Commanders announce ESPN San Antonio will be radio partner

San Antonio Commanders helmet from image released by the AAF @theAAF on Twitter.The San Antonio Commanders announced Monday that ESPN San Antonio will be the team’s radio broadcast partner.

Below is the official release from the team:

The Alliance of American Football’s San Antonio Commanders have announced ESPN San Antonio 1250 AM/94.5 FM KZDC as their official radio partner. The agreement allows every Commanders game to be heard over the airwaves in San Antonio and at ESPNSA.com.

ESPN San Antonio’s The Blitz co-host Jason Minnix will serve as the play-by-play voice of the Commanders.

All 10 San Antonio Commanders regular season games and potential postseason games will air on ESPNSA 1250 AM / 94.5 FM. Each home game will be preceded by a two-hour pregame show broadcast live from the Alamodome’s H-E-B Plaza, while road contests will have a 30-minute pregame show. Both home and road games will be followed by a half-hour postgame show, featuring head coach Mike Riley and Commanders’ players.

ESPN San Antonio is proud to join with the Commanders and The Alliance of American Football in it’s inaugural season. As the official radio partner, ESPN San Antonio is eager to play a vital role in the partnership between the Commanders’ players, fans and sponsors.

In addition to game broadcasts, pregame and postgame shows, the partnership includes a weekly show featuring Commanders’ head coach Mike Riley.

“This is a great partnership with ESPNSA 1250 AM / 94.5 FM as it allows our fans to connect to our games no matter where they are,” said San Antonio Team President Vic Gregovits. “Securing a dedicated home for the Commanders on the airwaves was a key point for us and this partnership delivers on that goal.”

“We believe The Alliance’s leadership and focus on exceptional football combined with its commitment to a personal and interactive relationship with it’s fans aligns perfectly with our mission to provide exceptional local quality content. This is going to be fun,” said ESPN San Antonio Program Director Rob Thompson.

Commanders quarterback Marquise Williams at training camp: photo gallery

Former North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams at San Antonio Commanders training camp. - photo by Joe Alexander
Former North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams at San Antonio Commanders training camp. – photo by Joe Alexander
Two days into San Antonio Commanders training camp, quarterback Marquise Williams feels at home in the team’s offense.

“I love the scheme. It’s similar to the scheme that I ran in college and also at the Green Bay Packers,” Williams said Sunday. “It’s a great scheme and I love it. A lot of RPOs and gives me a ton of time to throw it down the field. I like this offense. It’s working pretty well for us.”

Williams, who played in college at North Carolina, was picked by the Commanders in the second round of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) protect or pick quarterback draft. He is part of a four-way competition at the quarterback position in training camp with Dustin Vaughan, Logan Woodside and Dalton Sturm.

“I thought they made a ton of good plays,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said of the quarterback play on Sunday. “When we got in that first skeleton period I thought they made a lot of great throws. I like the quarterback situation here a lot. These guys are very very professional for younger ages but you can tell they’ve learned a lot and they’re very easy to work with.”

Coaches everywhere

In addition to the eight AAF teams holding their training camps in San Antonio, the city is flooded with coaches. The American Football Coaches Association is holding its annual convention here.

Riley Smith update

Commanders receiver Riley Smith, who suffered a leg injury in practice on Saturday, confirmed on Twitter that he pulled his hamstring. Smith, who played in college at West Texas A&M, said Sunday he expects to stay with the Commanders while he rehabs.

Commanders add defensive lineman

The Commanders announced they added defensive lineman Richard Ash, who played three collegiate seasons at Michigan and his final season at Western Michigan. He spent two seasons in the NFL – 2015 with the Jacksonville Jaguars and 2016 with the Dallas Cowboys.

More good weather

The Commanders’ second day of training camp workouts was under mostly cloudy skies with a little sunshine. Practice finished with a temperature of 72 degrees.

