Commanders coach Mike Riley pleased with roster, won’t release depth chart until next week
By Cole Thompson, San Antonio Commanders Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO — Mike Riley has always kept things fair. In life, in his career and in the locker room. While the San Antonio Commanders quarterback battle could be winding down to the end, Riley has yet to make any decisions on who will be the starter moving into the second week of training camp.
“Really at this point we’ve got a group of players who could be in line,” Riley said. “It’s a first year of a new league and a first year team. It’s a beautiful thing to see take place. I want to leave the door open so all of those guys can think of it as an opportunity.”
Dustin Vaughan (West Texas A&M), the team’s first selection in The Alliance’s “Protect or Pick” QB Draft, has seen a majority of first wave reps through the first several days of camp. For Riley, it means nothing.
As the week progresses, all four quarterbacks are given the same opportunities to compete for the starting nod under center.
Riley has spoken highly of Vaughan, crediting his maturity and knowledge of the sport for his quick growth during training camp.
“He’s very quietly competitive,” Riley said. “There’s an edge to him that’s really positive and that’s probably been one of the keys to the success he’s had as a player.”
While the quarterback battle has been considered a tight race, the wide receiver unit could be another area that becomes difficult to choose starters. Under offensive coordinator, Matt Troxel, the Commanders will line up in a three wide receiver set with an offset running back.
Through the first five days of camp, several receivers could claim the team’s top spot including De’Marcus Ayers (Houston), Speedy Noil (Texas A&M), MeKale McKay (Cincinnati), John Diarse (TCU), Malik Earle (Missouri State) and Josh Stewart (UTSA). With each receiver having their own special skill to bring to the table, their role will be determined on what Troxel and Riley believe could bring the most success that week.
“You have to be patient when setting this up,” Riley said. “You have to let it unfold under a long period of time, really as much time as you have to look at these guys.”
While the Commanders are set for another intense week of practice, Riley expects to announce an initial depth chart in the coming week. In no rush, Riley’s ultimate goal is to find not just the top players, but the best players to give San Antonio a chance to win when the San Diego Fleet arrive at the Alamodome on February 9.
“We need to get past the second week of camp,” Riley said. “I think it’ll be easier to start putting the depth chart together then.”
The San Antonio Commanders are in training camp throughout January. The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Saturday, February 9, when the Commanders host the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome. You can get your tickets at: SanAntonioCommanders.com/tickets