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Monday Lunch With Kugler

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Kugler broke down the final two minutes and what lead to the play calling decisions in the final minutes Saturday against Texas Tech.

Tom Cieslik-MinerRush.com

Head coach Sean Kugler addressed the media in the weekly meeting with the head man, here are the highlights and conversation points from the presser.

***The goal for the Texas Tech game was to control the clock which UTEP dominated 39 minutes to 21 in time of possession to contain their offense.

***Kugler praised his team for making it the second straight week to start the season UTEP has came out of a game turnover free on offense, something he says has been emphasized all year.

***Hopes the no sacks trend continues along the young offensive line.

***Running game was "on point".  Kugler also said all of the running backs backs combined had 147 yards after initial contact, and noted that in 78 plays UTEP had just two plays result in a loss of yards.

***Wanted to get Jeremiah Laufasa implemented more, noted his 30 yard screen pass gain, and 47 yards rushing as positives for Laufasa, says the versatile Laufasa is really starting to grasp the system.

***Coach was not pleased with the red zone offense, "Can't live on field goals"

***Jameill Showers missed some reads and left a lot yards on the field versus Texas Tech, says he still has full confidence in Showers.

***Kugler says he wants to see more separation from the receivers, notes a personnel change or implement could be upcoming for NMSU this weekend, "still searching for a play-maker in the passing game" also called for someone to step forward (receiver).

***Applauded the defensive's play on third downs against Texas Tech, he also said Adrian James and Jameel Erving both had separated shoulders during the game and returned after the trainers popped it back into place.

***Continuing on the defense, Kugler says safeties missed too many open field tackles, and lost contain on a few runs and on Bradley Marquez.

***Kugler said the missed PAT on Laufasa's 24-yard touchdown run changed the mindset of UTEP's last drive of the game.

Basically and obviously put by Kugler if Jay Mattox would have brought UTEP within three after the huge TD drive they would have ran it on the last drive of the game, but with less than two and a half minutes to go, down four, and only one timeout left the PAT miss is why UTEP put the ball in Showers' hands to win the game.

***He also felt the play calls were there for UTEP on the last drive, just needed better execution from the passing game.

***Six total penalties committed by the Miners in two games is pleasing and is right where the coaches want to be in that department.

***Kugler said the crowd was "outstanding" and disrupted Texas Tech's calls at the line of scrimmage, forced a false start.

***Laquintus Dowell won the special teams Top Gun award again, Jameel Erving will lead the Miners out with the Pick Axe against NMSU part of winning Rotation Captain of the Week.

***Kugler also gives a lot of credit to Erving who has improved on the field and off the field after being in the Kugler "dog house" last year, IMO he had his best game as a Miner last Saturday/Sunday morning.

***Kugler feels NMSU is trying to re-vamp their football program the way he is trying to do here at UTEP, Kugler says they are improved, and playing with better discipline.   Describes NMSU a few times as very well coached.

***He says NMSU freshman running back Larry Rose reminds him of Aaron Jones, and says NMSU is running the ball extremely well, also says veteran Brandon Betancourt is a nice compliment to Rose.

***Also Impressed with NMSU quarterback Tyler Rogers' play early on, notes his completion percentage and dual threat skills he possess as high points, says the offensive line has protected him really well so far.

***NMSU only lost one piece from the starting offensive line from last year, so only one new starter this season for the Aggies upfront on offense.

***The Aggies also have three interceptions and three fumble recoveries on defense in their first two games, Kugler also talked highly of their linebackers Derek Ibekwe, and Rodney Butler, says they have both averaged 10 tackles a game in the first two weeks. Notes that NMSU has upgraded their speed at linebacker.

***NMSU's starter at quarterback against UTEP last season King Davis III is now a defensive back for the Aggies.

***Says the biggest challenge for him this week is to get the team to forget about the first two games and get ready to prepare for a 2-0 NMSU squad this week.

***Will challenge Jameill Showers and the receivers to make more plays this week, wants the passing game improved so there can be more balance on the offense while taking guys out of the box.

***Kugler will not disclose injury timetables for the rest of the season, says he doesn't feel comfortable relaying injury news to benefit the opponent, he also is not too fond of gamblers.

***He also says if UTEP is backed up past the 50 with less than a minute until halftime, he does not want to give the other team the ball back and would rather sit on it to kill the clock, smart move against Tech indeed.

***Says defense has improved most on basic fundamentals, credits having a full spring and fall for majority of the improvement, says his favorite thing about the defense is their energy in the first two games.

***Notes the tight ends have been very good in run blocking, but would like to see more passing production out of the TE's, and also wants to get them more involved.

***Bases the running back rotation on plays called within the packages they have already set during the preparation of the week, acknowledges a kind of new offensive scheme in moving running backs around pre-snap to confuse the defense.

***Kugler says 20-25 carries is what they want to give Aaron Jones each week and where he is at his best, anything under 20-25 carries Kugler feels he is under utilizing him, anything over is too much for Jones.