This great article from El Paso Times UTEP Football beat writer Bret Bloomquist shows the immediate changes the coaches are making to improve the passing game.
Two big pieces of news along with some other movement were dropped in Bret's daily observation of practice; Autrey Golden will be moved to wide receiver, and a pair of true freshmen receivers Ziere Banner, and Donovan Walker have been promoted from the scout team to the depth chart.
Other promotions from the scout team were on defense as defensive linemen Joseph Kraemer who is a true freshman, and sophomore Brian Madunezim are also on the depth chart this week.
Freshman defensive end Luke Elsner took a big hit last week on a kickoff return against LA Tech and is reportedly still recovering from the vicious blow, so that movement is due to the unknown status of Elsner.
Bloomquist also reports that true freshman defensive back Nik Needham was also off the scout team though he isn't listed on the game week depth chart just yet.
UTEP will be down two corners against Old Dominion. Da'Carlos Renfro and Ishmael Harrison will both be out this week with injuries so the move with Needham is more out of need than performance.
As far as the moves at receiver, I think all three moves are brilliant and very much needed.
Golden through the first couple of games was the Miners' leading receiver out of the backfield, and has 7 catches for 96 yards on the season.
Banner made a couple of highlight catches during my time watching camp, he can really create separation in the vertical game, and is a guy who I feel can really make a difference from what I saw in camp, though is still a true freshman with zero game experience.
Walker is in the same physical and experience mold as Banner, and with UTEP using a deep rotation of receivers that past few games, these guys should see snaps if they have a solid finish in their week of practice.
I believe these changes will take place and are not just for show, last week we saw Jaquan White for the first time at receiver, and also Tyler Batson has seen more action in the past two weeks.
Kugler is smartly putting the better talent on the field to mix in with the talent already on the depth chart even if they are young and inexperienced. Its obvious these guys have to be doing something special on the scout team to force Kugler to make these big changes confidently here in mid-season.
UTEP's receiver rotation seems packaged based, and on individual ability to execute what is called, interesting to see who steps up makes some plays this week, some new faces may have their number called for the first time as Miners in a pivotal mid-season conference game.
|Z-Receiver Depth Chart|
|X-Receiver Depth Chart|