The Dig: The lead story for UTEP vs. SMU is undoubtedly the switch by June Jones to J.J. McDermott at quarterback. Why the quick hook against the #8 team in the nation? Memphis is ranked... well you'll see...... Also, while UTEP had the lowest attendance at a season opener in the Price era Saturday, the UT-San Antonio Road Runners smashed an attendance record in the opposite direction.
The Road Runners doubled us up in Week 1. The question is, will the novelty last?
The UTEP Miners
Everyone Has One: UTEP's offensive line wasn't at full strength against Stony Brook. It looks like Jerel Watkins will be back at guard this week against SMU. Anybody who thinks UTEP's 1.6 yard per carry average would have been drastically improved with Watkins in the lineup is dreaming. Also, note that Paul Santillan broke his thumb and is practicing in a cast.
There were mitigating factors. Guard Jerel Watkins is returning to the lineup and James Robinson should be back soon. Tackle James Nelson, though, is at least three weeks away from returning.
Smart as a Whip: Bret Bloomquist has a nice profile of UTEP DT Germard Reed. Reed could have been UTEP's best defensive end. But, he offered to move inside to tackle to help the team. Good read.
Reed's response: "To me in football, there is not an 'I' in team. I guess there is an 'ME', you can spell 'me' in team. But that's not the point. I want to help everybody however I can." So he moved to tackle.
Time to Plan Your Watch Party: UTEP and SMU will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest. This is fantastic news for the Miners who had only one game televised last season (a Friday game vs. Houston). Last week I was able to see UCLA vs. Houston on Fox Sports Southwest as well. We're starting to see how good a TV deal we got by leaving ESPN. The Fox Sports analyists have a game preview here. They believe defense is the key and SMU will come out with the 1-0 C-USA Record.
"As the C-USA opener for both SMU and UTEP, each team will look to do what they do best. For SMU, it's a June Jones offensive spin on his run-and-shoot offense that has questions at quarterback, but a firm ground game with Zach Line. After week one, UTEP boasts the league's top passing leader in Nick Lamaison, a junior college transfer who put up a 365 yard passing performance in the Miners' Week One victory over Stoney Brook. I really think the defense that can muster a few stops and takeaways will steal the show. Edge to SMU's defense at home for the Mustangs' first C-USA league victory in 2011."
Profiling Obi: The Prospector has a nice profile up of UTEP DE Bernard Obi. Obi had perhaps the most disappointing 2010 season of any UTEP defender. Hopefully, he's due for a big 2011.
Wrapping Up Stone Brook: Below are some video highlights from the Stony Brook game. These highlights were prepared by SBU so they highlight SBU's good plays- they do capture an awesome angle for Travaun Nixons interception which was incredible. Ever seen a RB score from 34 yards out untouched? UTEP's rush defense was terrible.
How Nice of Us: UTEP's performance against SBU has given their team homes of a promising season.
The SMU Mustangs
Benched: Kyle Padron is facing the toughest test of his young career. He was replaced by senior J.J. McDermott and he will not start this week against UTEP. Amazing that June Jones have Padron such a quick hook against the #8 team in the nation. The speed of the hook tells me that maybe Padron hasn't looked too great in practice either.
Padron started the game by throwing two interceptions in his first four passes as SMU fell behind early. McDermott came in for the third series and played the rest of the game. He threw a 27-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter as the Mustangs got as close as 20-14 before A&M went on to a 46-14 win. Jones never did re-insert Padron in the game. "He was playing pretty well," Jones said of McDermott. "I thought I was going to put Kyle [Padron] back in the game, but I wanted him to gather himself, and it looked like it was the right decision."
And Here We Go: The Memphis Tigers are ranked #1......... hundred and twenty! Really, the Tigers are #1 on ESPN's Bottom 10...... Even so, the Tigers are sticking with Taylor Reed at QB.......UAB finally kicks off their season but the Blazers and it won't be easy against Will Muschamp's boys at the Swamp.......Rick Heuheisel says that Case Keenum didn't torch UCLA's defense (310 yards, 30/40 passing), it was his over eager defensive backs who blew it...... Speaking of Dr. Case Keenum, he looked phenomenal against UCLA, especially on scrambles that showed no signs of a recent ACL injury, and the C-USA named him the Player of the Week..........
Something to Watch
The Rush: The NMSU Aggies play a Minnesota team that nearly knocked off USC last week. The good news for UTEP is that NMSU's run defense might actually be worse than ours right now.
For the New Mexico State Aggies - who surrendered 241 yards on the ground last weekend to Ohio - it doesn't seem like the ideal matchup. "We just have to be more consistent in stopping the run," NMSU head coach DeWayne Walker said.
How Many? The UTSA Roadrunners played the first football game in school history last Saturday. The Roadrunners beat up on Northeastern State 31-3. While Miner fans are lamenting the attendance of the Stony Brook game (lowest season opening attendance in Price era), UTSA is at the other end of the spectrum. They're breaking attendance records. I'm going to try and verify this, but I believe that UTSA had more fans in game one than UTEP has ever had at a single home game. I know, in terms of week one, they doubled us up.
UTSA beat Northeastern State 31-3 Saturday afternoon at the Alamodome in the first game in the history of Roadrunners football. From Richard Oliver: Official attendance today at the Alamodome: 56,743. Smashes all-time attendance mark for first-time football program.
We have to keep an eye on the Roadrunners this season to see if the novelty wears off. This is a program that UTEP consistently recruits against in central Texas.