Ok people we talked about it in this week's episode of "The Rush" (cough, cough, you should already know), but in next week's episode we will be talking some UTEP and Conference USA football with Greg Tepper from Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine.
Make sure to tune in next week, and make sure to send in your questions if you have any for him about UTEP football, C-USA football, or anything on recruiting. Here's a bit of a teaser for next week's session, a little Q&A with Greg Tepper.
MinerRush: Dave Campbell's Texas Football Magazine has become the "Holy Grail" of all things Texas football. Fill us in on what the process is like when looking into a school like UTEP?
Greg Tepper: Well, luckily, UTEP is one of the easiest schools to work with as far as gathering information. Coach Price has always been good to us and gracious with his time. As far as how we analyze them, it's all about what they're bringing back and who can break out each year. This is a team that's going to need a couple of playmakers to step up to pull them out of what has been a couple-year slump, and we analyze them as a program looking for that transcendent talent.
MR: The Miners bring in a recruiting class that's relatively strong for the program, but from the outside looking in, how strong do you see the class?
GT: I, for one, love the Miners' class. I think coach Price has done an excellent job getting kids that fit his system. You look at a guy like Paul Franklin, who has the toughness that Price likes to have in his backs. You look at a guy like Jerome Daniels, one of the better OLs in last year's very stacked OL class across Texas. You look at a guy like Jake Larson, who has all the tools to be an FBS quarterback. And then I'd look at a guy like Dashone Smith, who can absolutely lay the wood. This is a good, versatile class that I think is flying a bit under the radar.
MR: Considering the other classes in C-USA, where would you rank the Miners' class?
GT: Somewhere in the middle of the pack. I think Houston absolutely cleaned up, and SMU got a very strong class coming in. Southern Miss and Tulsa always bring in good classes, and Memphis has a surprisingly good class. After that, though, I think there's a big mishmash in the middle. The recruiting ranking services didn't like UTEP that much, but I do.
MR: Which players do you see most ready to make the transition to division 1 football, and make an immediate impact for UTEP?
GT: Great question. I think Jerome Daniels will be quick to the offensive line, especially since OL depth is not the Miners' strength. But if you're looking for a guy to make an immediate impact, look out for Brandon Moss. He was a superstar out at El Paso Chapin, and even if he doesn't break out as a wide receiver, he's an outstanding special teams player.
MR: A lot of Conference USA teams will find themselves in somewhat of a rebuilding state, replacing quarterbacks, and/or coaching staffs. Considering this, how do you think the Miners fare in conference?
GT: I can't reveal what the magazine has predicted, but I, for one, am high on the Miners. I think they're one or two big-time playmakers away from being an 8-win team. I'm a big fan of Nick Lamaison, and with four starters back on the offensive line, the O should hum. The defense has to make strides, but I think Horace Miller is a breakout candidate, and Drew Thomas is a very strong corner. The conference is there for the taking, and while they're not conference title caliber, they're capable of surprising some people.
MR: Who will be the 2012 Conference USA champion? East, West, and overall.
GT: Without giving away too much of what's in the magazine, give me either Tulsa or SMU in the West, East Carolina or Southern Miss, and one of those four to win the conference.
MR: In just a few sentences, give me your outlook on the 2012 UTEP football season.
GT: This team is on the way back. This might not be the year they're all the way back, but they're trending upward. A bowl would be a clear sign that things are getting better in El Paso.
MR: Greg, thanks very much for taking some time out to answer a few of our questions. I'm sure that we will have plenty more for you next week when the magazine is released, and I look forward to getting more in depth into UTEP and Conference USA football. Thanks again.
Well folks, next week we will be talking with Greg on "The Rush" Episode 5. Make sure to tune into that, and again, make sure to send in any questions that you may want Greg to answer. Big thanks to the guys from Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine for not only giving us some time to talk football, but also for allowing us to showcase the 2012 magazine cover. The magazine will be released for sale, coincidentally (or not), the same day "The Rush" Episode 5 will be released (June 21st). Make sure to go out and buy it!