Through the first four games of the Sean Kugler era, the majority of the talk has been about the defense, or lack thereof, and how terrible its been. There is no denying it its been ugly, as UTEP has given up eight yards per play, and is 115th overall in FBS giving up 38.5 points a game.
Statistically, and on paper, this week's match up with LA Tech should be a banner day for the defense. Huge key for this defense is in the sack department. In 88 QB drop backs by the Miner opponents, only two sacks have been recorded and seven total QB hurries.
After a lot of film watch and study of the 4-2-5 I believe I found the huge factor that made Scott Stoker a success at the FCS level and even some current 4-2-5's.
Its quite simple, no rocket science is involved: You must bring pressure and get to the QB on 1st and 2nd downs which includes stopping the run with that pressure.
With being able to execute that you force 3rd and long and bringing six sometimes seven DB's on the field that allow you to bring both linebackers as extra rushers which makes using unique stunts/twists up front to open up those backers.
Dropping back those DB's to create creative zones and man-to-man looks are suppose to create confusion and turnovers making the QB uncomfortable and susceptible to mistakes.
The Miners have done the opposite, as they have given up 17 first downs on first down. Also on first down, they have let up the longest play of 81 yards from scrimmage. With an additional 17 plays that have gone for 15+ yards on that down so far this season. While creating only 6 total turnovers, and having only one guy being credited with both interceptions.
Kugler said he expects both LaQuintus Dowell and Nathan Jeffery back this week, which will take the load off Aaron Jones who has done a nice job until that fumble vs Colorado State.
The addition of those two will make the Miner running game more diverse. Kugler has noted Jeffery runs certain called plays that no one on the team can and the Miners need all the creativity and different angles they can get on offense.
Jameill Showers and Jordan Leslie finally got it going, or they were finally let loose which ever one you want to read into. They both are talented and would start on any other D-1 school so getting them going early and often should be key.
Ian Hamilton also has shown he can be a factor. The Miners do need to open up the pass and get both involved along with tight end Eric Tomlinson when the run game is shut down and like Kugler said before about Showers let him "hang out there".
LA Tech has already given up 1000 yards on the ground through their first five games, so once again the Miners will establish the run, which I believe will get back on track, and should get at least a buck-fifty on a terrible defense that has given up 230+ yards three times this season.
Time to see if the Miners can put it all together and make something positive out of this season. Let's hear your thoughts Miner Nation.