The Dig:  4/19/10

Spring games starting across the C-USA, Tim Floyd makes a hire, and some good coachspeak from Mike Price and Andre Patterson.  All, in the Dig.

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Another HireConquest Chronicles is reporting that Tim Floyd has hired Keith Wilkinson to become UTEP's Director of Basketball Operations.

The Los Angeles Daily News is reporting that former Trojans forward Keith Wilkinson has been hired as the director of basketball operations at Texas El Paso under former USC coach Tim Floyd. Wilkinson, who graduated in 2009, played one season with a Ukranian professional basketball team.

Three Down:  The Miners are preparing for the Spring Game April 24, 2010.  The EPT has a nice recap of where the Miners are injury wise going into the last week of spring.

UTEP is healthier now than it usually is at this point, and Thursday welcomed a return to practice for safety Wiston Jeune, who will practice the rest of the spring with a cast on his forearm after surgery. Royzell Smith also returned to practice this week, as the linebacker corps is now down just Anthony Morrow, out with a toe injury. Jonnie Moore's MRI wasn't conclusive, and a trio of doctors will decide with him if he needs surgery on his shoulder. He'll be back for fall either way, but if he doesn't need surgery he will be able to lift weights and will be stronger by Camp Socorro.

Getting There:  Mike Price knows how to lay it down to the bare bones.

"I think we need to work on getting 44 players," head coach Mike Price said. "Twenty-two on defense and 22 on offense, but I’m pleased as to where we’re at this spring."

Good Coachspeak:  Andre Patterson wants to change the mindset of the UTEP defense.  I can't wait to see his defense go live.

"The one thing that I’m the most pleased with, not only with the players, is that the coaches have bought into this being ‘our defense’." "That was one of my big things when I came here is that it’s not my defense it’s our defense. It’s our defense as a coaching staff and what I hope by the end of spring ball is that these players see it as their defense."

Go Lacy:  Former Miner woman's basketball star Natasha Lacy has signed by the WNBA's Shock. She'll be around a former El Pasoan.

Former Miner Lacy Signs with WNBA's Shock By Beau Bagley - Sports Anchor/Reporter Friday, April 16, 2010 - 9:29pm Former UTEP women’s basketball standout Natasha Lacy has inked a training camp contract with the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA. The camp is slated to run from April 25- May 7, and Lacy will vie for a chance to be mentored by a name very familiar to Miner fans. Nolan Richardson, El Paso native and National Collegiate Hall of Fame member, was named the franchise’s coach and general manager on Oct. 20, 2009.

A Miner Legend Gets Some Packer Love:  Counting down the Green Bay Packer's Best 1st Round Draft Picks of th last 50 years and a former Miner made the list.

Fred Carr – LB – 1968 – Selected fifth overall -6′5″, 238 lbs. Out of the University of Texas – El Paso (UTEP), the 6′ 5″ Fred "Freddy" Carr helped usher in the move to taller linebackers in the NFL. As Vince Lombardi’s final first-round pick for the Packers, Carr was rated the best overall athelete in the 1968 draft. With the Packers, Carr was originally tried at tight end and defensive end before settling in to his final position of OLB, starting every game for the next eight years.

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All You Can Be:  Army might find itself in the Armed Services Bowl should the C-USA not be able to fill its spot.

The bowl is scheduled to feature a team from Conference USA opposing a team from the Mountain West. If either conference has an opening among contractual bowl agreements at the end of the 2010 regular season, Army would then have the opportunity to compete in the bowl.

What's the Kinne?  Tulsa's G.J. Kinne enters 2010 as the unquestioned starter for the Hurricane.  The former Texas Longhorn has shown some good things in camp.

Unlike last season, Kinne will enter the fall as the starting quarterback. On Saturday, he was 11-of-23 for 166 yards passing. Kinne also rushed for 12 yards and a 1-yard touchdown.

Spring Game Down:  UAB just completed their spring game.  Bryan Ellis and David Isabelle both looked good at QB.  It sounds like Isabelle is the favorite to replace Joe Webb.

Things actually rolled along pretty smoothly for the offense as Isabelle and Bryan Ellis directed the Green team to a 42-29 vic­tory over the White before a crowd estimated at 2,500 people.

Tiger's Roar:  Memphis also had their spring game on Saturday.  It sounds like the defense stole the show over Eric Price's offense.

Defensive lineman Frank Trotter was named the defensive Most Valuable Player following the game. He was credited with five tackles, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Trotter also registered two sacks for a loss of 12 yards. Ricky Holloway had a game-high 13 tackles, 10 of which were solo stops. Justin Thompson and Jamon Hughes were both credited with nine stops, while DeRon Furr tallied eight tackles. Furr, Thompson, Lester Lawson, Jimmy Robinson and Charlie Bryant all posted sacks. Furr, Winston Bowens and D.A. Griffin forced fumbles, while Randy Powell also scooped up a fumble recovery.

The QB:  Ryan Williams seems to have established himself as the new Tiger QB.

Two series later, Williams sprinted onto the field with the No. 1 offense and moved it 60 yards in 11 plays, ending the drive with a perfectly placed ball to a leaping Dejarrius Adams in the far right corner of the end zone. The 10-yard touchdown pass, on a fade route, beat the team's best defender, Marcus Ball, who also jumped high in an attempt to knock the ball away.

I'll Be Your Huckleberry:  Doc Holliday is the real name of Marshall's head football coach.  He came over from Urban Meyer's staff at Florida and he has been pleased with Marshall's support.

"The support has been overwhelming," Holliday said, ticking off crowds of 400-plus for a recruit signing day session, more than 500 for a fundraising Valentine's Day dance and the soldout Hall of Fame dinner next week, with 1,200 expected. "It really shocked me, the support not only from the Marshall people, but also West Virginia people."

Baseball Woes:  The C-USA is struggling in baseball this season.  Probably because UTEP doesn't field a team to carry the rest of the league's dead weight.

Conference USA took another hit on Friday night when it dropped to 7 in the Conference RPI rankings. The conference sits behind the SEC, Pac-10, ACC, Big 12, Sun Belt and now the Big West. C-USA easily has been the most disappointing conference this season. The league also doesn’t appear to be able to turn things around, either.

Cribs Memphis Style:  The Memphis Tigers Doneal Mack gave a nice tour of one of the Tiger's team homes. Take a look.

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