UTEP sophomore RB Nathan Jeffery has yet to see the field in full action this week, after straining his groin in last Saturday's home loss to #4 Oklahoma. Jeffery has suited up, and has spent some time stretching and running, but has not seen any full speed action.
The El Paso Times' Brett Bloomquist, who always does a great job covering the Miners, is following Jeffery's Status closely. Bloomquist says that Coach Price is optimistic about Jeffery's chances of playing:
"We're hoping he'll be fine," Price said. "We have until Saturday. He ran around, he got good work, we just didn't want him making major cuts as fast as he can."
Obviously, Jeffery is a huge part of the Miners' offense. In Saturday's game against Oklahoma, he was nearly unstoppable, registering 177 yards on 21 carries. That averaged out to about 8.4 yards a touch. If the RB is unable to go, or is hampered in any way, others like Josh Bell, and Xay Williams will have to pick up the slack.
However, at this point, all signs point to Jeffery starting Saturday's game against Ole Miss. While he is being held out of practice, the simple fact that he is suiting up is promising. Comments from Price and Jeffery also make it seem as though he will be ready come game time.
Also injured in Saturday's game against the Sooners was UTEP's top receiver Mike Edwards. Edwards suffered a concussion in the 4th quarter, and was expected to miss this week's game. However, Bloomquist is also reporting that Edwards has passed mandatory concussion tests, and will be ready to play this week.
The news of both of these players being available for Saturday's game is great news for the Miners' offense. As we all know, Jeffery was the only piece of the offense that was productive in week 1, and Edwards is a much needed weapon for the passing game to get going.
If the Miners are going to compete in Oxford, and have a chance to win, then we need all of our offensive weapons to be in play. Hopefully these guys can get back to 100%, or as close to it as possible by Saturday's kickoff. We'll bring you more on the status of both these players, as we find out about it.