The Miners are down to 1 tight end for the rest of spring, Tony Barbee's assistants find jobs, and news from spring workouts across the C-USA landscape. All, in the Dig.
A Tough Loss: Miner tight end Jonny Moore dislocated his shoulder during UTEP's second spring scrimmage on Saturday. Losing Moore is a huge loss. He's one the the Miners best blockers at any position and is a master at moving up to the next level during running plays, an often unnoticed skill, which is often times the reason why Donald Buckram can get into the secondary seemingly untouched. Moore is a veteran, senior, returning starter and the Rush hopes his rehab goes well. Sophomore TE Craig Wenrick is already out with an injury too, so the load is now almost entirely on veteran Elijah Goldtrap and .......
Making the Move: UTEP's newfound lack of depth at Tight End has sparked Coach Mike Price to move WR Pierce Hunter over to the tight end spot. Hunter, 6'5 and 235 lbs., is a good athlete, but asking a senior to be productive at a new position is probably not realistic (especially on running plays). This is a patchwork move. Expect Pierce to be back with the WR's when Jonny Moore returns in the fall.
-Look for WR Pierce Hunter to make a move to tight end to help supplement that withering crew
The Carson Show: Speaking of the second scrimmage, Miner QB Carson Meger again outperformed Tim Curry. Meger is a gamer, the kind of player that doesn't have the "measurables" to draw your eye, but when he's in the pocket, or rolling out on bootlegs, he's confident, accurate, and poised.
Meger completed 15-of-24 passes for 185 yards, and Curry finished 11-of-23 for 105 yards. The receiving leaders were Russell Carr (4-83), Lavorick Williams (2-45) and Kris Adams (3-42).
Rest Easy: For the second straight week, star RB Donald Buckram didn't participate in a spring scrimmage. Buckram's had some nagging injuries this spring, but the real concern for Miner coaches seems to be saving him for the regular season. Not a bad move in my opinion.
"I feel good," Buckram said. "I’d say I’m at 100 percent but I just don’t want it (the injury) to get tweaked in spring ball." That shouldn’t be a problem as Price and his staff have made it a point to tone down the reps for the senior tailback. "We’re going to make sure he’s crisp and that his timing is down," Price said. "He may not have scrimmages of 200 or 300 yards."
He Knows (Some) Loyalty: Tony Barbee is expected to take Milt Wagner, Tony Madlock, and Randall Dickey along with him to Auburn. Good for them.
Assistant coaches Milt Wagner, Tony Madlock and Randall Dickey are expected to join Barbee's staff, according to people familiar with the hiring process. Mike Babul will also follow Barbee to Auburn as director of basketball operations
A Nice Sendoff: Several Miners had impressive weekends over the weekend at the UTEP Invitational. Blessing Okagbare might have broken the world record in the 100m dash but there was a timing malfunction that may have cost her the incredible honor. Other than that, it was a smooth weekend that served as a nice sendoff to legendary coach Bob Kitchens.
The meet closed out the 2010 UTEP Track and Field Hall of Fame weekend that included the induction of 1986 NCAA discus champion Olav Jenssen into a prestigious group of former Miners. The current UTEP track and field team, however, made sure to close out Kitchens’ last home go-around in style.
Hungry Hippolyte: Memphis may have the nation's #1 recruiting class in the nation in basketball next year. Four of their recruits participated in a local all-star game this weekend.
With just enough room to operate, Antonio Barton spun his way into the lane, scored in traffic and drew a foul. Though the future University of Memphis point guard missed his ensuing free throw in the first half Saturday at FedExForum, forward Hippolyte Tsafack, another future Tiger, had blocked out Virginia-bound James Johnson just enough to get his hands on the ball first for an easy stickback.
Wait, What? Replacing Joe Webb would be hard for anyone. But, maybe the local CBS affiliate shouldn't try to sell 7/19 for 42 yards as a "shining performance" for new QB Bryan Ellis.
QB Bryan Ellis threw the ball better in Saturday’s scrimmage, according to Callaway, though his stats don’t reflect it due to several dropped passes by receivers. Ellis finished with 7-of-19 passing for 38 yards with an interception. He also had 34 rushing yards on seven attempts.
It's a Natural Fabric: Cotton Turner was the star of Houston's first scrimmage. I'm still curious to see how losing Dana Holgorsen will effect the Coug's on Saturday.
Cotton Turner, not Case Keenum, was the star of the first scrimmage for the high octane Houston Cougars. Turner finished with 18-of-25 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns while adding a rushing touchdown. Keenum was no slouch as he added 11-of-16 passes for 129 yards but no touchdowns.
Another New Defense: Houston didn't just loce OC Dana Holgorson. They are also breaking in a new defensive coordinator, Brian Stewart.
New defensive coordinator Brian Stewart's 3-4 scheme generated six sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble. Sophomore defensive end Kelvin King was a disruptive force as a pass-rusher and in coverage, recording five tackles. Senior defensive end Matangi Tonga, a transfer from College of San Mateo, created three sacks worth of havoc.