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* The Haskins Award and the Fire In The Hole Award

* Schedule

2013-14 SCHEDULE
Overall
20-9
Conf.
10-4
Home
13-5
Away
6-2
Neutral
1-2
 
Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result
10/26/13 Orange & White Scrimmage # Don Haskins Center 6:00 p.m. MT
11/02/13 vs. Southeastern Oklahoma # Don Haskins Center W, 91-63
11/09/13 vs. Loyola (N.O.) Don Haskins Center W, 84-49
11/15/13 at New Mexico State Las Cruces, N.M. L, 86-73
11/17/13 vs. West Alabama (Battle 4 Atlantis home game) Don Haskins Center W, 67-46
11/19/13 vs. Colorado State Don Haskins Center W, 82-74
11/23/13 vs. New Mexico State Don Haskins Center L, 77-68
11/28/13 vs. Tennessee (Battle 4 Atlantis) TV Paradise Island, Bahamas W, 78-70
11/29/13 vs. Iowa (Battle 4 Atlantis) TV Paradise Island, Bahamas L, 89-53
11/30/13 vs. Kansas (Battle 4 Atlantis) TV Paradise Island, Bahamas L, 67-63
12/07/13 vs. Sacramento State Don Haskins Center W, 69-51
12/16/13 vs. New Orleans Don Haskins Center L, 71-69
12/19/13 vs. Northwestern State Don Haskins Center W, 84-74
12/21/13 at Washington State Pullman, Wash. W, 64-51
12/23/13 vs. Montana State Don Haskins Center W, 70-55
12/28/13 vs. Western Illinois (WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational) Don Haskins Center W, 67-64
12/29/13 vs. Denver (WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational) Don Haskins Center W, 60-54 (2OT)
01/04/14 vs. Angelo State # Don Haskins Center L, 75-70
01/09/14 vs. Charlotte * TV Don Haskins Center L, 73-68
01/11/14 vs. Marshall * Don Haskins Center W, 66-56
01/16/14 at Middle Tennessee * Murfreesboro, Tenn. W, 63-54
01/18/14 at UAB * Birmingham, Ala. W, 63-61
01/25/14 vs. UTSA * TV Don Haskins Center W, 81-62
01/30/14 vs. La Tech * Don Haskins Center W, 89-79
02/01/14 vs. Rice * Don Haskins Center W, 68-57
02/06/14 at East Carolina * TV Greenville, N.C. W, 58-47
02/08/14 at Old Dominion * Norfolk, Va. W, 63-49
02/13/14 vs. Florida Atlantic * Don Haskins Center L, 71-69
02/15/14 vs. FIU * Don Haskins Center W, 84-71
02/20/14 at Tulane * New Orleans, La. W, 72-54
02/22/14 at Southern Miss * TV Hattiesburg, Miss. L, 77-68
02/27/14 vs. Tulsa * Don Haskins Center L, 65-60
03/02/14 at North Texas * TV Denton, Texas 1:00 p.m. MT
03/06/14 at UTSA * San Antonio, Texas 6:00 p.m. MT
03/11/14 Conference USA Championship Day 1 Don Haskins Center TBA
03/12/14 Conference USA Championship Day 2 Don Haskins Center TBA
03/13/14 Conference USA Championship Day 3 Don Haskins Center TBA
03/14/14 Conference USA Championship Day 4 Don Haskins Center TBA
03/15/14 Conference USA Championship Day 5 Don Haskins Center TBA

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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.

September 15, 2014, 09:50:36 AM by kyyote | Views: 223 | Comments: 5

When the Miners were getting ready to play Texas Tech, I said that the Miners were due for a big win. They almost got that big win, too. I believe that if the passing game had been clicking just a little that night the outcome might have been different. The good news is that the Miners worked out some kinks in the passing game against the aggies.  More good news, the Miners have a bye week to prepare for a ranked K-State team, and beating them would be a better win than one over the Red Raiders. Even more good news, Kansas State will have to take on Auburn and that could take a little wear and tear on them, while at the same time the Miners will be healed and fresh.

