In The Dig: There's a new Donald Buckram watch, great recruiting notes, we catch up with Derrick Caracter, conference realignment is starting to wake up yet again, and of course, all the New Mexico links and notes you need or want.
The UTEP Miners
Kicking it Off at Practice
The Buckram Watch, Part Deux
Miner running back Donald Buckram sat out Tuesdays practice, but Mike Price is more concerned about a perceived lack of effort among the guys that did suit up.
I'm not sure," he said. "It's like last week, a game-time decision. I'm worried abou 21 other players who are going to play. They are way more of a concern for me than Donald Buckram. IF we play the way we practice we're going to get our (butts) kicked.
A 10 Man Rotation
Andre Patterson's defensive front four have shown strength down the stretch. That can be attributed to Patterson's rotation of all of UTEP's defensive linemen. Bernard Obi sees a difference on the other side of the ball:
"That's why we're still fresh; the offensive line has the same guys playing the whole game. They play 70 plays, the most our first two tackles played is 32 plays. We still have energy. ...
More on Jonovan Griffin, UTEP's Newest Football Commitment
Bret Bloomquist thinks he could be a Wildcat QB.
The Dallas Morning News notes that Mike Price has built a nice QB pipeline out of the Dallas area.
That Griffin chose UTEP is not a surprise, considering that Miners coach Mike Price runs an attractive offense and recruits the Dallas area aggressively. This past year, he persuaded former Skyline quarterback Javia Hall to sign on the dotted line.
ESPN has a nice update on Griffin's statistics this season.
Griffin has passed for 921 yards and 10 touchdowns with 2 interceptions this season. He also boasts a completion percentage of 59.82 percent. On the ground, Griffin has gained 593 yards on 75 carries for 7 touchdowns. Griffin becomes UTEP's 10th commit.
More on Lang: Cedric Lang is the fourth member of Tim Floyd's 2011 recruiting class. He talked to his local paper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota about why he chose UTEP.
He's a great guy who's had a lot of success and worked with top athletes," said Lang, who is seen as a power forward by UTEP. "It really wasn't a big deal how far away I went. My family supported me, and I just wanted to do the best thing for my future.
Chasing the Whale: Tim Floyd is tossing UTEP's hat in the recruiting ring for Norvel Pelle, the #2 overall prospect in the 2011 class. Pelle is a 6'8 forward from Compton, California and has listed UTEP as among his favorites, which include the entire Pac 10 and other basketball powerhouses.
The One That Got Away: The Miners missed out on JUCO post prospect Carl Hall. Hall, a 6'8 prospect decided to go to Virginia Commonwealth.
Catching Up With Derrick Caracter
The Zen Master: Check out what Phil Jackson and other Laker stars have to say about Derrick and fellow rookie Devin Ebanks in this video. Very cool that DC might have a chance to be a part of a championship team this season.
A Smashing Success: ESPN has a nice Q & A up with the former Miner.
When it comes to the more important stuff- attitude, work ethic, etc.- Caracter seems to be on a solid path, as well. I'm not a professional scout, but in the times I've managed to watch him play (clips, Vegas Summer League, Tuesday's scrimmage), it's clear the guy has talent. He's a guy who came out of high school as one of the country's hottest prospects, and with his weight down to a manageable level it's easy to see why. Quick feet, soft hands, tangible skills.
A Team In Complete Disarray: On to the Lobos
The Burning Hot Seat
At Coach Locksley's Tuesday press conference, he was again pressed by the media about his job security.
Despite his efforts, Locksley found himself once again the topic of discussion. With mounting pressure fueled by a wineless season, Locksley was asked if he is confidence in his ability to lead the team.
The Questions Have to Be Getting Old
Locksley tried to limit the scope of the media's inquiry, to no avail.
You know what, I'm going to make this clear," Locksley said, clearly peeved. "This press conference will be about UTEP. We'll talk about this upcoming game. We'll talk about the preparation for this game. ... I don't operate out of speculation. I don't worry about things I can't control. I can control getting ready for UTEP.
The Fans Aren't Being Quiet on This
Check out this letter sent to the Daily Lobo. A "Three Step Plan" for a better tomorrow at UNM obviously includes getting rid of the ol' ball coach.
2. Fire head coach Mike Locksley. UNM will still have to pay him, but it will save money on lawsuits, cover-ups and anger management classes, as well as save face with the alumni who are actively embarrassed by Locksley. He can’t coach, but bullies and intimidates all too well.
A Familiar Foe?
The Lobo's defensive coordinator had some nice things to say about Trevor Vittatoe.
Trevor is similar to some of the quarterbacks we've faced this season," Mallory said. "He's so versatile and he can beat you in a number of ways. He's had a good career at UTEP and we have to try and slow him down.
But, There's This
The KC Star has a game capsule up and notes that Trevor Vittatoe wasn't his usual self against Memphis.
Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe did a complete 180 from one game to the next, converting just 16-of-33 passes for 171 yards and an interception while being sacked three times
And, don't forget that Miner reserve QB Tate Smith is getting a chance to battle with his old teammates.
Is Conference Realignment Back?
This Story Won't Die: It looks like the Big East is thinking about disregarding geographic sanity and pursuing TCU. This story has legs, Frogs Legs.
The WAC is Getting Desperate: Karl Bensons league just won't die. Look at the cast of schools the WAC is pursuing now.. it's sad.
As previously speculated in this space, two teams from Texas have interest in joining the depleted WAC. Texas State and UT-San Antonio, along with Denver, Montana, and Seattle, were scheduled to meet with the conference membership committee in Dallas today and present their cases for a bump up to Division I-A:
The MWCUSA? MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson had a nice sit down with the Idaho Statesman. He discusses a potential partnership with the C-USA at length. Looks like this story may call for a full realignment post later.
What do you hope to accomplish from your talks with Conference USA? "Scheduling (arrangements), perhaps. Probably more the BCS than anything. There’s been arguably for 18, 24 months nine Mountain West Conference schools and (Boise State president) Bob Kustra and (athletic director) Gene Bleymaier barking up the BCS tree. There’s 10 of us. Get more people. Get Tulsa and get (Tulane president) Scott Cowen back involved and get East Carolina, whomever. It’s (22 schools) — then if you start thinking in those numbers, well (22) of 120, that’s a pretty good percentage. That’s really my interest in it and I suspect C-USA’s. Just trying to again push the needle, affect change in the college postseason and BCS."
Miner fans in El Paso, make the drive, tickets are starting at $15.00. Can it be any better than seeing UTEP ruin New Mexico's homecoming live?