The moment that many Miner fans have been waiting for may finally be here. The struggles for the UTEP football team stretch far beyond just the play at quarterback, but with the dismal start to the season, many have wondered why the coaches have not made an effort to get a guy like redshirt freshman quarterback Blaire Sullivan some game action.
Today at the weekly media luncheon, UTEP coach Mike Price fielded many questions concerning the issues at quarterback, and for his offense as a whole. Price revealed that starting quarterback Nick Lamaison is dealing with a pulled hamstring and is questionable for Saturday's contest, and that Sullivan may just get some snaps under center.
Here are a couple of quotes from the presser:
"We had a tough game against a good team. In three minutes, the game just went to [heck] in a bread basket. We had a nice drive and drove all the way down to the one-yard line and couldn't get the ball in. And then they stopped us, and we threw the pick on fourth and one. A guy was open and we threw behind him. Then two plays later, they broke one for 81 yards. You could just feel the air go out of the balloon when that happened. We followed it up with Carson [Meger] getting hit as he was throwing. The ball bounced out and they ran it in. At 11 minutes however, we did put a drive together, and Carson and [Josh] Bell miscommunicated on a handoff and dropped the ball right there. That certainly didn't help. Tulsa is a fine offensive team. We held them to 33 points and they're averaging 40. We just haven't put it together on offense. It's horribly frustrating."
"Nick [Lamaison] pulled a hamstring. He had a pretty good charley horse and didn't play in the second half. I thought he came to play and started the game pretty accurately. He made some good throws early. I don't think Carson [Meger] played horribly, but he had two turnovers in key situations and that hurt us. We were so good at ball security in our first four games, and we've been so bad the last two games."
"We'll see how healthy Nick is [this week]. We had practice this morning. It was really a walk through. We ran and lifted and had a walk through on Glory Road Field. Nick was running on the sidelines. So we'll see who fits into the game plan well. We'd like for him to be healthy and be able to run."
"Blaire may play this week. He has had a high ankle sprain for a month and he's ready to go. We practiced him today. There are certain things he can do in our regular offense. I don't think wildcat is the answer for us."
As mentioned, the problems for the Miners go much deeper than just their play at quarterback. But, all things considered, getting Sullivan some action may be a good thing if he is going to be the quarterback of the future. But, we must also realize that making a quarterback change mid-season, and bringing in a freshman to lead your team likely isn't going to mean immediate success for the Miners.
Considering that, its probably not likely that Sullivan will take over the starting duties at quarterback. If Lamaison is unable to give it a go, Sullivan will definitely see plenty of action, but if Nick can go then I think we should assume he'll start and Blaire will only be mixed in on a couple of drives here and there.
Mike Price was also asked whether or not Nick Lamaison was the starting quarterback of this team, and this was his answer:
"I guess he is our starting quarterback right now. I don't know if he's going to start or not. It just depends on his hamstring. He probably wouldn't start today if we had a game. It was great having two days of rest."
While we've all been upset with his play at times, the fact is that Nick Lamaison gives this team the best opportunity to win games. And unless we are completely writing off the rest of the games this season as losses, there is no reason to make a drastic change at this time.
Blaire Sullivan's time as the quarterback of the Miners will come, possibly even this season. But, I don't think its fair to the rest of the team to sell them so short. This week Tulane comes to town, and while they are much improved from even just a few weeks ago (with the return of QB Griffin and RB Darkwa), this will be a chance for the Miners to get one in the win column. Whoever gives the team the best chance to win the game should definitely be the starter under center.