The Auburn game will tell us a little more about the Wildcats.  We know they had hell with Iowa State before pulling it out.  It seems that they may have a little trouble stopping the run. Oh, really!  The trouble is they have a stud dual threat quarterback, and we have trouble stopping the deep pass.  The Wildcats can score, but only if they are on the field.  The Miners will be able to run.  More importantly, the Miners will make the KSU offense watch the Miners run.  The Miners pass defense will be the problem and the answer.  Because the Miners will force the Wildcats to go with the easy yards through the air, they will get their yards that way, and score.  But, here is the catch, like the man said, there are three things that can happen on a pass, and two of them are bad.  UTEP's pass defense is kind of strange.  The long bomb seems to be there, but, and this is big, the Miners are able to get pressure on the opponent's quarterback.  So, the receivers may be open, but the quarterback may be running for his life to get the pass off to him.  This is the key.  Kansas State will get more desperate as the game wears on and their defense wears down, and it will be the interception that decides the game.

Final Score, the Miners go to the Little Apple and get their first big win of the Kugler era 38 to 35.
September 07, 2014, 11:13:57 AM by UTEPDefense | Views: 445 | Comments: 13

In summary, I am extremely encouraged by our teams' first two games.  We were so bad last season, yet we first started this season with a road win and then I feel that we showed solid improvement from week one to week two.  I read a message from a Lobo fan this morning saying how surprised he is that Kugler has been able to turn things around so quickly.  Trust me, I feel that Lobo fans would rather have Kugler than Davies if they could.

-  I don't want to say anything negative about Play Calling today because it appears that everyone else has already pounced on that, plus I genuinely like our Coaching Staff.  But what I will represent are 2 simple thoughts:

1.). During our first 2 drives that resulted in FG's, we drove down and created a First and Goal on both drives.  We then threw the ball on 5 of the 6 total Goal Line plays, forcing us to then kick 2 Field Goals.  The only play that we got under Center and ran it, was for a succesful 5 yard gain.  If we want to be a smash mouth football team then be it!  If they stop our running game then you kick a Field Goal, but don't simply abandon what we do best.

2.).  We got under Center and ran the ball exetremely well with Aaron Jones on our first drive.  But then we did not give Aaron Jones a handoff from an under-Center snap until the fourth drive of the game.  That is our best play with our best player.  Texas Tech went 2 complete series without having to defend what we do best, because we chose not to make them defend it. 

- Our toss sweep with Jones has still not been stopped for a negative gain yet this season.  For some puzzling reason we also still have not run it in a goal line situation.  If something works 100% of the time, as this play has, then why not run it more!

- Showers running the Read Option worked well, however, we only ran it twice.  The other Showers designed runs were okay, but not as succesful.  We should maybe look at using him in the read option more, if we feel like running with him.

-  I will completely defend Coach Kugler and the way that he handled the end of the first half.  Under MP, I watched UTEP mismanage the end of so many halfs.  There were numerous times when UTEP would get the ball back at the end of a half, yet go 3 and out, then other teams would get the ball and score again before half.  Tech had the momentum at that point, UTEP was going to get the ball to start the second half, so I understand running out the clock.  Plus it is Kugler's job to manage the game and place his team in a position to win at the end of the game, and last night he did that. 

-  Texas Tech runs their Program like a bunch of undisciplined jokers.  They had 3 seperate side-line warnings, they played 2 guys with the same number, they have had something like 24 penalties in their first 2 games, they go for 2 instead of kicking an extra point in a tied game and taking the lead.  Personally, I love the way that UTEP and Kugler run our Program, especially compared to the way that Tech runs their Program, and I believe that the results of doing things the right way will eventually pay-off for us(in fact they already have begun paying off for us).

-  UTEP plays some old school smash mouth football and I love it.  There were so many big hits last night; from Josh Bell destroying a Tech player on a lead block, to Adrian James blowing up #4 on a 2-point conversion attempt.  Our team is developing an attitude and toughness that quite frankly UTEP football has rarely ever seen.

-  Our Tackling was again solid and continues to improve.  I am so impressed with the leverage techniques and fundamentals that were instilled in our team over the offseason.  We were possibly the worst tackling team in America last year, yet in just a few short months we are now becoming better and getting extremely solid at a phase of the game that most college teams are getting gradually worse at.

- We still have not turned the ball over yet this season.  This again goes back to the discipline and attention to detail that our Program is beginning to play under.  And while Showers and our Passing Game have been sub-par, Showers does deserve a lot of credit for us not committing a single turn-over.

-  Someone else mentioned the 2004 Boise State game and that was exactly what last night reminded me of as well.  In 2004 we thought we had a good team, but we didn't now how good, until Boise came in and had to sneek out a late win.  Last night's game had a lot of similarities to that.

- We rushed for 277 yards against a Texas Tech team that some think could be the 3rd best team in the Big 12.  Out of the 7 guys most involved in our running game(5 OL, 1 RB, 1 FB), 5 of our 7 guys are Underclassmen.  Just think about how encouraging that is!

- Mike Price was also able to get his teams to play similarly well in Septembers.  But what Mike Price was never able to do, was to also get his teams to play at that same high level in Novembers.  For me that will be the next measurement of success for Kugler's Program.  Can he keep his team playing at a tough competitive level for an entire season?

- If you would have told me before the season that these games would have been our first 2 game results, I would have taken them in a heart-beat and been happy. Please remember that Kugler had to completely tear down a 3 win football team and rebuild the Program from the ground bottom.  This was only Kuglers 6th home game ever!  Our Program is still in the beginning stages of being built.  It is great to see that we are improving and we are building a solid foundation to build upon.  After so many years of feeling discouraged, this team has given UTEP fans a lot to be encouraged about!  I have said this many times before, but I honestly feel that we are finally moving in the right direction with the right philosophies!

- Up next is NMSU.  I have watched both of NMSU's games on the ESPN App. and they are getting better also.  I really like their new JC QB and their Freshman RB(Rose) is a Howard Jackson type of player, although he does not have Howards elite speed.  They have big WR's who go up and get the ball.  Their WR's don't run a lot of go routes, but their outside WR's run a lot of 10 yard stops at the sticks/skinny posts, etc.  UTEP CB's will need to play up on those routes, as NMSU have not shown the effort(or willingness) to throw the ball down the field on go routes as Texas Tech did.  I also am not sure if NMSU will be good enough upfront defensively to stop UTEP.  But NMSU is improving and I do think that UTEP could struggle if they have a let down or do not come ready with the same intensity as last night.
August 30, 2014, 09:54:11 PM by UTEPDefense | Views: 732 | Comments: 20

- First, what a great way to open the season with a Road Victory.  This win(especially tonight's first half performance) was a nice surprise and it is something that can really help our Program in terms of gaining the experience of a big Character Win and helping the kids build some much needed confidence.

- Our Defense was advertised to be much improved and they honestly were.  Yes, we struggled some during the 2nd half and things looked a little sketchy at times.  We also got a bit lucky with their QB going out, but those are the breaks of the game.  Our great defensive performance in the first half placed us in a position to still come up with a win despite having some bad late moments, so we earned that.  The defense also came up with a big stop and three turnovers in the 4th quarter.  I was looking for improvement and while we still have a ways to go, I thought our defense showed very good improvement.

- I was very critical of Anthony Puente last year, but he played better tonight than he did during any game last year.  Trey Brown made some very good inside-out plays, Alvin Jones also made a couple of eye-catching plays and we didn't even see too much of Musgrave.  Overall, I am pleased with our LB's.

- I thought our D-Ends(Usher and Roy) were very promising.  Usher has a chance to get after QB's when we face normal passing teams.

- Erving was outstanding at times coming out of the secondary.

- We have now had 2 different Coaching Staff's talk about how much they love Wesley Miller.  He was not bad tonight, but the guy just seems to always have his moments on the field where he struggles.  Tonight he had the QB responsibility on a lot of option runs yet he just could not get the job done(including a 4th down where he incorrectly collapsed down inside on the RB, even though his responsibility(QB) ran for an easy first down.)

- I was very impressed with our tackling.  By comparison, we were MUCH BETTER tacklers tonight than the Lobo's.  In fact, I would say that this was one of our better tackling perfomances in recent memory, there were not a lot of missed tackles by us tonight.

- I saw a few Lobo's cramping up, but I didn't see any Miners cramping up.  Kudos to Coach Kugler and his Staff for that.  It was very frustrating to watch a lot of our players cramp up in the opener against OU a few years ago, even though OU was the team that came out to the desert and didn't have that same problem.  I am glad that Kugler has been able to get his guys physically ready for Openers.

- I believe(and hope) that we also avoided any major injuries tonight which is also great.

- Our Kicking game had no issues tonight despite being dreadful at times last year.  We had no blocked kicks, we made a FG, had a booming punt and then another solid(and much needed) punt later coming out of our deep end of the field.  Again, I am happy that there is improvement.

- Our Toss Sweep was not stopped all night long.  It worked against UNM last year and it worked again this year.  I am just dispointed that it was run more.

- It was great to see our young O-Line play as great as they did.  Kugler says that he is extremely hard on them and you can see that they are developing a toughness and physical attitude to them.  For them to have 4 new Starters but play so well was extremely promising for the future.

- Aaron Jones is special.  Nathan Jeffery also was very good tonight.  Both of them gained a ton of yards after contact and they both played tough!

- We only had 2 penalties tonight in a Season-Opener, which is outstanding especially for an opening game with 4 new O-Lineman.  That is also a credit to Kugler and a good sign of discipline.

- I think Hamilton has a chance to have a great season at WR.  Shaw surprised me and was better than I had envisioned.

- My only concerns were that I just wish that we would have kept doing what works.  As an example, in the 3rd quarter we were pounding UNM right up the middle but then for some reason on 2nd and 4 we decide to go back to the Shot Gun and snap the ball over our QB's head.  Just keep pounding them, don't get cute.  Then on our final drive we ran the toss sweep for a big first down, but then threw the ball on 2 of the next 3 plays and had to punt.  Thankfully they fumbled the punt, but Again, when we are dominating them on the ground and the Toss Sweep has not been stopped all night, just stay with it.  The Toss Sweep wide would have also worked great on the 4th and Goal, when they pinched everybody inside.  But all of this is just my opinion and it is always easier to look on things from the outside.

- Kugler has still never lost in the state of New Mexico! :) Tonight, he also matched half of his win total from all of last year.

- Overall, I am very pleased.  I have defended Sean Kugler on these boards for a year and a half now, so it is good to get a win like this, but more importantly, it was good to see so many different positive signs of program improvement tonight.
August 30, 2014, 09:18:00 AM by kyyote | Views: 291 | Comments: 4

with orange colored lenses.

Thinking about this game between two supposedly bad teams, both doing basically the same things badly, but a year better at it than they were last year, I was trying to decide who would win and what the score might be.  But, here is the thing, last year, the Miners were playing with a defense that was not just horrible, it was a defense that had undergone a change in coaches that had resulted in a team that had run off twenty-five percent of the players, and of the players that were still there you can only imagine what that environment was like.  Battles lines were drawn, lots of things were said.  Oh, and then there was the fact that the defensive coordinator left and a new one was brought in with a very different new scheme and you have a defense that was beyond horrible.  It bordered on being subversive. It was damned sure chaos, and unlike anything I had ever seen take the field.  That is not the case this year.

Last year, the offense looked like the head coach was an ex-offensive lineman and an experienced offensive line coach promoted to head coach.  They ran the ball.  Of course, part of the reason for this was to keep the dysfunctional defense off of the field.  The team did run the ball well enough to make the freshman Alvin Jones a star.  So, many feel like the running game, and the offense is in pretty good shape.  I saw the starting quarterback run for his life before getting injured on passing downs.  I saw our star running back, Nathan Jeffrey not be able to get anything going before Jones got his and then, because he probably is too small to have carried that kind of load, he was injured.  I have to believe the line will be much improved, as Kugler stockpiled linemen from the moment he got here and redshirted them.  Between added experience and depth in linemen recruited for the running game instead of the long armed pass protecting linemen Price used, the line should be able to do a better job in both areas-pass protection and run blocking.

