2013 UTEP Spring Football Analysis
2013 UTEP Miners Head Coach: Sean Kugler
Why To Get Excited … the program has parted ways with Mike Price … finally. It took seven losing seasons for UTEP to move in a new direction, dipping into the alumni base to hire former assistant and offensive lineman Sean Kugler. Kugler brings much-needed youth and enthusiasm to El Paso, as well as a reputation for elevating the performance of his players. The Miners need plenty of elevation to become a factor again in Conference USA.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/31 OPEN DATE
9/7 New Mexico
9/14 at New Mexico State
9/28 at Colorado State
10/5 Louisiana Tech
10/19 OPEN DATE
10/26 at Rice
11/2 at Texas A&M
11/9 at North Texas
11/23 at Tulane
11/30 at Middle Tenn
Why To Be Grouchy … Kugler and the new staff inherit a very weak roster, one sorely lacking in star power. The lone Miner to earn more than honorable mention All-C-USA, P Ian Campbell, has graduated, and a new quarterback has to be developed. The perennially soft defense yielded at least 31 points in five of the final six games of 2012, and eight starters from that unit have since exhausted their eligibility.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … somehow ratcheting up the pass rush. If the Miners have a prayer of compensating for a secondary being rebuilt from the ground up, it’ll have to create more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. UTEP typically houses small and fast athletes that Kugler will want to employ on well-timed blitzes. The onus will be on linemen, such as Horace Miller, Germard Reed and James Davidson, to make life just a little easier on the neophyte back seven.
Non-Conference Games: New Mexico, at New Mexico State, at Colorado State, at Texas A&M
Games Against the East: FIU, at Middle Tennessee
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 6-6
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: New Mexico, at New Mexico State, UTSA, at North Texas, FIU, at Middle Tennessee
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Tulsa, at Rice, at Texas A&M, at Tulane
Schedule Analysis: It’s a new era for the Miners and it could start out with a bang getting New Mexico at home and going on the road to face New Mexico State. With the Conference USA opener against UTSA to follow, a 3-0 start is more than likely before going to Colorado State. And then comes the payback with a brutal stretch of Louisiana Tech, Tulsa and road games against Rice, Texas A&M and North Texas. While there’s a week off before facing the Owls, five of the final six games are on the road closing out at Tulane and Middle Tennessee.
Team Concerns For 2013: New head coach Sean Kugler is in charge of trying to crank up a defense that couldn't make enough plays behind the line and an offense that had problems putting points on the board. The O was able to move the ball a bit with a nice passing game, but not enough drives finished well. The D finished last in the league in tackles for loss, but all four starters are back on the defensive front.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... 2014. It's a small class for Sean Kugler to deal with after a few years of loading up on bodies under Mike Price. Quarterback Mark Leftwich is an interesting option, but he'll likely have to wait in line with the 2011 class of passers maturing. JUCO transfer Nick Gathrite will try to produce for the passing game right away as a key receiver, while JUCOer Jameel Erving and freshman Jaylon Scott will bring the most immediate help at corner.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
84. That Class Was Heavy On ... The Miners have loaded up for the passing game over the past few classes, but the defense needs to finally be addressed a bit more with a talent upgrade. Mike Price went after linemen in 2009, and he’s going to do it again with prospects mostly for the defensive interior.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
99. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. And the replacement for Trevor Vittatoe is … ? There’s hope from the JUCO ranks with the lightning fast Antavius Sims and Nick Lamaison looking to step in and start right away, while 6-4 Blaire Sullivan was brought in to develop for the future. The defense got some instant help with Josh Fely a ready-made JUCO middle linebacker and Zoey Williams a shutdown corner who could see time as a true freshman.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 77. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Receivers. The
Miners have needed to work on improving the defense
for the last several seasons and came up with a big
class of defenders last season. The D was hardly
ignored this year, especially on the line, but the
talent is at receiver eight very big, very
interesting prospects signed including Jordan
Leslie, Darius Tubbs, and Devin Patterson. These
three will be the key to the Miner passing game
sooner than later.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 100. That Class Was
Heavy On ... defensive linemen. In an attempt to beef up one of the perennially weakest defenses in the country, the Miners are bringing in a couple of speedy rush ends and a tackle with considerable upside. At 6-5 and 250 pounds, Adam Ayala can snap off a sub-5.00 in the forty. If he can add some muscle without losing a step, he has a chance to be an impact player on this defense.
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