Since the just-finished NFL season started last fall, Daryl Johnston has been a busy man off the field.
The former Dallas Cowboys fullback put together an initial roster for the San Antonio Commanders, gathered a group of quarterbacks in the protect-or-pick quarterback draft, built a 75-man training camp roster, and finally cut down the roster to 52 players for the regular season.
“A lot of your heavy lifting has already happened,” Johnston said. “Now it’s time to sit back and continue to tweak it if we have to tweak it. Keep your fingers crossed that nobody gets hurt. I’m exicted to see what these guys can accomplish.”
The regular season is now just a few days away. The Commanders open the Alliance of American Football season on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet.
“This is the real deal. This is going to be fun,” Johnston said. “I’m really excited for these guys.
“My biggest concern is can you manage the emotion. Do we have some silly penalties at the beginning of the game because we are a little bit too amped up? We’ll see how the guys do monitoring all those emotion.”
The Commanders have 19 players on their roster who list their hometowns in Texas. Aaron Green from Madison High School is the one San Antonian on the team. Wide receiver Josh Stewart from UTSA played his college home games in the Alamodome. Punter Joseph Zema played at Incarnate Word, where the Commanders held their mini-camp.
The combination of regional talent and young players all trying to make their mark has come together in a relatively short period of time.
“I’ve been impressed with the chemistry,” Johnston said. “And they did it on their own. Maybe the fact that we were in a smaller hotel and we kind of had to be around each other. But these guys have become good friends.”
You don’t say
My favorite conversation in Wednesday’s practice came after a dropped pass:
Player: “Did you see how I tried to catch it?”
Coach: “How did you try to catch it?”
Player: “Like a dumbass.”
Johnston stopped after practice to talk to Tony Green, father of Commanders running back Aaron Green. The elder Green also played high school football in San Antonio and later was a defensive back at Baylor. He spent a brief period of time with the Kansas City Chiefs. Tony Green was later on the coaching staff at Edison High School.
Wednesday’s injury report
SAN DIEGO FLEET
LB Travis Feeney (Elbow) LIMITED
CB Curtis Mikell (Ankle) DNP
WR Nelson Spruce (Calf) LIMITED
C Jeremiah Kolone (Ankle) LIMITED
SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS
RB Trey Williams (Foot) DNP
CB Jordan Thomas (Thigh) DNP
S Derron Smith (Foot) LIMITED