Commanders quarterback Dalton Sturm at training camp: photo gallery

Commanders quarterback Dalton Sturm gets ready to cut loose a long pass to Josh Stewart on the final play of practice on Saturday. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterback Dalton Sturm gets ready to cut loose a long pass to Josh Stewart on the final play of practice on Saturday. – photo by Joe Alexander
Former UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm went through the first practice of San Antonio Commanders training camp on Saturday, taking part in the same drills as the other three quarterbacks on the roster.

That was important for Sturm, who didn’t throw during team mini-camp in December while he recovered by an elbow injury.

Sturm was part of a big connection on the final play of practice. Sturm completed a long sideline pass to wide receiver and former UTSA teammate Josh Stewart.

“There’s no doubt it’s a good sign,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said. “It’s probably a comfort level for those guys to have somebody they’ve known for quite a while on the team so, one of the beautiful things to is as we’ve formed the team, these guys have are going to be getting closer and developing that relationship you need on a football team.”

The other quarterbacks in camp are Dustin Vaughan from West Texas A&M, Marquise Williams from North Carolina and Logan Woodside from Toledo. The four quarterbacks are competing to be the starter and probably for two or three roster spots.

“The best think about football is that it is a competition. No matter how you see it, it’s a competition with you vs. another quarterback or another receiver or whatever,” Vaughan said. “It’s also a competition when you build this team that you’re playing against somebody else, another team. We’re playing against San Diego on Feb. 9. We’re preparing for that.

“So in the midst of this there is always this competition but also too, we’re working toward a goal as a team. We’re looking forward to that.”

Commanders open training camp workouts; drop Marlon Smith; Riley Smith injured

Commanders quarterback Dustin Vaughan unleashes a pass Saturday during the team's first training camp workout. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterback Dustin Vaughan unleashes a pass Saturday during the team’s first training camp workout. – photo by Joe Alexander

San Antonio Commanders training camp: Saturday, Jan. 5, 2018

Marlon Smith was not listed on the San Antonio Commanders’ updated training camp roster, which was handed out by the team at Saturday’s practice.

Smith had been listed as a linebacker and No. 45. The former UTSA player was with the Commanders during mini-camp in December, but did not take part in drills at that time.

Sunny skies

The players hit the field on Saturday under bright sunshine and about 63 degrees. By the time they were packing up at the end of practice, the temperature was up to 73.

“We had a lot of fun today,” Commanders quarterback Dustin Vaughan said. “It was good. We’ve been waiting for this day to get started. First day of training camp. There’s been a lot of process that has got us to this point. Finally we start with a roster of 75. We’re able to kind of start building as a team leading to the regular season.

“It was fun. We’ve got a lot of work to do. One of the last things coach (Mike) Riley talked about is from here we just keep building. That’s what we’re going to keep doing.”

First injury

The one negative from the first practice of training camp was an injury to Riley Smith, a wide receiver from West Texas A&M. Smith, who had been with the Commanders during mini-camp in December, had to be helped from the field. It looked like he had ice on the back of his left leg when he was on the sidelines.

“It’s hard to see anybody go down. It’s definitely hard to see Riley go down,” said Vaughan, who also played at West Texas A&M. “I know how much work he’s put into it.

“I also know he has been here really since the beginning. He has developed relationships with guys on this team that I know this whole team really hurts for him. I really hope that the process of recovery starts really soon and he can make a full recovery.”

No contact

Words that were repeated over and over on Saturday were “no contact”. Players are going through the early training camp practices with helmets and jerseys but no pads. Hitting is not yet part of practice.

“This is what I remember about the San Antonio Riders,” said Commanders coach Mike Riley, who coached the San Antonio Riders of the World League in the early 1990s. “These guys are really fired up to continue their playing career. They’re good players and they want to make the team.

“We’re regulated by what they can wear right now and it’s smart to start them out without full gear. It’s easy to get them back into it this way. You just have to be careful and keep reminding them that they don’t have gear on. We have to be very smart when we practice against each other and you have to be a pro. You’ve got to learn how to practice in shorts so you can get some repetition without all the big hitting all the time.”

Riley stopped practice more than once to remind the players over and over not to be hitting. That goes against the instincts of the players in the defensive secondary.

“One of the hardest things when you practice like this is for the defensive backs,” Riley said. “It’s on them to avoid the collision.”

Last play, big play

The final play of practice featured a connection between two players who were teammates at UTSA. Quarterback Dalton Sturm completed a long pass to wide receiver Josh Stewart on the sideline. Stewart had shown good hands during mini-camp and his grab at the end of Saturday’s practice was an attention-getter.

Quarterback Dalton Sturm (1) and receiver Josh Stewart (far right) celebrate a long pass completion on the final play of practice. - photo by Joe Alexander
Quarterback Dalton Sturm (1) and receiver Josh Stewart (far right) celebrate a long pass completion on the final play of practice.

Troy Polamalu

Coincidentally, in a workout that made “no contact” a priority, one of the NFL’s legendary hitters was watching from the sidelines. Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, a four-time All-Pro, is the head of player relations for the Alliance of American Football (AAF).

Worth reading is this story where Polamalu talks about his concussions and head injuries in a 2012 ESPN story:

The official game ball of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). - photo by Joe Alexander
The official game ball of the Alliance of American Football (AAF).

Former UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm ready to throw at Commanders training camp

Commanders quarterback Dalton Sturm said he is ready to throw the ball at training camp after have his work limited at mini-camp in December. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterback Dalton Sturm said he is ready to throw the ball at training camp after have his work limited at mini-camp in December. – photo by Joe Alexander

For the better part of a year, former UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm had to deal with an injury to the elbow in his throwing arm.

That slowed him down when he went to training camp with the Dallas Cowboys. It still lingered when he had a chance to work out for other NFL teams. It eventually kept him out of throwing drills at San Antonio Commanders mini-camp in December.

But after having a procedure on his elbow, Sturm has declared himself ready to throw for the Commanders’ first training camp workout tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 5).

“I feel good. I’m ready to go tomorrow,” Sturm said. “My recovery time was good. My arm feels good so I’ll be able to throw it around tomorrow and hopefully make some good plays.”

Sturm started all 24 games UTSA played his final two seasons – including a bowl appearance his junior year in 2016. As a senior he completed 185-of-297 passes for 2,185 yards and 15 touchdowns in 11 games in 2017.

It was after his senior season was over that he hurt his elbow while getting ready for a shot at a pro career.

“It was actually just a freak accident. I was training for pro day,” Sturm said. “I’ve been dealing with it for … close to 10 months, almost a year. Before pro day, I went down to Florida. I was doing some work out there. I felt something in my arm when I was throwing some weighted balls working on a quick release and stuff like that.

“I’ve just dealt with it. I finally got the opportunity to get it fixed. The recovery time, I thought that went good. Now I’m ready to throw.”

The injury wasn’t healed when he joined the Cowboys for training camp last summer. He didn’t get in any of the team’s preseason games before being released.

Sturm still considers his time with the Cowboys well spent.

“There is an enormous amount you are able to pick up just from all the guys you are around,” Sturm said. “Just study habits, just work ethic, just a bunch of different stuff like that. Things that you never would have thought about.

“Being able to pick up some of that stuff from Dak (Prescott), from Cooper (Rush) and from all the guys, being out there is a great opportunity. I learned a lot.”

Joining the fledgling Alliance of American Football (AAF) and playing in the spring allowed Sturm to get his elbow right. His contacts in the NFL also encouraged him to give the new league a chance. He hopes it will also lead to him getting more playing experience.

“Whenever I was released (by the Cowboys) I had a couple of opportunities to work out with other teams. But then when I found out about this opportunity, my agent thought it was a great idea,” Sturm said. “I actually got pushed along by coaches from the Panthers as well. They thought it was a really good idea for me to go out there and get film.

“I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for me and for all these guys. For all of us to help make this league grow and to benefit us by getting some film and being able to play football.”

The Commanders have four quarterbacks in training camp: Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams, Logan Woodside and Sturm. All four were at mini-camp in December and all but Sturm got work in throwing the ball at mini-camp.

“I feel like I got everything out of mini-camp, just as much as everyone else did,” Sturm said “The only thing would be timing with receivers. But I feel like we’ve got a month to do that. I didn’t lose an edge. I was able to learn the playbook. I was able to get started on being able to do that.

“That’s the main thing. With this new league, none of us have played together. Being able to get that chemistry and getting everyone on the same page is going to be big. We weren’t able to do team reps during mini-camp, not a whole lot of them, not full speed. This month right here is going to be really important.”

The Commanders will have to cut their 75-main training camp roster down to 52 by Sunday, Feb. 3. That means the four quarterbacks are competing not only to start, but probably for two or three roster spots.

“I think it will be good,” Sturm said. “A couple of us knew each other prior. Just being able to go in there and learn from each other, being able to compete on and off the field, being able to help each other grow is going to be good.

“At the end of the day, everybody wants the starting job. It’s going to be whoever wants it and whoever grasps the offense and takes this team to wins.”

Commanders add players to training camp roster, make cuts

Commanders players reported to training camp on Friday. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders players reported to training camp on Friday.
The San Antonio Commanders announced today that they added players to their 75-main training camp roster. The team also announced three players were released. Players reported today and practice starts tomorrow.

The following is from the Commanders official news release:

The Commanders have announced the signings of linebacker Arthur Brown, defensive back Kurtis Drummond, wide receiver John Diarse, offensive lineman Avery Gennesy, offensive lineman Donald Hawkins and running back Trey Williams.

Arthur Brown

Born in Wichita, Kan., Brown became a member of the Kansas State football program (2011-12) after electing to transfer from the University of Miami (2008-10). A two-year starter at linebacker for the Wildcats’ defense, Brown collected 218 tackles, 17 tackles for losses, three sacks and three interceptions. Drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Brown played five seasons in the league with the Baltimore Ravens (2013-15), Jacksonville Jaguars (2016), New York Jets (2016) and Seattle Seahawks (2017).

John Diarse

A native of Monroe, La., Diarse played wide receiver at LSU (2013-15) before transferring to TCU as a graduate student (2016-17). A two-year starter for Gary Patterson’s offense, Diarse became a feature piece of the offense. Finishing his collegiate career with 96 receptions, 1,429 yards and nine touchdowns, Diarse signed an undrafted rookie contract with the Denver last offseason. He was waived during the team’s final roster cuts after finishing the preseason with four catches for 68 yards.

Kurtis Drummond

From Youngstown, Ohio, Drummond was a three-star recruit before signing to play for Michigan State (2011-14). A three-year starter for the Spartans, Drummond was a two-time first team All-Big Ten reciprent and named a first team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America in 2014. Collecting 233 tackles, 14 tackles for losses, 12 interceptions and one sack, Drummond would sign an undrafted free agent contract with the Houston Texans following the 2015 NFL Draft. Drummond played two seasons with the Texans (2015-17) where he collected 13 total tackles and one forced fumble.

Avery Gennesy

A Southhaven, Miss. product, Gennesy started as an offensive tackle for Texas A&M (2014-17) under Kevin Sumlin. Transfering from East Mississippi Community College (2012-13), Gennesy helped the Aggies offense average 190.4 rushing yards per game and 361.6 passing yards per game during his two seasons as the team’s left tackle. Undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, Gennesy was a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-18), Cleveland Browns (2018) and Denver Broncos (2018) practice squads.

Donald Hawkins

Born in Tunica, Miss., Hawkins has spent some time in the Texas area. An offensive tackle for Texas (2012-13), Hawkins started in 24 of his 25 career games under Mack Brown’s offense. Following going undrafted in 2014, Hawkins has played offensive tackles for multiple NFL teams including the Philadelphia Eagles (2014), Cleveland Browns (2014), Dallas Cowboys (2014), Miami Dolphins (2015), San Francisco 49ers (2015), Carolina Panthers (2016), New York Jets (2016) and Kansas City Chiefs. The 26-year-old played in eight NFL games over the course of four seasons.

