown pass to his quarterback, and the Mud Dogs won the Bourbon Bowl.

Last Saturday, UTSA attempted a similar play against Houston. It wasn’t nearly as dramatic, and Kam Jones’ 12-yard pass to quarterback Eric Soza fell incomplete.

One other difference: The Roadrunners didn’t win the game. They were behind 31-28 at the time, but the Cougars scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter and won 59-28.

“It was an easy play,” UTSA coach Larry Coker said, “and we just didn’t execute.”

Not much has been easy for Coker and the Roadrunners, who started playing football in 2011. But things are far better than anyone could ever have predicted.

UTSA, which visits Marshall at 2 p.m. Saturday, is 2-3 overall in its first season as a member of Conference USA, but the program’s overall record through its first 27 games is 14-13. That includes an 8-4 record last year in the Western Athletic Conference.

“This happened fast,” said Coker, who coached Miami to the 2001 BCS national championship. “We’ve got good players. ... We want to recruit better than everybody. Right now, our players are good enough for us.”

Among them is Soza, a senior who has completed nearly 66 percent of his passes (122 of 185) for 1,342 yards. He has eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

Soza completed 29 of 40 passes for 316 yards against Houston, but was also picked off three times to take off some of the luster. Still, Coker believes is quarterback “has some magic too him.”

“I think he felt like he made mistakes in the fourth quarter, which is true,” Coker said. “His spirit is going to be fine. He is a mature young man. He understands where we are and where we’re headed. No, he’s not pleased with his fourth quarter. Sometimes you try to do too much.

“I don’t know if there is anyone in the country that I would trade for him. I like him a lot.”

— E-mail: gfauber@

register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 072414 WV Open.jpg Familiarity with Cobb helps Hess take lead

    It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Kenny Hess is comfortable playing the Cobb Course at Glade Springs Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golf and motocross are Jude’s passions

    Motocross and golf have very little in common.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • How to discover and love Major League Soccer

    When I began my soccer fandom following a missions trip to Brazil in 2000, I didn’t know what my next step was. I knew I loved watching the game, but there weren’t a lot of options for seeing it in the U.S. I knew of Major League Soccer — mostly from my friend and current FC Dallas beat writer Drew Epperley — but it was hard to find.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 brand Bradshaw or the field?

    If a betting window were set up on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs for the 81st West Virginia Open Championship, which begins at 8 a.m. this morning, the most popular wager would probably be David Bradshaw against the field.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 justice Home sweet home away from home

    When Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was handed a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sunday, his eyes lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on a cold December night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072314 miners Miners take series with Paints

    The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp