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Monday Lunch With Mike Price

Price opens by describing last week as a rough road trip out east.

“It was a rough weekend, rough trip. There wasn’t anything good about this trip. I have to say this because someone will ask me about this, but I don’t think we moved a step ahead. Last week I talked about nothing stays the same. You’re either getting better or you’re either getting worse. And I think we took a step backwards as a team. I think we have a lot of individuals on both sides of the ball who are improving. We didn’t see anybody quit; they all played hard. We saw some young players at the end of the game who played hard. So, those are some good things about this trip. But other than that, it’s a loss we need to forget as soon as possible.”

“Not a happy camper around here. It’s not going like we thought it was going to go. The defense played pretty good at times. We made a field goal. But we’re still struggling on offense and we need to get better, much better, we have a long way to improve. It’s more complicated that I had thought.”

Moving on to North Texas

“North Texas is a really good football team. They’re leading the conference in almost every offensive statistic. They have a running back, Jeff Wilson, who’s really phenomenal. They have a quarterback, Mason Fine, number six, only a sophomore and is not a big kid, only 6-foot, may be 200 pounds. But he’s a really good player and keeps the play alive. They run the offense that most colleges are starting to get to. Those Mike Leach run-and-gun offenses. Hal Mumme and Tony Franklin, who we just faced this past weekend, run that same offense. It’s a quarterback oriented offense, so you have to stop Mason Fine.

“Their defense is different from anything we’ve seen to date. Sometimes it’s like they don’t have a middle safety. Their safeties are tight to the line of scrimmage and are really aggressive safeties. Their leading tackler is Khairi Muhammad. And he’s a really good safety.

“Their defense is like our defense statistically. So, we’re playing a team that’s number one in conference on offense, and struggling a little on defense.”

Price explains on what UTEP will work on this week.

“We’re always going to review and critique our mistakes and try to correct them in the first practice. That’s probably 15 or 20 minutes at practice will be spent on critiquing what we did wrong and correcting what we did wrong. But we try to put the game as far behind us as we can. We tried to do that Sunday night with the team.”

Price gave an update on Quardraiz Wadley

“Wadley has a new injury, where he hurt his clavicle in his neck. It’s really painful and I’m not sure how long that will take him to heal. But he’s a miraculous healer. Unfortunately, he will not play this week.”

Freshman Josh Fields had a nice game last week, and has earned the starting RB spot.

Joshua Fields is the guy now. Josh Fields has played very well in the last two games now. I’m very pleased with him. He’s only a freshman and has a nice career ahead of him. And we’re pleased that we have him and he played very good Saturday night. He ended up in there and gained additional yards before being tackled.”

UTEP’s defensive backs played well against MTSU and will face another air raid offense this week.

“It was a great competitive game from those guys. I think our defensive backs played really well, even without one of our starters last week. We have six guys who are all pretty equal and I feel confident with our defensive backs. [Nik] Needham is playing as well as any cornerback in the conference. He’ll definitely be a nominee for all-conference.”