Trey Williams

A native Spring, Texas, Williams was a state champion running back for the Dekaney Wildcats before electing to play for Texas A&M (2012-15). Over the course of three seasons, the rotational back, Williams rushed for 1,343 yards on 204 carries with 18 touchdowns, while averaging a career 8.7 yards per carry. Williams also worked as the Aggies’ return man where he collected 1684 yards on 70 returns in three years. Since leaving College Station, Williams has been a member for several NFL programs, including the Washington Redskins (2015), Dallas Cowboys (2015, 2017), New England Patriots (2015), Miami Dolphins (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015-16) and Pittsburgh Steelers. Williams also has played in the Canadian Football League as a member of the Toronto Argonauts (2017).

In other moves, the Commanders waived the rights to Tyler Palka (WR), Juwaan Rogers (RB) and Bryan Braman (DL).

Commanders assistant coaches at work: Part 2

San Antonio Commanders assistant coaches working with the players at mini-camp on Dec. 13, 2018, at Incarnate Word’s Benson Stadium.San Antonio Commanders assistant coaches working with the players at mini-camp on Dec. 13, 2018, at Incarnate Word’s Benson Stadium.

The Commanders’ coaching staff includes:
Mike Riley: Head coach
Matt Troxel: Offensive coordinator
Lyle Moevao: Running backs
Jonathan Himebauch: Run game coordinator, offensive line
Josh Oglesby: Tight ends
Keith Williams: Wide receivers

Jim Grobe: Defensive coordinator, inside linebackers
Jeff McInerney: Defensive line, special teams
Bill Bradley: Defensive backs
James Rodgers: Outside linebackers
Kenny Watson: Assistant defensive backs

The Commanders open the inaugural Alliance of American Football (AAF) season on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at home at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet.

Commanders assistant coaches at work: Part 1

San Antonio Commanders assistant coaches working with the players at mini-camp on Dec. 13, 2018, at Incarnate Word's Benson Stadium. - photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Commanders assistant coaches working with the players at mini-camp on Dec. 13, 2018, at Incarnate Word’s Benson Stadium.

The Commanders’ coaching staff includes:
Mike Riley: Head coach
Matt Troxel: Offensive coordinator
Lyle Moevao: Running backs
Jonathan Heimebach: Run game coordinator, offensive line
Josh Oglesby: Tight ends
Keith Williams: Wide receivers

Jim Grobe: Defensive coordinator, inside linebackers
Jeff McInerney: Defensive line, special teams
Bill Bradley: Defensive backs
James Rodgers: Outside linebackers
Kenny Watson: Assistant defensive backs

The Commanders open the inaugural Alliance of American Football (AAF) season on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at home at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet.

Photo gallery: Coach Mike Riley at Commanders mini-camp

San Antonio Commanders coach Mike Riley supervises mini-camp practices, Dec. 13-14, 2018, at Incarnate Word's Benson Stadium. - photo by Joe AlexanderSan Antonio Commanders coach Mike Riley supervises mini-camp practices, Dec. 13-14, 2018, at Incarnate Word’s Benson Stadium.

The Commanders open the inaugural Alliance of American Football (AAF) season on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at home at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet.

Kickers working on field goals at Commanders mini-camp

Kickers worked on their field-goal skills at San Antonio Commanders mini-camp in December at Incarnate Word's Benson Stadium. - photo by Joe AlexanderAlliance of American Football (AAF) games won’t have kickoffs or extra-point kicks. But they will have field goals. Kickers Jarod Haynes and Sergio Castillo worked on their skills at San Antonio Commanders mini-camp in December at Incarnate Word’s Benson Stadium.

The Commanders open the inaugural Alliance of American Football (AAF) season on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at home at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet.