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Welcome El Paso Chihuahuas fans!
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.
August 30, 2014, 09:54:11 PM by UTEPDefense | Views: 375 | Comments: 16
- 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: 199 | 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: 664 | 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.
March 15, 2014, 10:24:45 AM by kyyote | Views: 1754 | Comments: 38
When it comes to basketball one player, one star player can take a team from obscurity to legend. If any team can get one of those special players they can automatically become a contender for a national championship. I am going to refer to those players as Stars. It doesn't matter whether the player plays in a top tier league or a low mid major conference. In their league, this is the standout player. Within that group is a subgroup I will call Superstars. Think Bird at Indiana State, Barkley at Auburn, Shaq, you get the idea. The mid majors Stars usually play professionally and the Superstars get to the NBA.
I listened to an analyst this morning say that the Kentucky team is a team of future NBA players. They aren't nearly as good a team as they should be considering the talent. They can be beat by a team that plays well together with a couple of Stars or a Superstar. VCU, Butler and the Shockers are perfect examples. In basketball, one player can make all the difference in the world.
For the top teams, Stars pile up. The rich are so rich that the poor have a feast with their table scraps. Derrick Caracter. At the mid major level coaches work to land Stars. Superstars are out of reach, or stolen. But sometimes the difference between a good player a Star and a Superstar is a matter of coaching.
I say we just need a Star or two here at UTEP. Tim Floyd has the ability to land Stars and create Stars. He can take a really good player and make a Star player out of him, and he can take a Star and turn him into a Superstar. Players know it and that is why he is able to compete with the big boys in recruiting wars. Fans know it and that is why we watch and wait. I think it is safe to say that we are getting impatient, which is natural. Take heart. I think we may have been so concerned with the forest that we haven't paid enough attention to the trees. The team was dealt a blow when Hamilton backed out. The team was dealt a blow when it lost three players. The team pulled together. This season we were all watching the team closely, so closely that I think we may have lost sight of the players. We are all so disappointed that a team we had come to love, a team that seemed to have overcome all of the obstacles placed before it and was coming home to play in The Don and lost that we may not be seeing what we have.
Julian Washburn is either a Star or is flirting with it and we forget that his best ball awaits him-and us-in 2014-15. Vince Hunter was the conference Freshman of the Year. He is poised to be a Star. So, next year the Miners will have two players that may just be Stars. Remember that a Star can make a huge difference, and a couple of them can be a ticket to success. Cooper will be steady, but playing at his natural position could be the difference from him being solid and flirting with Stardom. But, I think one of the trees we have not really paid enough attention to is Matt Wilms. He was not at full strength, and he was a freshman. The chance he becomes a Star is about as big as he is himself.
So as the season has come to a close and we wait to see if we play post season ball I see Tim Floyd beginning to pile up the Stars. I see next year starting the season with the Star or two we need already here. I see Hunter and Wilms being the Stars and the two will only be sophomores. The fact is, this team is going to be really fun to watch develop. I think Matt Wilms caused us to forget that Hooper Vint is just a kid. The Mexican food here in El Paso will put some meat on those bones, and that kid is a baller. He just doesn't have heft to bang the way he did in high school. But the kid isn't just tall. He has skills.
So, let's enjoy whatever basketball the team has yet to play this next week or so, and let's all keep up with the recruiting battles taking place, but let's not lose sight of the fact that in a world were "Wait until next year" is the mantra of the faithful, I am looking forward to next year already, and we haven't even finished this one.
February 16, 2014, 11:47:52 AM by kyyote | Views: 820 | Comments: 4
Looking at the rpi this morning, I found that Southern Miss, even with the loss at MTU, still has an rpi of 44. Losing to Middle Tennessee, at their place didn't hurt them much at all, and the win gave MTU an RPI of 74. Meanwhile, LA Tech continues to win, blowing Rice out like a Sumo wrestler after an E-lax chocolate shake enema, giving them an RPI of 78. UTEP's win Saturday night got the Miners' RPI back under 100, but barely at 98.
There are still a lot of games to be played before the end of the regular season, but at this point let's just say for arguments' sake that S. Miss. is able to stay in the low 40's in RPI and makes it to the championship game of the tournament before losing, I would say that they have made a case for an at large bid. Perhaps losing to one of the teams mentioned above would be the only way the loss wouldn't kill their chances. Then there's the natural sucking vortex created by the team from Tulsa. This is probably the one team in C-USA that figures the conference sucks and they really should be gone-and they will be. Trust me, nothing would make those fine folks feel better than to give each of the conference leaders a gut punch back to reality. Take notice of what they just did to Rice.
Like I said, there are really too many games, and too many chances for all of this to change to spend too much time with it yet.
One more thing I found looking at the RPI stats, and this one is troubling if you are a Miners fan. There is one stat that gives team's RPI for neutral and away games. Yeah, Buddy, let's see how the team does when they don't have that home cooking. Starting with Southern Miss, their RPI of 44 falls to 87 when they have to pack a bag. How about Middle Tennessee and LA Tech? They go from 74 and 78 to 104 and 85, respectively. Yes, but what about they Miners!?, you say. Ah, our Miners go from 98 at home to an RPI of 53 when we take our game on the road. Well, that would be really cool if the conference tournament wasn't being played in El Paso, this year. But, once again, like Kobayashi an hour after ten minutes of competition eating of maggot riddled road kill, I have to bring up Tulsa. Their RPI is 119 at home and 124 on the road.
So, there is a chunk of fat to chew on while we wait for our trip to The Big Easy.
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