Congratulations to Julian Washburn on winning the Haskins Award 2013-14 Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row.
Welcome to the new Den.
The previous version of the Den was old and had become a problem with being able to make needed updates. I had been dreading the day I would have to make the change, but it is done. I will be working on getting settled in for some time, and I appreciate all of those who have already made the move. Members of the old Den will need to re-register, including creating a username and password. Old ones will not work. If you are a guest who has never been a member, and are a UTEP Miners fan, please jump in with your two cents. With the creation of the El Paso Chihuahuas baseball team the Den would like to offer Chihuahuas fans a place to meet to discuss their team.
November 17, 2014, 10:55:59 AM by kyyote | Views: 445 | Comments: 7
and Has A Truckload Of Boulders Being Delivered In Houston
All season long, I had been having a hard time trying to figure out how good this team really is. The wins over the New Mexico teams, to me meant little. The ODU win was literally a matter of a few inches when Showers avoided a tackle for a loss at our four yard line. The losses to TT and KSU didn't surprise me, but the way the LA Tech used the KSU formula to stack the box and force the pass kept me wondering. By this time, I had already come to believe that Stoker had them playing very well, except perhaps letting a serious passing team hitting a big play here and there. Crushing Coker's team, was again an impressive display, but also again the Road Runners are struggling this year. But, still. It was impressive, and this time it was on both sides of the ball, for the complete game.
The WKU game would be a real test of the defense against a serious passing team. The defense played an incredible first half, completely shutting the potent offense down. Meanwhile, the Miners offense was doing what I would have expected against a weak defense. The second half the Miners offense I think maybe stalled a little, maybe WKU made some adjustments, and that contributed to the defense perhaps tiring a little. Still, the Miners had the win in hand but for a single mistake.
By the end of that game I had decided that wins were wins, but the WKU loss went further to proving to me that the defense had now arrived to even be able to take on the passing teams. The offense had still left me with a sliver of doubt. That second half of the WKU game, I was once again wishing we would maybe have a little more of a passing game for when we need it. I really don't think it matters anyway. Kugler is going to do what he does. The thing is, the players believe that it will work his way. Inside the team, during the times when I was wondering, they were believing and coming together. The good games became glue. The bad game made them mad, and caused them to make some adjustments. The close games were proof that they were on the right track.
But, the North Texas game was the final demonstration of a dominating offensive team taking a good defensive team to the woodshed by simply imposing their will. It was Wisconsin against Miners teams of the past. You know it is coming, but you can't do anything to stop it. Pass? Why? Three things, and two are bad. Nope. Get ready. Here it comes again. The very best part of all, and this is all Kugler, is that they all believe it, and believe in themselves, and in themselves believing in the Kugler way. And that is more contagious than Ebola when you put together a game like they did against UNT. I believe the Rice Owls are about to run into a buzz saw. Those of you who like to bet might want to jump on the points the Miners are getting.
Did you ever see an owl try to stop a boulder rolling down a hill? Did you see what happened to the eagle that tried it last Saturday night? Hell, Kugler's got the boulders convinced to get a running start before they got rolling. Kugler has piled his boulders much higher than before, and when they get rolling downhill they are even harder to stop than before. Expect to see feathers fly, and to hear a whole lot of "WHO"s when the owls start asking who the hell just buried them under all of those boulders. It was Sean the Boulder Roller.
28-21 but not that close.
November 16, 2014, 03:02:43 PM by kyyote | Views: 301 | Comments: 7
There has been a lot of discussion about attendance. In an attempt to get a better look and maybe some understanding of the issue I have gone back and looked at attendance for the year before Price, the first year under Price, the last year of Price's tenure, Kugler's first year, and this year.
Twenty-six thousand for opener and lose it to Cal poly. Eight thousand less for the game the next week. About the same (17) for the next game against Sam(another FCS team). Back up to 28 for la tech, even though the team is now 2-4 going into the game. Lose the la t game and a game in Hawaii, before the now 2-6 Miners return to the Sun Bowl. Attendance is down to 17 and 18 again, for the next two games, and finally after two more losses, down to 15 thousand. Average for the year- 20 thousand.
The 2004 season saw the arrival of a coach that had gotten the job at Bama. His reputation had been soiled but he was here, at UTEP now, and he was perceived as a big time coach.
Before ever coaching a game, attendance was up 14 thousand. The aggie game added another 10 thousand or so for that game, bringing attendance up to 44/45 thousand to go along with the wins. Attendance averaged 41 thousand for the year.
In 2012, the Miners had fallen back to their old ways of losing 3 for every game they won.
Forty thousand showed up for the OU game. Still pulling 33 thousand for nmsu and 34 for smu even though the team is 1-4 going into the game. At 1-6 the thrill has gone along with any real chances of a bowl game or a winning season. After losing the smu game and the next game versus tu, we are 1-6 for the home game against Tulane, and attendance drops nearly ten thousand, down to 23 thousand. The next home game is about the same (25) for UCF. The 3-8 Miners finish the season at home against Rice. Twenty thousand turn out. Average for the year ends up being 29 thousand per game.
2013 is a new beginning for the Miners under new head coach, Sean Kugler. Opening day sees attendance up to 35 thousand for Kugler's first game-against old rival, UNM. Losing the opener to UNM but redeeming himself by taking the team up to Las Cruces to beat the Agies, Kugler returns to the Sun Bowl with an even record of 1-1 to a home crowd of 30 thousand for a game against UTSA. There is a five thousand drop. The team is one and one going into the game, is coming off of a fairly easy win over the Aggies and the attendance drops 5 thousand. This is a new team to the Miners. No history at all, and yet, this should be a natural rivalry game, a team from Texas, the UT system, and perhaps should have received a few extra just to introduce them to big time college football. I don't know. Maybe nothing. But, we lose to these upstarts. We drop another five thousand when we next play at home after losing at CSU. Losing to LA Tech, we drop down to 22 thousand for Tulane and 1-5. The team loses three more games, but somehow 30 thousand come out to watch the Miners take on FAU and win, before finishing the season with two more losses to go 2 and 10, averaging 28 thousand per game for the season.
So, 2012, a 3 and 9 team averaged 29 thousand, followed by a 2013 team that went 2-10 and averaged 28 thousand. If one was to guess, what would one guess would be the attendance at the first game of the 2014 season. Higher, now that the team has had a chance to come together a bit, about the same, thinking it is still to soon to expect much, or perhaps a little drop off. Well, the team started the season off by going up to UNM and beating the old rival. The season Home Opener is against regional rival from Lubbock and the Big 12. It doesn't start until 9 PM and the attendance is 35 thousand for it. It is Texas Tech, kind of an old rival-not Oklahoma which drew 40k in 2012, and it doesn't start until 9 PM. The team loses the game, but gives Tech a tough time of it. Next up in the Sun Bowl is NMSU, and attendance for that game is pretty much in line for a home game versus the nasty aggies, a very respectable 33 thousand for a rivalry game that just so happens to be against one of the worst teams in college football. Thirty-three thousand. For an aggie game. The exact same as 2012, when it was a Price team at his end. The team went to KSU and LA Tech and got demolished. At this point, the Miners had beaten the Lobos and the Aggies. Big deal. They had been beaten by a high scoring Big 12 team, dismantled by a Top Ten Big 12 team, and simply obliterated by a seemingly pretty decent LA Tech team. Their next game is a home game-against a team from a school the Miners have never played and most El Pasoans could not tell you where the school is located-and 26 thousand fans come out to see the 2 and 3 Miners do battle against this leaping unknown with an unimpressive record. The Miners win the game, and now have won three games against questionable competition and have lost to three teams that a whole lot of teams would lose to. The team travels to San Antonio and throttle the Road Runners. The team's performance is impressive, but once again, over a less than impressive team. However, the team now has won four games, more than most had expected based on the previous year and dire proclamations of a severely depleted talent pool to work with coming from Kugler the past year. Returning to the friendly confines of the Sun Bowl, the Miners beat another team of somewhat questionable credentials in Southern Miss in front of 25 thousand fans. A drop of a thousand fans, that one might say coincides with the drop in temperature. But, the Miners are now just a win away from becoming bowl game eligibility. They travel to WKU to take on the offensive juggernaut that happens to give up about as many points as it rings up. In a game that represents the season so far, the team is great before finally losing the game. Is the team the first half of the game good, or is the team the second half of the game shaky? The record, five wins against weak teams against 4 losses against some pretty decent teams seems to be about right. The 5 wins are real wins. Unexpected wins. But you damned sure wouldn't walk into a bar anywhere in the country and start bragging about the teams the Miners had beaten. No shame. But, not bragging material. The losses can damned sure be defended, and their are only four of those.
