The Dig: 11 Days Till UTEP Miner Football Kicks Off Edition

In The Dig:  Great news for Carson Meger; UTEP works to get the kinks out on special teams & may be in the market for a JC quarterback....  Game Week is Fast Approaching, Fellas.

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The UTEP Miners

Earned His Stripes

Carson Meger has officially gone from walk-on to scholarship quarterback.  Bret Bloomquist has the story.

Feel good stories don't come much better than Carson Meger. This time a year ago, the true freshman was the sixth and last quarterback on the roster, a Class 5A  all-state player at powerhouse Plano who was too short to get a scholarship offer to a Division I-A school despite all his accomplishments.

MinerMike's Influence?

The El Paso Times held a live chat with coach Mike Price on Monday afternoon.  After UTEP's Saturday scrimmage where UTEP's punt/kickoff coverage was less than stellar (or atrocious since three kicks were returned for touchdowns)  Mike asked Price about it.  

5:56
[Comment From MinerMike] 
Coach, I just joined so I'm not sure if you already answered this, but with some many returns for scores on Special Teams in the return game (which is a great sign), does this send up a flag that our coverage on Special Teams is a concern?
5:58
Mike Price: 
Yes, it's a concern, and we're working on it. We're going to practice it live this week. We have a great kickoff guy and a great punter. If they can put it high enough and hang it long enough, we should be able to find 10 players that can run underneath it and tackle the opponent with the ball. I am very concerned about it, and we're going to invest a lot of time in correcting it.

 

Well, at UTEP's latest practice, punt coverage was a primary concern- watch the video below to see Antwon Blakes thoughts on it.  This practice video also features interviews with Jeremy Springer and Will Osolinsky.


 

Support Your Local Student Newspaper

The Prospector's Alex Morales has some observations.  He talked to Andre Patterson and Robert Soleyjacks among others.

 In the first week back from Camp Socorro, the UTEP defense has outplayed the offense every single day. The defense has a little swagger about them ranging from barking on the sideline to cheering their teammates on while the offensive side of the team is quiet in comparison.

A JC QB?

The loss of quarterback Tim Curry, who decided to transfer last week, leaves UTEP shorthanded at the QB spot.  This year, with seniors Trevor Vittatoe and James Thomas III, the Miners should be okay (Knock on wood), but the real concern is next year when only walk-ons Carson Meger and Tate Smith and frosh Javia Hall will be back.  Bret Bloomquist notes that the Miners may sign two quarterbacks now.  Co-Offensive Coordinator Aaron Price told Double B that the Miners may need to bring in a Junior College signal caller. 

UTEP is in a bit of a precarious situation, quarterback-wise, because the last three scholarship recruits are either gone (Tim Curry and Andy McCloud) or at a new position (Jeremy Springer). That leaves three non-seniors at the position -- the transfer Smith, true freshman Javia Hall and redshirt freshman walk-on Carson Meger. That's a combined seven completions (all from Smith) that UTEP will have at the position next season. "We might even take two (quarterbacks) in the next class," co-offensive coordinator Aaron Price said. "We could take a junior collegef guy

Local Kid Done Good

El Dorado High School's MJ McFarland is going to be a senior this season.  He is also the state's #1 tight end prospect.  McFarland has elected to play for the Texas Longhorns, sadly, but I think most El Pasoan's will wish the local kid the best.  Had he come to UTEP, he would have been the star of the class.  At Texas, UT turned right around and tried to sign the #1 TE in the nation, Austin Seferian-Jenkins too.  Jenkins chose to go to Washington over Texas, and recruiting expert Jeff Howe asked McFarland for his thoughts.  

"I was honestly fine with it either way," McFarland said. "If he would have come, it wouldn’t have stopped me from wanting to go there. If he would have committed I would have been cool with it, but he didn’t and that’s fine with me, too."

Seize the 'Flippin Day

Duke Keith thinks it's time for C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky to push for the "MWCUSA."  

Enough bouncing around trying to out-hustle the other downtrodden non-BCS football conferences, especially since many consider superconferences to be college sports' destiny, anyway. Why not grab the bull by the horns, be the first, set the tone and carpethe flippin' diem.

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The Central Florida Knights:  Rob Calabrese is trying to win the quarterback competition but the fans really, really want Jeff Godfrey.  

The SMU Mustangs:  Kyle Padron had a breakout season at QB, but he lost two of his best weapons.  The Dallas Morning News has a preview of the Mustangs.

He'll be without major weapons in receiver Emmanuel Sanders and 1,000-yard running back Shawnbrey McNeal. A receiving corps that could star speedy Aldrick Robinson and inside receivers Cole Beasley and Darius Johnson will have to deliver.

The Houston Cougars:  ESPN has a list of likely non-BCS squads that could crack the BCS line-up.  Houston checks in at #2.

2. Houston. The nonconference schedule is just as difficult, but the Cougars managed just fine in nonconference games last season.

The Memphis Tigers:  Ex-Tiger Roburt Sallie might not make it at Louisville- rumors are spreading that he might not be eligible.

The New Mexico St. Aggies:  The Kansas City Star has a nice preview of the NMSU Aggies up.  

"I think our quarterback, he just has to manage our offense," notes coach Walker. "I know that was something that hurt us last year; too many interceptions, interceptions for touchdowns, not converting on third down, not scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Your quarterback needs to be able to do those things for you."

 

BYUINDEPENDENCEPALOOZA

Just a few quick links today...

First, Air Force will only play 8 conference football games.  Now that they have 10 or 11 teams, it's not looking like a round-robin is possible.  Also, they need one more to get to 2, six team divisions.  

"From Air Force’s perspective, we don’t want any more than eight (conference) games, plus Army and Navy," Gould said. "We need to retain the ability to have two discretionary games. Regardless of where the conference goes in size, I will continue to stand on that ground."

Second, the MWC has released their basketball schedule.  If you want to know why BYU is mad, maybe it's because the MWC Tournament Championship is on Versus.

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