In The Dig: It's back to business in the Dig; If you want all the UTEP & C-USA football news you can stomach; you've come to the right place.
UTEP Miners Football Comes First
O Captain, My Captain
The UTEP Miners have selected their captains. Bret Bloomquist has the story.
Two of the three were easy: Braxton Amy for defense and Donald Buckram for offense. The only question was whether Amy would be the defensive captain or the special teams captain, which of course would play into who the third captain was. Since he was elected for defense, that left a special teams captain opening and it went to junior Donovan Kemp.
The Hometown Hero
Carson Meger's hard work has paid off. Now, he's gone from walk on to newsmaker.
"It’s one of the things I had in mind when I came here and one of the goals I set for myself," Meger said. "It’s a great thing to see how things worked out and get rewarded for the stuff I’ve done. But at the same time, I came here to play football and came with the mindset of wanting to work my way up the depth chart."
Knock on Wood
UTEP has never been this healthy going into opening day; so says Double B.
The official No. 2 on the depth chart is true freshman DeAndre Little but the staff isn't sure yet it wants to pull his redshirt, as he would be a third-teamer starting next week. Aubrey Alexius is more likely to be the new backup linebacker, though starting outside linebacker Isaiah Carter could play there as well.
Who's Wrestling a Bear?
UTEP is having all kinds of promotions for Saturdays home game against UAPB. The first 3,000 fans get an Adidas T-Shirt. Isn't UTEP a Nike School?
"Staycation Weekend" is the theme for the Miners’ 93rd season opener, and as usual there will be plenty of giveaways and in-game promotions for the fans. Purchase a game program for your chance to win a trip to Las Vegas! The lucky winner will be announced during Saturday’s game. Another lucky fan will be chosen to kick a field goal for the opportunity to win a 64" flat screen TV from Pat Goffs. In addition, schedule key tags will be presented to the first 7,500 fans, and Adidas UTEP t-shirts will be given away to the first 3,000 fans.
What an Opening Night
UTEP commit Ishmael Harrison, a wide receiver out of Red Oak, had a blockbuster of a week 1.
Ishmael Harrison only carried the ball three times, but ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
Let's Beat UAPB First
CNNSI has released their first bowl projections. Stewart Mandel thinks UTEP could play Purdue on New Years Day.
Jan. 1 Dallas Classic: Purdue (Big Ten No. 7) vs. UTEP (Big 12 No. 8*)
Mike Price gave us some insight into the UAPB offense.
The head coach is more of a two-back, I-formation guy. So we're just preparing to take on blocks and wrap up and tackle and do basic fundamentals."
More from El Paso, Inc.
The INC posted a nice Q & A with Coach Price.
Q: Who’s the emotional leader on the team? He’s one of them. I think Jason Thomas is one of them. I think Isaiah Carter is one of them. We have a lot of senior leadership that has done a good job in our attitude off the field and the appropriate actions that our players are governed by.
Back in the 713:
In two weeks, when UTEP travels to Houston to take on the Cougars, several Miners will get to play in front of their family and friends. Aubrey Alexius is one of them:
Both Alexius, a sophomore linebacker who graduated from Cy Springs, and McCage, a Klein Collins alum who’s a junior offensive lineman at UTEP, are looking forward to their Space City Homecoming. "It’s our rival game – we have to go there and show up," said Alexius, who recorded 10 tackles and a sack in 10 games as a true freshman last fall.
Make Up Your Mind
UTEP's Derrick Caracter will not wear #58, his draft number, anymore with the LA Lakers. Instead, he's wearing #45. I have no idea why.
Best UTEP Volleyball Content Online
The JCasonvball Blog is rolling with more and more UTEP volleyball content. We can all catch the squad playing on Fox Sports. Here's the info:
I just did my usual scan of the Direct TV search function and found that Fox Sports AZ-channel 686-will broadcast the Miners vs. Aggies Friday night tilt at 12:30 AM (CT) on Saturday. We'll be watching the match online Friday night, then we'll fire up the old DVR for coffee, Kringle and Miners volleyball on Saturday morning!
The Houston Cougars
Focus on D: SBNation Houston's Dustin Rensink is previewing the UH defense. He's identified a pattern.
You could argue that the Houston offense beat itself with four turnovers in the Conference championship loss to East Carolina, but the 413 yards surrendered by the defense sure didn't help. The bottom line is that Houston went undefeated in the eight contests in which it held its opponents to 35 points or fewer - and just 2-4 in the games in which it did not.
Edwards was running full speed for a long pass when his right shin crashed into the cart just beyond the end zone. Edwards suffered a compound fracture and a rod was inserted in his lower right leg during surgery the next day in Huntington
"If we can stop the No. 1 offense, there's no telling what we can do," said UH junior linebacker Marcus McGraw, who was fifth in the nations in tackles last season. "If we continue to play hard, keep working hard and improving, there's no reason we can't have the No. 1 offense and the No. 1 defense."
The SMU Mustangs
No More Pirates in Lubbock: SMU is having trouble preparing for Texas Tech because nobody knows what the Raiders will look like.
"We're going to have to adjust as they come out. But they're going to have to adjust to us too. ... It's really hard to prepare right now. We've got to just guess and hope we're guessing with about 80 percent accuracy what we're going to see."
This is not a dink-and-dump offense, but rather an offense that gets the ball down the field. Padron finished with a quarterback rating of 159.92 and averaged 274.6 yards per game passing. And just to express how good Padron was last year, take a look at SMU's bowl game against Nevada: 32/41 (78.0%) | 460 Yards | 11.2 Yards/Attempt | 0 INT | 2 TD | 188.40 Rating. That's pretty good. Padron can play.
The UCF Knights
Who's The QB? ESPN thinks UCF can be really good but if they can't figure out what's going at QB, watch out for Southern Miss to move in.
Why: What happens with UCF largely hinges on what happens with the quarterback. If Rob Calabrese and Jeff Godfrey are able to manage the offense, the defense will more than make up for any shortcomings. If they falter, Southern Miss could win the East. As for Houston, the Cougars should have a vastly improved defense to go with their high-powered offense and that should lead them to the conference title.
George O'Leary, UCF's coach, doesn't sound too confident in Rob Calabrese either. What a way to give your starting QB some opening day confidence, right?
O’Leary said during the Conference USA football teleconference Monday, "Rob Calabrese is still the quarterback, but Jeff Godfrey has closed the distance some. But both will see the field."
The Rice Owls
Know When to Show 'Em: Speaking of quarterback battles, David Bailiff won't say who's starting for Rice. He think it will help him against Texas. Will it be Nick Fanuzzi, Taylor Cook, or Taylor McHargue?
Rice coach David Bailiff has a plan for his quarterback position. He's just not saying. "We know what we're doing," Bailiff said. "We're just not ready to announce it."