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Monday Lunch With Kugler

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After licking the wounds from the K-State whippin', Coach Kugler and the Miners turn into full C-USA mode as the conference slate starts this Saturday on the road.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Kugler didn't mince words or make excuses, K-State is that good and its time to move on to C-USA play.

Here are the weekly highlights of his weekly media luncheon in which I had my first hot dog from Coney Island, decent but he frank was sorta plain as I was expecting better and bigger from Coney Island, Wienerschnitzel is still King IMO.

***Kugler starts by giving kudos to Kansas State, and notes the tough run defense, tackling, and mental toughness of the K-State defense and basically said K-State was superior to the Miners in all three phases.

***First positive Kugler notes from the loss is the production Jameill Showers had in the second half, and his ability to take care of the ball throughout the game.

***Impressed with Ian Hamilton's 100 yard receiving game, and notes it was also good to see Eric Tomlinson move around healthy.

***Also impressed with no offensive turnovers on the road, and the overall season turnover ratio which now sits at plus-6.

***Likes the way the offense fought back in the second half after being non-existent in the first half, notes that it didn't help the outcome, but as a coach it was encouraging to see the kids keep fighting in the final half.

***Negatives were handling K-State's safeties on run plays, the 1.9 yards per carry was also a negative, gave credit to K-State for making plays and shutting down the run.

***Another negative Kugler didn't like was the four offensive penalties that hurt first half drives, also noted giving up the first sack of the season as a negatory mark.

***Kugler was happy that the offensive line rebounded and did not get rattled from the slow start.

***He also liked the way to defense started with energy, though said they were worn down towards the end of the second quarter, he continues saying the offense has to maintain lengthy drives to keep the defense fresh.

***Is very pleased with the defense's third down percentage on the season.

*** "Can't be on the field that much as a defense"

***Said Charles Jones hurt the Miners out of the Wildcat, and noted UTEP bit too much on the play action, and was not happy with the lack of the negative plays the defense was unable to force.

***Took the blocked kick from Katrae Ford as a positive, said goal was to go after them on punts.

***Talked about Autrey Golden's missed judged balls on kickoffs, as expected Kugler still has full confidence in Golden, said sky kicks from K-State were an issue.

***Notes a possible personnel adjustment on the punt protection. I noticed after the first block UTEP switched Jimmy Musgrave for Alvin Jones as one of the protectors.  Kugler also said he has not lost confidence in the special teams unit.

***Kugler said his overall feelings of the team before the game haven't changed even after the game.

***Said the health of the team is in good standing after four physical non-conference games heading into C-USA play.

***Captain of The Week was Ian Hamilton, and Top Gun Special Teams Player of the Week was Wesley Miller.

***Said LA Tech will play with four receivers and one running back most of the time.

***Describes LA Tech's running back Kenneth Dixon as a future NFL guy, and a complete back who can run, block, and catch.

***Also notes the strong play of quarterback Cody Sokol, and LA Tech's deep stable of receivers as keys to their offense, quick three step drops is the main catalyst of their passing game.

***Talks about the explosive plays LA Tech has scored on this season.

***Kugler gives credit to their tough schedule in which they have played four bowl teams from a year ago, though lost to FCS Northwestern State.

***Says defensive coordinator Manny Diaz will show multiple looks from his defense, a number of transfer have helped LA Tech build an identity of making tackles for loss so far this season.

***Also brings up the depth and experience LA Tech has in the secondary and also at linebacker, notes their defense has played against some top offenses in Auburn, Oklahoma, and Louisiana Lafayette.

***Team is moving forward from non-conference play, and full focus on C-USA play is the team's mindset.

***Gives the reason for Nathan Jeffery's lack of carries on the overall lack of production from the run game.

***Says the goal on offense is to always have 40 or more carries.

***Also says their were some jitters from the receivers in the first half, but the positive second half production from Showers & Co. was good to see going forward.

***Strength of the LA Tech offense is in their four receivers who have all have a slot receiver physical mold.

***Expects linebacker Trey Brown to be back this week.

***Kugler also talked about how the entire conference is at the same spot record wise, and thinks UTEP can match up with teams in the division if they stick to the plan.

***He also goes on to say he doesn't take stock in weather, crowd noise, or officials and just wants the team to focus on what they can control

***Won't feed into the Kenneth Dixon vs. Aaron Jones matchup this week, says its two quality backs, but its all about UTEP vs LA Tech.