San Antonio Commanders fans got a first real look at their new team under the bright lights on Saturday night at the Alamodome.
The season opener also gave the organization its first taste of being the hometown team.
From booing the visitors when the San Diego Fleet took the field, to getting loud when the Fleet had a third down, to doing the wave early in the second half, 27,857 San Antonio fans proved they were ready for some football.
“We were excited to play and to win,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said. “My first impression I had walking out there is just how proud I am of San Antonio and about the Alliance being here and what our leadership has done.
“It just was a good scene and felt good. I knew this city would stand up and do a good job. It was really fun to play in front of them.”
Part of the plan for the Alliance of American Football is to give teams a regional flavor.
The San Antonio Commanders get plenty of that from their ball carriers. When the Commanders cut their 75-man training camp roster down to 52 for the regular season, the list of holdovers included all four running running backs from the state of Texas still on the roster.
“We like to be balanced. We want to be able to be able to run the ball,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said. “We feel like we have good runners. We have four guys who made the team, which is probably a little unusual. We felt like those were four of our best football players, so that’s the direction we went with them.”
All four of the running backs played high school football in the state: Aaron Green is from San Antonio and played in college at TCU, Kenneth Farrow II is from Hurst and played in college at Houston, David Cobb is from Killeen and played in college at Minnesota and Trey Williams is from Spring and played in college at Texas A&M.
“I think we’re all different in our way,” Green said. “I think we’re all extremely good. At any given moment any of us can take the ball to the house. Everybody in the backfield is pretty much a starter so it’s pretty much up to the coaches to look at our talent and give us roles.”
Green is also working with the punt return and punt coverage units.
“Anywhere they need me I can do it,” Green said. “Special teams is actually something I enjoy doing.”
His NFL game experience is two games seeing special teams action with the Rams in 2016.
San Antonio Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston has lived through player cuts as a college and NFL player.
The former Dallas Cowboys fullback was on the other side of that on Wednesday when Alliance of American Football (AAF) teams announced their 52-man rosters, down from 75 in training camp.
“Today was one of the more challenging days I’ve been a part of,” Johnston said. “We started this journey several months ago. We’ve gone from 85 down into the 60s back up to 75 and now today we had to come down to 52. There were some really hard decisions we had to make. We think we picked a very competitive 52, but time will tell.
“They’re great guys. That was the thing that made it the hardest. We had good players but we had great guys.”
The Commanders kept three quarterbacks – Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams and Logan Woodside. The fourth quarterback in camp, former UTSA starter Dalton Sturm, did not make the 52-man roster. Johnston said the league recommends having three quarterbacks on the roster and AAF rules call for three quarterbacks to be suited up on game day. Vaughan finished training camp as the team’s No. 1 quarterback.
Johnston said some of the toughest roster decisions were at receiver, linebacker and running back. The receiver position was complicated by some players suffering injuries in training camp and a few players joining the team late in camp.
The decision at running back was influenced by how the team performed in practice games on Sunday and Monday.
“We were prepared to go in with three running backs,” Johnston said. “We saw how well we ran the football. We saw our physical the runners were. We decided four would be better. Then Trey Williams came up with a turf toe coming out of the game.
“Aaron Green did a great job on Monday night. I’m really impressed with him not only as a runner, but special teams is something that I don’t know how much of a part of his background that was, and he’s done a really good job of embracing special teams.”
Kenneth Farrow II, David Cobb, Green and Williams are the four running backs on the roster.
Update: I just heard from wide receiver Riley Smith, who is not on the 52-man roster. Smith said he is on the injured list and expects to be activated when he is fully healthy.
San Antonio Commanders running back Aaron Green is in familiar territory.
He grew up in the city and was a star at Madison High School.
He played three collegiate seasons at TCU. As a senior, he rushed for 1,272 yards (seventh best in TCU history) and 11 touchdowns. In his final college game at the Alamodome, the Commanders’ home field, he ran for 101 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries as TCU beat Oregon in the Alamobowl.
Green is currently part of the Commanders’ 75-man training camp roster. The 5-foot-10, 203-pounder is competing for a spot on the 52-man regular-season roster and a starting spot.
The Commanders open the first Alliance of American Football (AAF) season with a home game at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet on Feb. 9.
Former Madison High School and TCU running back Aaron Green goes through drills at San Antonio Commanders mini-camp in December at the University of the 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.
The San Antonio Commanders got a windy, chilly morning on Friday for the second day of workouts at mini-camp at the University of the Incarnate Word. That didn’t lighten the workload. Here Commanders running backs Aaron Green, Daryl Richardson, David Cobb, Josh McPherson, Kenneth Farrow II, Khiry Robinson and Max Mickey go through drills.
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.
San Antonio Commanders running back Aaron Green, a San Antonio native and former TCU player, talks to members of the local media on Wednesday at the team’s mini-camp.
“I was born and raised here. It’s been a long time coming. So it’s an awesome experience. It’s very exciting. Growing up I’ve been to millions of games in the Alamodome. Playing there has always been a dream of mine.” – Aaron Green