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Monday Lunch With Kugler

Another game week on the horizon, talk turns to UTSA and the rest of the conference slate.

Tom Gonzales-MinerRush.com

UTEP will prepare for a huge C-USA test with a beaten up UTSA squad this Saturday in San Antone. 

Coach Kugler held his always interesting and imformative weekly pow-wow with the media, here are the high points.

***Kugler opens up by reviewing the ODU game, was pleased with the fast start, and two early touchdowns.

***Zero turnovers against the Monarchs lead to a plus-3 on the turnover margin on the season, also says zero sacks allowed against ODU were due to the line, backs and tight ends playing well together.

***Pleased by the running numbers as they used a different spread approach in the run game leading to a 6.5 per carry average against ODU.

***Said the move to receiver for Autrey Golden paid off with his production.

***Kugler said the key of the moves made on offense were to get the ball in different hands, in different situations, and says Josh Bell was the biggest beneficiary of that move.

***Autrey Golden and Josh Bell will be captains of the week for the UTSA game.

***Kugler also said they had their most explosive plays of the season against ODU with 18 plays that went for 10 yards or plus, also very pleased with Golden, Bell, and Aaron Jones going over 100 yards of all-purpose action.

***Goal was to control the clock against ODU in keeping the ball away from Taylor Heinicke, felt they did a great job executing that.

***Coach was not happy with the 4th and 1 that stalled the first drive of the second half.

***Personnel issue burned that timeout towards the end of the first half.

***Other than that wasted timeout he happily said: "Very clean day for the offense"

***Kugler noted that he happy with the way the defense came out fast with sacks on the first possessions, was very pleased with the pass rush numbers and overall pressure throughout the game.

***Praised Anthony Puente, and Roy Robertson-Harris for that fourth down stop in the fourth quarter.

***Kugler said he thought the defense improved on not giving up chunk plays against ODU.

***Negative noted was the penalty called on Roy Robertson-Harris.

***Kugler said the number one positive was the team responding to the adversity after the game was tied at 28 and after the punt block.

***Very pleased with the senior leadership that he expected to come out in the ODU game.

***Kugler said: "I know it kind of sounds crazy coming from a coach. but I'm glad the game ended up the way it did because our team had to respond to adversity, and it was a game that could have went either way and they chose at that point to win the game, that was good to see"

***Notes punt return average was the best average of the season.

*** "Kickoff coverage unit has been outstanding all year"

***Communication from kickoff returners Golden and Damian Payne was improved.

***Pleased with Jay Mattox's touch back numbers.

***Not pleased with punt team, and said when something needs to be fixed and changed in any aspect the staff will do it.

***Win on homecoming mixed with the centennial celebrations energized the players.

***Opens up the UTSA talk on the Runners' veteran numbers, 10 seniors starters on offense, 6 seniors and 4 junior starters on defense.

***Said UTSA's win at Houston was the most sound win he has ever seen, couldn't agree more.

***Notes UTSA's injury issues at quarterback.

***Kugler expects to see both quarterbacks Austin Robinson, and Tucker Carter, brought up Robinson first.

***Talks about receiver Kam Jones and how they use him in a lot of spots, also notes his TD pass last week.

***Also gives note to the number of starts their offensive lineman have, all five across average 33 career starts.

*** "This will be probably aside from Kansas State the best defense that we play"

***Mentions UTSA's defensive numbers, seven interceptions, seven fumbles, also 44 tackles for loss and 17 sacks.

*** UTSA rotates four defensive ends, and says UTSA has some of the biggest defensive tackles in the C-USA.

***Felt that UTSA won the battle of line last year, and feels UTEP matches up better there this year.

***Talked highly of UTSA's free safety Tristan Wade.

***Kugler says the record doesn't indicate it, but this is the best team they will play, says UTSA's injuries woes at quarterback has hurt their record.

***Main focus last week was to clean up special teams issues.

****Kugler said its tough to get recruits here for official visits during the season from Dallas. Houston and other areas because of UTEP's location, but says local recruits are here for every game, and most of the official visits are in December.

***Talks about how the play calling will have to be creative in the run game to get it going against UTSA.

***Says he enjoys watching UTSA play defense, uses sound, and physical as key words when describing their unit.

***Had a jump start in preparing for UTSA's run defense with the bye week, said to expect more of the spread they debuted in different situations against ODU this week.

***Kugler is really pleased with the competitiveness of the team, and the way they bounced back from the LA Tech loss.

***Also says he sees them really coming together as a team after two tough losses, and feels that is a step in the right direction to finish the season strong.

***Kugler said to shake to road woes you have to prepare for the road during practice, and is trying to build the maturity of the team to win on the road, likens a culture of wining on the road towards the same steps in building a program.

***Says they will have a game plan for each quarterback UTSA might use.