UTEP Game Day Thoughts: New Season, New Era

The UTEP Miners debut a new coach, a new scheme, and a new team in their season opener today against rival New Mexico.

This week is the first week of play for the Miners after a week one bye. That extra practice time gave them a slight advantage over tonight's opponent from New Mexico, but now its time to put that prep time to good use.

Last weekend the Lobos fell to 0-1 after a 21-13 loss to San Antonio. UTSA had 117 more yards of total offense than New Mexico. UNM's quarterback Cole Gautsche went for only 4 for 12 passing. He'll be out this week due to concussion like symptoms.

Also, the New Mexico offense struggled in its running game, which ranked No. 5 in the nation in 2012. On the other hand, the Lobos' defense took away a sparse 193 yards from the Roadrunners' offense.

For the Miners who did not play last week, tonight is the debut of a team that underwent an offseason makeover that included a completely new coaching staff and new offensive and defensive schemes.

The offense will star Jameill Showers who appeared in 11 games at Texas A&M last year. In those 11 games, Showers completed 63% of his passes, but actually only attempted 44. This will be his first extended game action since high school. The Miners' strong receiving corps, led by Jordan Leslie, will be at aid for Showers.

On the other side of the ball, the defense, under new coordinator Scott Stoker, will be playing a 4-2-5 scheme, but for the most part is experienced with veteran players. We'll see how they fare against that UNM run game.

For the Miners, the beginning of a new season comes along with the beginning of a new era in UTEP football. It all starts with new head coach Sean Kugler. We have already learned that Coach Kugler is substantially stricter and tougher than coaches the Miners have had in the past, and I think his mentality and tactics come from his history of coaching in the pros. We will see if his "tough love" helps lead the Miners to a winning season.

Tonight's game should have a good crowd turnout, as the Miners go for a win over the New Mexico Lobos. I think the Miners can come out victorious with the help of veteran players and with our hopes based in the potential of Jameill Showers and the new coaching staff.

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