The team returns home, with a 5 and four record and a win will make them bowl eligible with games yet to be played. No one saw this coming. Not even the coaches. The team comes home to get their sixth win against another team that is not exactly a world beater, but it is a team the Miners should and will have a rivalry with, a team looking for a win to keep their post season hopes alive, and a team the Miners should have a pretty good shot at beating. Well, long time Miners fans know there really is no such thing. So, the Miners are playing for post season life and a win, against a team that we have a decent chance of beating. That might be worth a few thousand, right? Oh, but it is now the middle of November, and the residents of the desert Southwest barely own winter clothes, and damned sure are not much acclimated for the cold, damp winds for an 8 pm start for the game. The question is will the chance of a win with a potential bowl game on the line against a team that should be neither a draw nor a team not worthy of watching worth the late night venture out into the cold weather. Judging from the 24 thousand that attended, it may have been a wash. However, just for comparison purposes, the team has averaged 29 thousand for the season. That is a thousand better than last year, and equal to Price's last season. Keep in mind that the teams we are playing since Price left are not the rivals, nor teams of the perceived quality that we were playing then. I believe that if the Miners were 5 and 4 and playing one of the previous version of cusa teams, the attendance might be up a bit more.
All in all, I think the attendance is about what should be expected. Expectations next year, based on this year, will add a good 5 thousand. Playing teams we have heard of and seen before should add a thousand or two. Win a few games in the first half of the season and the crowds will hit the 40 thousand plus mark. Keep winning and the attendance will go up from there.
November 08, 2014, 10:29:13 AM by kyyote | Views: 291 | Comments: 6
Sean Kugler's offense reminds me of a guy standing at the top of a steep hill rolling boulders down at people trying to climb up. Sometimes they aren't big enough, or don't travel the right path and get stuck, or even hit the people but they don't do any damage. Sometimes, they hit people and slow them down, or even knock them down or back. Getting up the fricken hill can be tough, dangerous, and often just such a bitch that some just stop trying. Sometimes, old Sean starts landslides by rolling boulders. Occasionally, Kug will pick up a throwing sized stone and will throw it right at some poor bastard. He isn't the most accurate guy with a stone as some, but damn, when he hits someone they know it.
Now, over on the other guy's hill is Scott Stoker and he has his guys just screaming up the other guy's hill from all sides. That guy is so busy trying to cover all directions that he can't keep Stoker's guys from reaching the top of the hill and throwing rocks at the other guy and hitting him.
I have complained that just rolling boulders wasn't enough, and last week would have been another example of the problem as I had seen it, but, like games before, it didn't matter in the end, I was proven wrong once again and the Miners had notched their third win in a row, and fifth win in eight tries. Kugler just kept rolling boulders.
I have also complained that the wins have come against horrible teams, and in some cases in not exactly dominating fashion. First, the Miners can only beat the teams on their schedule. Second, I think for me, it has been hard to judge the quality of the teams as they are unknown quantities at this level(and let's face it, we have to wonder what level cusa really is). I think it is easy to think of these new teams as lesser quality teams than those lost, but SMU and the others that baled aren't exactly looking like they should have had any feelings of superiority over anyone. Their records at this point aren't great(the teams we have beat) but most of their losses have come against other cusa teams. So. I still kind of wonder just how good this team really is. Well, guess what, that is always the question. If the team won all of the remaining games I would still be wondering that same thing. Right now the answer to both questions is simple. The first is they are 5-3 and the second would be 9 and 3. Bowl games are designed to provide the next measure of how good the team is. It looks pretty good that this team will get a chance to take the next measure. By then, who knows? A win today would go a long ways toward showing me that this team is able to do what it takes to get what could be a tough win. That would be very good since it would be the win that qualifies the team for a bowl game.
I didn't realize until just now that my whole Kugler rolling boulders down a hill fits perfectly for a game against the Hilltoppers. So, it is set. The rock throwers on top of one hill, being attacked by Stoker's Scramblers from all directions and over on the other hill is Sean the Boulder Roller.
The hills in Western Kentucky are just the kind of terrain Kugler will love. Big, loose boulders, steeps sides, and nowhere to hide for protection. The poor bastards trying to climb Kugler's hill are going to be sorely punished for their efforts. The Hilltoppers have big piles of rocks to throw ready at the top of their hill, but they are going to be shocked at the ability of Stoker's Scramblers to charge up a hill and throw rocks themselves.
Hey! You Miners! There's gold in them thar hills. Let's get some!
October 26, 2014, 02:29:52 PM by kyyote | Views: 505 | Comments: 1
Both of these teams are a bit of a surprise perhaps after entering the second half games of the season. The Miners are 4-3 and the Golden Eagles are 3-5. The Miners will look to extend their winning streak to three when the Eagles fly into the Sun Bowl next Saturday.
The Miners defense shocked everyone when it simply shut down the Roadrunners of San Antonio. The roadrunners were wounded ducks coming into the game in that they were down to their third string quarterback, who had been thrown into the fire only to have his goose cooked. On the other side of the ball, the Miners offense built a 17-0 lead at the half built upon a balanced attack which had produced 196 passing yards on 13 plays and 52 yards on 15 rushes. With the way the Miners were playing defense, the Miners offense was able to spend the second half primarily running the football and eating away at the clock. The Miners passed just five times and ran the ball 28 times in the second half, producing a touchdown, and a field goal. The defense added a touchdown on an interception taken in for a touchdown. When the smoke and smell of burnt feathers cleared the Miners had put up 34 points and the defense had allowed just 70 total yards of offense.
On the surface a 34 to zip, zilch, nada, allowing only 70 yards of offense is just a butt whooping. Open and shut case. Maybe I should just let it stand at that, but there are a couple of things I think are worthy of note. The offense in the first half was very different than the offense in the second half. Normally, I might not make anything of that. But, in this case I am left wondering if the first half signaled the change to a more balanced attack? Was the second half, which looked like the offense we had come to know, running the ball twice or even three times for every pass thrown simply good football considering the inability of the opponent to move the ball at all, or was it going back to the offense that Kugler had said needed to change. Since the first, good football makes sense and the second, going back doesn't, I am going to figure that the first half offense may have signaled a bit more of a balanced attack may be what we see in the future. Of course, each game, each team can cause the coaches to make adjustments to suit the team they are playing, but as Kugler said, and I may be paraphrasing, "We are who we are". We will see in the upcoming games if the we has changed a little to a more balanced attack.
As for the defense, you aren't supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth. So, I won't except to see if it gives me a hint about what might come. I have to start with a simple, "Holy shit!" But upon further review, as they say, the defense was beating up a one armed man. Or a guy with a dislocated shoulder might be more accurate. Now, they did it in an incredibly impressive way, but how would they look against a guy with two working arms? I'm not completely sure that Southern Miss is anything other than a tomato can, but both arms work. I have to think that against a two armed man it will be back to much more like what we are used to, but the ability to have that kind of game may just do wonders for the mental side of the game, and the Miners defense may have taken a big step forward. I think we will see a defense that is brought back to earth, but is also more confident and physical with that game under their helmets.
The Golden Eagles are a mirror image of what the Miners have been in that they are the opposite. They average 286 yards per game passing and just 86.5 rushing. Defensively they are giving up an average of 201.8 yards per game rushing and 269.6 yards per game passing. They have been getting 20.4 points up on the board but have also let their opponents put up 33.8 points of their own.
It looks like the Miners offense will get to take their pick of how to get their yards. I know Kugler loves the run, but I think he might have caught a little of the fire the first half of the San Antonio game had that generated such energy. With a lead, I think he goes right back to running the ball and eating clock. If a lead isn't there or not safe, I think we may see that offense continue.
But, I think the defense will be tested quite a bit more this week, against their weakness-giving up long passes. The thing is, this defense was built to stop passing attacks, and that is what SM is going to throw at it. I think the Miners defense comes strong to the game. This time it is the passing game that is the Miss's only arm. The Miners defensive backs will be licking their chops. There will be interceptions.
I believe the Miners will get a first half lead, and sit on it, riding their padded seat to a 34 to 17 win.
October 17, 2014, 08:39:31 PM by kyyote | Views: 787 | Comments: 11
Right off the bat, I have to admit that my passion for my school's teams often outweighs my good sense and sometimes logic and reason suffer. Unlike the average fan, at an average school, I view my football team's progress on two levels. Like any fan, I follow the team during the season's ups and downs, and at the same time see how each season is progressing in the overall scheme of things for the current coach. But, I also have for years seen the Price years as having the potential to at least be the impetus to start the break in the cycle. So, I see the Kugler era as possibly falling back, or hopefully a continuation of the team from the culture of failure.
