UTSA coach Steve Henson rallied the Roadrunners for an extended team meeting on Monday afternoon, adding time for movie reviews to capture all of the disappointments of a weekend’s loss at UT-Rio Grande Valley.
After about an hour, when the players were ready to take the field to practice, Henson asked an unusual question: are you Thursday night free?
« They all looked at me weird and I said, » Well, let’s play Oklahoma then, « Henson said. “They were pretty excited. ”
UTSA went to Norman to open the season against Oklahoma last Wednesday, but the matchup was canceled just about six hours before the start due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing in the Sooners program.
Henson said he began speaking to OU staff that evening about rescheduling options, initially targeting December. 14 – a date when UTSA can link a game in the state of Oregon on December. 16 in a street swing.
When Henson checked with OU staff on Monday morning, he learned that the Sooners were planning a matchup on Thursday against an opponent outside of Division I, and Henson volunteered to fill that space with UTSA.
About two hours later, Oklahoma called back to persuade Henson of his offer. Sports training staff confirmed that the game complied with COVID-19 testing protocols, and the competition was officially announced Tuesday morning.
UTSA will meet Oklahoma for the Sooners’ season opener at 7 p.m.. m. Today in Norman to restore the most iconic matchup on the Roadrunners schedule and give them the chance to recover from a disappointing first loss.
« I couldn’t believe it was going so quickly. It brought a smile to my face, ”said Junior Eric Parrish. « Since it is Oklahoma that we are facing after this severe loss, I want to see that. ”
Just a few hours after the start of the season with a 97:71 win against Division II opponents UT-Permian Basin, UTSA was on a bus to Edinburgh on Friday, preparing to take on UTRGV on Saturday afternoon.
Parrish said UTSA allowed UTRGV to control the flow of play and junior striker Adrian Rodriguez said the roadrunners hadn’t bothered enough about the glass.
Against an opponent playing an unusual pressure defense in court without the luxury of days to study or practice against the look, the roadrunners were « fell asleep » on the offensive, Henson said to avoid sales, however losing their usual flow.
With preparations and shows limited due to the pandemic, Henson is still learning about his team and hoping that his performance in the 81-64 defeat turns out to be atypical.
« I can’t have a knee-jerk reaction, » Henson said. « It only confirmed that our habits are not good enough. … Hopefully that wasn’t a sign of the future. I think our boys will answer. ”
The matchup against OU is one of two Power Five games on the UTSA program, and Oklahoma-born Rodriguez and the second center Jacob Germany have the added motivation to return to their home state.
Rodriguez said the news of last week’s postponement hurt and crossed the only matchup this year that would allow his friends and family to watch him play.
Also on short notice, Rodriguez said he expected his supporters to be in Norman tonight. . . . Germany said last week it was also expecting a personal cheer in the crowd with limited capacity.
« I’ll go out there and give it my all, because this is a school I would have liked to have attended, » Germany said before UTSA’s first trip to Norman. “When I was growing up, this was the big school in Oklahoma that everyone wanted to go to. So yeah, there’s a little bit of bad blood, but the guys on the team are my buddies too. So it doesn’t get aggressive. ”
Oklahoma trainer Lon Kruger told the media on Tuesday that nine scholars are expected to be available for the matchup against UTSA.
Henson said the absences include « one of their key characters » but nothing that affects the Roadrunners’ schedule. After UTSA studied for the matchup last week, all they need is a refresher course, Henson said.
UTSA has brought back the highest scoring duo in Keaton Wallace and Jhivvan Jackson, but is also expecting significant contributions from Parrish and Cedrick Alley Jr transfers. . and newcomer Jordan Ivy-Curry.
Henson said Jackson will « most likely » make his first start to the season. Jackson came off the bench against UTRGV and did not play at the UTSA opener due to a violation of the team rules.
« The fact that we have some returnees is great, but we need these other people to make us comfortable, » said Henson. “I have to figure out how to best use these guys and we have to fight, play all the way, ricochet and compete against each other. ”
Greg Luca is the UTSA Beat Reporter and General Assignment Reporter for the San Antonio Express News. In addition to UTSA, its coverage includes the University of Incarnate Word, San Antonio Missions, San Antonio Rampage, and other colleges in the San Antonio area. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2013 and is from Connecticut. From 2014 to 18 he was the sports editor of the McAllen Monitor.
Oklahoma Sooners Men’s Basketball, UTSA Roadrunners Men’s Basketball, Lon Kruger, Basketball, Big 12 Conference, NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision
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