Miner Rush: Talk about how camp, what did you see over the past couple of weeks?
Anthony Puente: I think actually we had a lot better camp than last year for sure. I think defensively you could see a lot more guys comfortable in the system, I think that was a big plus. Linebacking wise there is a lot of depth now, a lot of guys are playing harder, lot more guys making plays. I think that was the biggest takeaway from last year to this year.
MR: Has there been a more physical camp than this year compared to the others throughout your UTEP career?
Puente: It's been one of them. Everybody was getting after it at camp, kind of beating each other up, but that's what we needed to do. We have a lot of room to make up from last year, so the only way to do it is get after each other make each other better, and like coach likes to say iron sharpens iron so that's what we're doing out there.
MR: Has that surreal moment hit you yet that this is your last year as a Miner?
Puente: Actually we're talking about that when we we were leaving Alpine. This is the last time I'll be over here, it kinda is, but I guess probably everything will start hitting me once the season is actually over. Right now I'm just living in the moment, and I'm just excited that I get twelve, hopefully thirteen more games to play.
MR: What can fans see different from last year that will translate from the practice field to the game field this season?
Puente: A lot more physical. We weren't what we showed last year. We're a lot better team, but there is no excuses. We got twelve brand new games, we have a new identity that we have to create by our own selves and that's what we're going to do. We're just going to play fast, there is no excuses now, play fast, play physical and be one of the defenses in our conference.
MR: Has your leadership role took another step forward being that your the most experienced returner, and the leader on defense?
Puente: Oh yeah, some guys are looking to me on just learning the defense better, they also look for me on the field sometimes when things go wrong, or even to make a play sometimes. I feel like I got to make that play when they need it, I have to step up and make the right decisions, and right calls, but I'm ready for it.