High points: Kalon Beverly's pick six versus UIW, Young guys see playing time, final two games, Dashone Smith pick six against North Texas
Low points: Devin Cockrell's injury, first half of the season, man coverage, tackling, FIU game.
Final Grade: D
It was a tale of two halves for the entire UTEP defense in 2015.
The first half of the season the Miners were torched in the secondary, but experience, and confidence led to some play making in the latter part of the season.
Freshmen like Kalon Beverly, Nik Needham, Michael Lewis, Mookie Carlile, and Adrian Hyson all saw tons of playing time which will be beneficial in the future. Beverly, Needham, and Lewis all finished inside UTEP's top ten tacklers, and all improved after having freshman moments throughout the year.
Senior's Kelvin Fisher Jr., and Ishmael Harrison both battled through injuries all season, and were productive as both combined for 9% of UTEP's total tackles. So many different players saw playing time in the secondary with injuries forcing some shuffling around.
UTEP ranked 104th in passing down S&P+, and 128th in passing down IsoPPP which is why the grade is low, but improved from where they were at the halfway point of the season.
The UTEP secondary did not allow a 300-yard passer in the final six games, and averaged 185 yards allowed through the air in their final three games.
That growth is positive with so many freshman seeing playing time in the latter part of the season, but the early season struggles still accounted for UTEP being 110th against the pass in total yards.
The Miners also broke up or forced incomplete passes 27.6 percent of the time ranking 105th in this category, and UTEP's secondary had a 6.1% havoc rate which ranked 73rd in the nation.
The immediate future looks bright, but the Miners will need to haul in some corner backs for 2016, and the possible scheme change on defense will be another adjustment this group will have to go through.
With guys like Dashone Smith, Cockrell, and the strong group of freshman UTEP will have some proven front line depth chart players for next year, building and developing depth behind them will improve this grade in 2016.
Key losses: Kelvin Fisher Jr., Ishmael Harrison, Traun Roberson, Da'Carlos Renfro
Key Returners: Devin Cockrell, Dashone Smith, Kalon Beverly, Nik Needham, Michael Lewis, Mookie Carlile, Adrian Hynson, Leon Hayes
2016 commits: Eric Foster, Robert Awunganyi
Inside the Numbers
|Passing Downs S&P+||79.5||116||89.1||104||100.0|
|Passing Downs Success Rate||25.5%||107||28.9%||50||30.7%|
|Passing Downs IsoPPP||2.08||9||2.29||128||1.77|
|PD Line Yards per Carry||2.70||105||2.75||26||3.21|
|PD Sack Rate||2.6%||4||8.2%||47||7.5%|
|DB Havoc Rate||6.1%||73||6.5%|
|PD to INC||27.6%||105||32.8%|
|FIELD POSITION||Avg. FP||27.4||114||30.0||72||29.9|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Trip in 40||4.20||101||5.27||115||4.66|
|TURNOVER MARGIN||EXPECTED||-10.16||120||Turnover Luck (PPG):
|Passing Success Rate||35.6%||106||41.5%||72||40.3%|
|Adj. Sack Rate||245.8||7||89.7||86||100|
|Standard Downs S&P+||76.4||125||89.9||107||100.0|
|Standard Downs Success Rate||43.1%||108||45.8%||62||46.5%|
|Standard Downs IsoPPP||0.98||118||1.30||122||1.11|
|SD Line Yards per Carry||2.79||79||2.90||71||2.91|
|SD Sack Rate||1.7%||9||4.0%||97||5.0%|