High points: Alan Luna, Jay Mattox, Improved coverage units,
Low points: Autrey Golden's injuries, Mattox's missed field goal against LA Tech,
Final Grade: B
Quietly, one of the more improved areas in 2015 was the UTEP special teams units.
Sean Kugler measures a team's toughness on their kickoff coverage unit, and UTEP improved both of their coverage units on punts and kickoffs statistically, schematically, and personnel wise.
Jay Mattox had a 56% touchback rate on kickoffs, and went 15-for-19 on his field goal tries making six in a row to start the season. Mattox is now 35-of-50 for his career on field goal tries, and 98-of-100 on his career extra point tries.
The most surprising emergence was punter Alan Luna.
Luna averaged 44.4 yards per punt, but having him punt an average of 5.4 times per game isn't a pretty stat to be proud of. Good thing is UTEP has both kickers back next year, but will definitely be in the recruiting market for a kicker pretty soon to replace Mattox who will be a senior next season.
UTEP's return game was hit or miss, mainly because of a banged up Autrey Golden, and poor blocking schemes/execution on kickoff returns.
Jaquan White did have a clutch punt return for a touchdown against NMSU and averaged 15.5 yards per return, but the Miners had their share of catching troubles from the punt returners.
Autrey Golden had the lowest kickoff return average in his UTEP career, and his longest return was a 61-yard return. Of course it was disappointing that he did not get the NCAA record, but more disappointing that the UTEP legend battled through uncontrollable and unfortunate injuries in his senior season.
The hope for 2016 is that Terry Juniel is 100% healthy to not only help the offense, but make the return game a true legit threat in 2016.
Throw in guys like Warren Redix, and White who showed some promise in the return game this season, and things look bright in the return department.
Another thing UTEP will be looking to replace is the reliable Nick Dooley who can arguably be called one of the best long snappers UTEP has had in quite some time.
Like the entire 2015 season, there were up's and down's for UTEP's special teams units, but the improvement marks continue, making this a strong point to look forward to in 2016.
Key losses: Autrey Golden, Nick Dooley, LaQuintus Dowell
Key Returners: Terry Juniel, Jay Mattox, Alan Luna, Jaquan White, Alvin Jones (coverage)
2016 commits: Luke Termin (coverage), Eric Foster (coverage/return?), Richie Rodriguez (returner)
|Alan Luna||6'0, 190||FR||60||44.3||8||6||12||30.0%|
|Mack Leftwich||5'10, 190||SO||4||29.5||0||0||3||75.0%|
|Jay Mattox||6'0, 185||JR||55||64.3||31||56.4%||0||0||1||0|
|Jay Mattox||6'0, 185||JR||23-24||15-19||78.9%|
|Mack Leftwich||5'10, 190||SO||0-1||0-0||#DIV/0!|
|Kick Returner||Ht, Wt||Year||Returns||Avg.||TD||Fair Catch||Fumbles (Lost)|
|Autrey Golden||5'11, 180||SR||31||20.7||0||0||2 (1)|
|LaQuintus Dowell||5'10, 205||SR||3||18.3||0||0||0 (0)|
|Warren Redix||5'10, 185||FR||3||19.0||0||0||0 (0)|
|Punt Returner||Ht, Wt||Year||Returns||Avg.||TD||Fair Catch||Fumbles (Lost)|
|Jaquan White||5'11, 200||JR||8||15.5||1||4||2 (2)|
|Daniel Siller||6'1, 200||SR||5||-1.6||0||0||2 (0)|
|Warren Redix||5'10, 185||FR||4||6.0||0||5||1 (0)