So, with an improved offensive line and a defense that may only be horrible this year, we should be just about even with or maybe just a little behind in where we are compared to a similar team, the Lobos, at this time.  But, I do see things with an orange tint about this time every season and with that I am now seeing our defense as not being horrible.  I believe that this defense will have finished the purge mixed with the ability to work with one defensive coordinator for a year instead of a few weeks and will actually play not horribly.  Just playing anywhere near average would make a huge difference from what we had last year.

I think it will be our defense that wins this game.  I think our balance on offense because of Shower's arm will be offset by the Lobos' better running game.  What really makes this game tricky is that this is about the worst possible offense this defense will see, matchup wise.  Even so, our defense will be such an improved unit that it will shock a team or two that thinks this is the same team that played last year.
July 19, 2014, 11:05:19 AM by kyyote | Views: 739 | Comments: 10

When I first began attending Miners games I was a student at UTEP and it was 1982.  It was pretty tough financial times for me and my family and the student tickets made for a cheap night out with my wife and daughter.  It took awhile for me to get it about Miners football.  About the time I was understanding that winning games is not the first thing a Miners fan hoped for.  A Miners fan's first hope was that the team wouldn't be somehow noted as the goat, or worst team ever, or allowed a new national record, or set a new national record, in another blowout loss.  Then, and this was directly related to the first concern was a hope that no Miners player would be permanently injured.  In a sport where the ball takes funny bounces, I learned to hope that it might bounce our way once in a while and we could catch some team looking past us.  Of course, the ball usually bounced the other way as losing begets losing, and losers find a way to lose. 
Then, Bob Stull shocked the world and took the Miners to a fricken bowl game.  Well, actually he bailed on the team for Mizzou.  But, the team went.  That was more like what being a fan was like for all my years before the Miners.  You won some, lost some and every once in a while or so you did exceptionally well.
But, we immediately returned to form of being a doormat, foil, bug, tomato can, Sports Center laughing stock Miners of old.  Coaches finished off their careers here.  Young, fresh faced recently elevated assistant coaches got their chances here if they were foolish enough to take the job.  But, lose they certainly would, yet there is a fraternity of coaches and a stint at UTEP was sometimes seen as a badge of courage.  Next!
Mike Price came in and like Bob Stull he worked a magical turn around.  Unlike Stull he stayed.   Too long.  The magic evaporated as quickly as spit on an El Paso sidewalk in August.  The level of the fall wasn't like the old days though.  Instead of one or two wins a season Price's teams were getting four or five.  More than that, the Miners were competitive in the games they lost.  There was hope.
Finally given hope, demands for more rose and a new coach was brought in. I felt that the new coach would be able to come in and tighten up the little bit of looseness needed to turn those four and five win seasons into six or seven win seasons and maybe even more.
Before a game was played it began.  A quarter of the team was dismissed.  Well, I had been thinking a little discipline might be good.  But this?  Players had to walk back to their rooms in Alpine was the report.  Hmm.  Then the season began and the hot tub time machine had dropped me right back into the Dark Period of Miners football.  Yogi would have described it as like "Having that deja-vu feeling all over again". 
As this season nears, I am trying to decide if I should have hope or should I return to the old paradigm of hoping not to be humiliated. One thing Kugler has done by closing practices is to keep it all a secret and lower the energy level and enthusiasm of Miners fans.  Talk about not over selling.  It kind of goes along with my old blessed are those who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed philosophy.  Well, there is my answer.  Expect nothing.  While the rest of the country gears up for the season and set their expectations, some of which will be met or exceeded and some will come up short, I will go into this season with no expectations. No disappointments.
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* UTEP FOOTBALL 2014

Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result
08/30/14 at New Mexico TV Albuquerque, N.M. 6:00 p.m. MT
09/06/14 vs. Texas Tech TV El Paso, Texas 9:00 p.m. MT
09/13/14 vs. New Mexico State El Paso, Texas 6:00 p.m. MT
09/27/14 at Kansas State Manhattan, Kan. TBA
10/04/14 at Louisiana Tech * TV Ruston, La. 5:00 p.m. MT
10/11/14 vs. Old Dominion * El Paso, Texas 6:00 p.m. MT
10/25/14 at UTSA * San Antonio, Texas TBA