It's an exciting time to be a UTEP Miner fan. On the hardwood, The Don has been rocking as the Miners currently sit in first place in Conference USA. UTEP is on the verge of cracking the AP and USA Today Coaches Top 25 Polls (coming in at #28 and # 29 respectively). I feel the need to knock on wood before saying this, but there is no denying that UTEP is on the brink of making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005. At the very least, riding a nine game win streak, the Miners are primed to claim their first Conference USA basketball regular season championship and the #1 seed in the conference tournament.
On the football field, Coach Mike Price just concluded his 6th season in El Paso in what has proven to be an up and down tenure at the Sun Bowl. There is legitimate reason for optimism, as Coach Price just assembled an above average recruiting class highlighted by eight 3-Star recruits (Rivals). As Miner fans know, UTEP never had the personnel to successfully run Osia Lewis' 3-3-5 defensive scheme. Coach Price has consistently fielded an above average offense, but the difference between 4-8 and a bowl game the last few seasons has clearly been failures on the defensive side of the ball. Andre Patterson, formerly the defensive line coach at UNLV, has been hired to replace Lewis and implement a more traditional 4-3 defense. The first thing Patterson did at UTEP was convince Coach Price to sign Columbus Ohio defensive lineman Quinten Jones. Jones, at 6'3 and 310 lbs., is exactly the kind of defensive tackle UTEP will need to successfully implement Patterson's aggressive 4-3 defense. Incoming DT Marcus Bagley, out of Mesquite, can bring some much needed size to a defensive line that will need to adjust away from a three man front. A defense anchored by the formidable pair of Bagley and Jones is hopefully what the Miners need to compete in the always wide open C-USA West.
With March Madness looming, Miner Rush is now here to provide UTEP and Conference USA fans a place to come together and discuss our team. This site is designed to be interactive.I encourage those of you who aren't familiar with SBNation's incredible variety of interactive tools and functions to take a look around. If you see a news article, photo, or just about anything else that you want to share, please feel free to do so with the FanShot option. If there is a topic you have been wanting to discuss take advantage of our FanPost tool that enables you to write your own Miner related sports column for the community to enjoy. Go Miners!