Over the past few months, UTEP's offensive players have been in the play book studying their new offense, and for the past two weeks they have put their studying to the test with their first physical reps in Brent Pease's new offense.
Friday's scrimmage offered up a few glimpses of the still developing, and ongoing goal of consistency in UTEP's new offense.
UTEP opened the scrimmage with a string of uptempo looks, they mixed in more 3-wide receiver sets than 2015 in a few situations. With multiple regular, and off-set i-formations, and single back looks on run plays, all while using every available skill guy on the depth chart in Friday's scrimmage.
Versatility, and having a variety of developing offensive weapons makes this offense fun for players, and gives the potential for improved numbers in 2016.
Emerging/developing weapons like wideouts freshman Eddie Sinegal, sophomore Terry Juniel, junior Elliot Oldham, and sophomore running back Treyvon Hughes, join proven pass catching producers Tyler Batson, Hayden Plinke, Cole Freytag, Jaquan White, Warren Redix, and of course a healthy Aaron Jones, has gave the offense some swagger to start the spring.
"I'm really just loving, and getting comfortable with the new system." Quarterback Ryan Metz said. "With coach Pease, his attention to detail he wants everything perfect, and I think its making us better."
The addition of a healthy Terry Juniel at wide receiver is a breathe of fresh air for the quarterbacks vying for the starting role, and gives them plenty of weapons to choose from during the quarterback competition.
"Oh definitely, and getting Terry Juniel back, and getting him involved in the mix." Metz of the emerging skill players. "Tyler had his breakout year last year, he's a weapon, Cole Freytag is the same thing. Eddie Sinegal, Elliot Oldham, we have a lot of guys who are stepping up. Even our tight ends too, I think we're just gelling really well, a lot of guys have become play makers."
Pease's attention to detail was shown during my exact interview with him.
Freshman center Ruben Guerra had a series of snap troubles during Friday's red zone period, and was getting extra work after practice. Pease stopped the interview to correct Guerra who was looking back on his snaps which was causing his issue, paying close attention while dropping knowledge on UTEP's new offense.
Plenty of work, and fine tuning is still very much needed until September, although consistency seems to be the main war chant in the Miners offensive development.
Miner Rush: Looking at Friday's scrimmage, and what you threw out there is the offense installation process at where you want it to be?
Brent Pease: "I think we're in what we want to install, I don't think we're in on how smooth everything is in with some operational things. And we need to be a little bit more consistent in everything we do."
MR: It seemed like when you opened the scrimmage with tempo it got Metz, and offense going early on in the drive?
BP: "I think tempo is always good for everybody. The situations came up kinda where we use it so it was good, and yeah they did a good job of it."
MR: You used a lot of weapons at wide out who were able to create some separation against some zone looks in Friday's scrimmage, is that mental recognition or athletes just making plays?
BP: "Well right now I think its more athletic, and those guys learning. And I agree with you, I do think we got some kids that are doing a pretty good job with that like Terry Juniel, and Warren Redix. Tyler Batson had a good day, Jaquan White showed up a little bit. When you get that thing spread around a bit, its tough to defend."
MR: Treyvon Hughes played banged up last season, but did a number of good things during Friday's scrimmage, how important was his performance in terms of versatility?
BP: "Completely awesome, he's building consistency and giving us good depth. Obviously when we get Aaron Jones back, Aaron is what he is, and he (Hughes) is making that group at lot stronger."
MR: The offensive line really got after it in the short yardage segments, and really overall, how do you see their play so far in the spring?
BP: "Yeah, they've been very consistent. I think there is a lot of really good players, and athletes there, and they're really smart, and we have lots of experience. We'll do somethings, especially behind Will Hernandez, but we're getting in that rhythm of having Tanner Stallings being new there, and don't let them create bad habits."
Its pretty much the halfway point of the spring, what do you want to see out of the quarterbacks to finish out the spring?
BP: "I want to see them have good accuracy, I want to be able to see them take on more, and get consistent, and be able to throw the ball down field."