The first season was quite a shock. A team that I felt easily could have won 5 or six games, especially with a tightening of discipline and shot of enthusiasm from a new coach. Instead, the team lost a quarter of the players. There was a new way of doing things. At the end of the season, the Miners record stood at 2 wins and 10 losses. I wasn't happy. But, I am a Miners fan and I saw what what being attempted, and pretty much threw my support behind the coach and the team.
This season began with a win over a triple option team in which we showed we too could run the football, and our defense was beginning to resemble a defense. A decisive win over the Aggies and watching the Miners give Texas Tech a real tussle, and my emotions, from years of being a Miners fan clutched at the optimism gave me the impression that we could actually move the ball on the ground, some anyways, against about anyone. Kansas State bitch-slapped me back to reality. They exposed the Miners one-dimensional offense, and like a gang of toughs from the local middle school wandering over and getting froggy with the high school football players, they Miners left Manhattan bruised, and beaten physically and mentally.
My reality came crashing into my Miners fantasy and I emerged limping and shaken pretty badly. The KSU game forced me to realize that the two wins and the game against Tech had been in truth two wins over two of the very worst teams in FBS football and signs of life against a Tech team that was still finding itself. Add to that the way in which KSU had so simply just loaded the box and brought the Miners' running game to a halt. Nothing tricky. It was obvious that it was the way to beat the Miners. Seeing that, it was pretty obvious that LA Tech, especially under the coaching of Skip Holtz was a good team and well coached, and they would try and do what K State had done. They took it up a notch, and routed the Miners in a way that was reminiscent of the bad old days of UTEP football. Now, at this point I wasn't shocked. I had expected a loss, and thought it could be pretty big. I didn't expect what happened.
So, there I was trying to figure out who would win the ODU game. I had seen the ODU team beat Rice earlier this season, and the team was a quality team at the level below that was stepping up in level of competition. Given where the Miners were, and where the Monarchs were, I felt the Miners were now the team with two wins over the still horrible Lobos and Aggies, and who had been raped by the last two teams they faced. I had lost faith. I hoped. I always hope. I almost always believe that we can win-that we will win, in spite of the odds. But, not this time.
It became obvious as soon as the two teams took the field that the Miners were much bigger. It just as soon became obvious that the Miners were able to out muscle the Monarchs on both sides of the football. The Miners looked like they would get their own blowout win. But, ODU began to battle back, and like we had seen so many times, the Miners had seen a big lead vanish. The Monarchs tied the score at 28 points. The Miners began the game winning drive from inside their own ten yard line, and the Monarchs were now attacking with a ferocity we hadn't seen in the first half. Showers was able to miss a sack by a would be tackler at the five on third down, by a few inches, that Showers was able to covert into a first down. The down, that missed tackle, those two inches Showers was able to keep his foot from the tackler's hand was the difference in the game between a win and a loss.
So, the Miners were able to add a third win to their total. The Miners have won half of their games. They have only three more wins needed out of the six left to be bowl eligible. I am usually a very optimistic person when it comes to the Miners. I have a tendency to be ridiculously so. I am kind of in limbo as we take a bye week to prepare for our next challenge. There are some Lobos and Aggies type teams on our schedule that could end up sending us to post season play. But, I could easily see us losing to any or all of them just as well.
That is how I see things this season. As for the hope that we can continue to move away from the past and the fear that we may be slipping back, the first six weeks have given me nothing to go on, either way. We could be 0-6 but we aren't, so there is that. We have more wins already this year than we had in all of last year, and we are only half way through the season.
The best thing, the only thing this old Miner can do is keep the pick handy and take it to work and see what we can dig up. Grab your picks, y'all. We gotta keep digging, blasting, working and trying.
Re: OPT: UTEP vs. Xavier, Round II Wooden Legacy by chanson
[Today at 08:06:18 PM]
Re: OPT: UTEP vs. Xavier, Round II Wooden Legacy by kyyote
[Today at 07:53:25 PM]
Re: OPT: UTEP vs. Xavier, Round II Wooden Legacy by Austintacious
[Today at 06:18:25 PM]
Re: OPT: UTEP vs. Xavier, Round II Wooden Legacy by Ed Hock-A-loogy
[Today at 05:55:48 PM]
OPT: UTEP vs. Xavier, Round II Wooden Legacy by dude_miner
[Today at 05:27:25 PM]