Thursday, July 26, 2012

WAC Media Day Recap Part 1

What could be the final WAC Media Day for football is now in the books. We have spent most of the last two days at the Orleans Arena in the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas working this event. with everything now finished, we will recap what we learned as the day progressed.

Texas State
Dennis Franchione is in his second season with the Bobcats, who are transitioning into FBS football. He will see his program spend one season in the WAC before moving on to the Sun Belt next fall. Franchione acknowledged some issues at QB last fall, but stated that to be fair, Tyler Arndt was never fully healthy last season, and he has basically lost the starting job. He still expects him to play at times this season.
Franchione also talked about his kicking game, and while touting the talents of Will Johnson, who will Punt and PK this season, he also talked of the need for consistency. He stated that he believes in Johnson's leg, but if he cannot get more accurate, they could have a problem.
This will be the first season in the history of Texas State football that they will field 85 scholarship players, as is allowed under FBS membership, and he believes that his group of players all think that they belong on this level, and used their loss at Texas Tech last season (when TSU led Tech 10-9 at the half) as an indication.
One major point of conversation was the Thanksgiving weekend I-35 Bowl between Texas State and UT-San Antonio. That game is expected to sell out this season in San Antonio, but there is no agreement after 2012 for the game to continue between two schools who are 40 miles apart. There is no indication that the series will continue, as UTSA wants to play the game every season at the Alamo Dome. They have agreed to hand over the home share of the game every other season, but with the Bobcats having paid $70 million to renovate their stadium, they have no interest in giving up a home contest in their stadium every other season.

The Vandals are one of the two remaining teams left in the WAC after 2012, meaning that they have no conference home at all, and will likely be an independent. Rob Akey was extremely talkative, but may be just a tad bit overly positive about the future of the program, and is not thinking ahead of 2012. He believes that Idaho can survive as an independent for an indefinite period of time.
Overall the Vandals are not in great shape, and have been picked to finish 5th in the conference. There is still an ongoing QB battle, and it may not be solved until late in fall camp.
Idaho has been invited to the Big Sky, but they are holding out for a WAC rebirth in 2014.

Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs are in prime shape to win the WAC, but realistically, if you talk to Sonny Sykes, you would have to believe that they will be much more than that. Dykes and his players are not intimidated by anyone on their schedule, including TexasA&M, which is their opener in Shreveport. We asked Coach Dykes about their schedule, and what the challenges are regarding playing 4 of 6 on the road to start the season. He stated that there really are fewer challenges with that than one would think, as he stated there are fewer distractions on the road on many levels.
Overall, Tech looks like they could make some major waves nationally this season, and it may be their best team ever.

UT-San Antonio
Larry Coker is probably one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is extremely happy to be at UTSA, and enjoys the challenges of starting up a program from scratch. I asked him whether or not he was surprised by the community support of the program in his first season, and he stated that he was not surprised, he was shocked. His big focus is in graduating players first, and winning second.
Coker was really excited about his team's spring practice sessions, and he expects that the Roadrunners will see major improvements in 2012, despite the jump in competition, and he will expect his team to compete to win every single game.
There are 36 sophomores on this football team, and only 6 seniors are on the roster. This is a very young football team, and they are only in year two of competition. Maturity was a major problem on the field last fall, and they feel that they are beyond that now.
Scheduling is improving as UTSA puts together their future slates, and they hav several big teams coming to the Alamo Dome over the next several years.

Paret two of our recap comes tonight. Stay tuned!

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