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Monday Lunch With Kugler

With the Centennial celebration coming about this weekend, UTEP Athletics added a nice buzz to the big UTEP fiesta, and Sean Kugler brought some basketball friends to join the Monday lunch party this week.

Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball coaches Tim Floyd and Keitha Adams were apart of Monday's weekly Sean Kugler media luncheon to pitch a pretty sweet deal in honoring UTEP's Centennial celebration this weekend.

Both the men and women's basketball teams open their seasons Friday night in part of a hoops opening night double header but with a fan friendly reward for being near the top of the Conference USA in football, and basketball attendance a year ago.

UTEP fans can buy a $8 ticket to get in to see the women's Battle of I-10 match up, and the men's highly anticipated date with Washington State Friday night for one price.

But not only that neat night of hoops is included in your $8 dollar investment.....

The same ticket can be exchanged at the UTEP ticket office for a choice of any available seat for the Saturday night football game.

23 Miner legends will be in attendance over the weekend's events.

Names like Jordan Palmer, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Howard Jackson, Chris Jackie, Lee Mays, Billy Stevens, Tony Tolbert, Nolan Richardson, David Lattin, Gloria Estrada and Jareica Hughes will represent as members of the Centennial Teams.

They will also be available for autographs with the first 5,000 fans receiving a Centennial Team poster before the football game at 7 p.m.

Is that enough for ya?

Well there are the 6.5 point favorite bowl hopes alive for the fighting Sean Kuglers which makes it a very important night in the C-USA bowl picture. (shout to my bro Louie Del Rio for taking his UTEP football nickname)

This week the head man talks about the upcoming game, along with the tough loss in Bowling Green, (Kentucky) in this week's edition of Monday Lunch with Kugler.

***Kugler opens up his portion of the presser by saying Coach Floyd and his staff send over three dozen Krispy Kreme donuts after every UTEP Football win.

***Opening the WKU talk, Kugler says he feels for the players, and was very proud of their effort and fight they brought last week.

***Kugler called the offensive line play against WKU "outstanding", and was impressed in how the group fought back after a tough game against Southern Miss.

***Offensive lineman Will Hernandez won the captain of the week award with the highest graded performance along the offensive line.

***Kugler thought all the running backs were "outstanding" in Aaron Jones' absence.

***Was also very pleased on how the team controlled the physicality and clock aspects of the game.

*** "One play can change any game, and in our case it did"

***Felt the team did not respond after the adversity of that pick six.

***Kugler told Jameill Showers "he has the keys to the car" and has full faith in Showers.

***UTEP has held their last three opponents to under 100 yards rushing.

***Kugler said the defense did not get enough pressure on Brandon Doughty.

***Goes on to say the defense had some missed assignments due to WKU's pre-snap motion.

***He summarized the turnover margin (1-0) in WKU's favor as being the main struggle for UTEP.

***Jay Mattox will be the special teams Top Gun player of the week.

***Kugler was not pleased with the kickoff return unit after the Autrey Golden return for a TD, said the coverage unit did not handle the squib and sky kicks well from WKU.

***Also says the special teams unit needing the most improvement is punt return.

*** "I like the way this team is competing"

***He opens the North Texas talk by saying they are a physical team in all phases.

***Credits North Texas' negative turnover margin as the reflection of their record compared to last year.

***North Texas averages 150 rushing yards a game, lead by Reggie Pegram, and Antoinne Jimmerson.

***Talks about wide receiver Carlos Harris, and tight end Marcus Smith as the top weapons in the North Texas passing game.

***North Texas returned every starter along the offensive line from last year, Kugs notes this as their overall strong point.

*** "Very physical, very big offensive line, I think they have only one starter that is under 300 pounds"

***On North Texas' defense, Kugler talks about how they have a solid run defense that only allows 3.9 yards per rush.

***North Texas' defense had piled up 28 sacks, and 54 tackles for loss, they also are holding teams to a 38% conversion mark on third downs.

***The Mean Green aren't as big, size wise as they were a year ago along the defensive line, but very athletic and fast up front.

*** "This will be the best special teams unit, top to bottom that we have faced all year, and that's including Kansas State".

***North Texas ranks number one in the nation in kickoff coverage, and have two dynamic kick returners. 

***Kugler says North Texas went back to their roots of running the football against FAU which lead to their big 31-10 win at home last week.

*** On his hope for attendance numbers: "I think it's a team that El Paso would be proud of, I'd love to see the stands full for this game".

***Kugler said their were three shoe string tackles on Josh Bell WKU made that were close to TD breaking runs.

*** He also hopes to have Aaron Jones, and Eric Tomlinson back, and feels they both will be healthy by Saturday, he expects Jerell Watkins, and Anthony Puente back as well for the North Texas game.

***Kugler said he would have rather seen Jameill Showers go up to top to Ian Hamilton who was being press covered by a smaller corner on the opposite side of the throw during that third and six play call which resulted in the Wonderful Terry pick six.