SAN ANTONIO — When Jeff Traylor took the head coaching job at UTSA three months ago, spring football looked a bit differently in his mind.
"Obviously, it's not ideal," Traylor said via a FaceTime interview. "For a first-time head coach, I couldn't imagine there being worse timing. But as long as our kids are healthy and our families are healthy, that's what's most important right now."
With Conference USA canceling all spring practices, the new coaches might see their players for the first time on the field just weeks before UTSA's first game.
"We're going to have to go off of game video, which you just hate to do," the former Arkansas coach said. "You'd like that to be a piece of the tool and then you can go see them in the spring, evaluate them with your own eyes, get them to camp, evaluate them again – get real measurables – but all that's going to be out the window right now."
It is not just hard to get evaluations on current players, but it makes the margin for error in recruiting razor-thin.
"It's not the ones that get away that hurt ya as much as the ones you get who didn't turn out," Traylor said.
He might not have all the answers on the field, but he is learning about his team in another way.
"This is one of those moments in your life – it's a David-and-Goliath moment – where you wake up and you're like, 'What else? How can I get through this?' It's when you find out who you are."
Traylor refuses to make any excuses. It is not the spring he envisioned, but for the university, he is still the same coach they hired for a reason.
"I know I say it a lot, but yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. It's why it's called the present," he said. "We gotta be right where our feet are and we got to go win the day."