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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.
October 26, 2014, 02:29:52 PM by kyyote | Views: 384 | 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: 591 | 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.
October 05, 2014, 03:43:43 PM by kyyote | Views: 414 | Comments: 3
The one thing that we can be sure of is that everyone in here is a Miners fan. It is hard to find anything good to say about the football team's performance yesterday. Most of us have a tendency to be human, and because of that we can get all fired up like Captain Kirk, but few of us can attain the level of detached logic and reason of a Mr. Spock. We end up with Captain Bly demanding hangings from yardarms and Dr. Spock treating us like anxious mothers dealing with a touch of diaper rash. Then you have Captain Bly calling for the stretching of Dr. Spock's neck, the whole crew takes sides and you end up with the crew tearing up the frickin' ship, setting it on fire, and being eaten by some space version of a crackin. So, let us keep in mind that there will be different reactions to where the team is, what the game looked like, and that sort of thing let's begin with the premise that we all love our Miners.
It seems to me that since talking about the good will be somewhat limited and a message board is usually fun and attracts others when it is talking about things people enjoy, we should embrace whatever good stuff we can find like a lifesaver thrown to a drowning man. If someone finds something they find positive but you question it, allow some latitude and a tolerant hand is appropriate when you keep in mind that a Miners fan's mental state may be somewhat fragile( the are rumors of players suffering from PTSD) and be gentle when responding. Don't be that guy yelling, "Jump!".
As for talking about the bad, well, like I said that isn't as much fun and tends to forment unrest, and eventually can lead to distruction. But, this and no disco, this ain't no party, this ain't no fooling around, and people are going to want to have their say. They should! No time for dancing, no time for lovey dovey, I ain't got time for that now.
There are things that we know and things that we think, and things that we think that we know. For instance, we know that we are 2 and 3 after five games. Now, I think we can't pass the ball very well. Now here's where it gets tricky. It is those things that you know, but they are really what you think is known. Everyone knows that an aggie virgin is a nine year old that can out run her brothers and father. But, then there are aggies that claim that isn't so.
We know that we have a first time head coach. We know that there was a big loss of players who were here prior to Kugler's arrival. We know we have scrapped continuity for restart. We know that the team is relatively young. Those things that we know, we know had an impact on the team. The fact that Kug is a first time head coach won't change. The loss of players will be mitigated with the passing of time, although this could be a much greater factor than it might appear at first glace. The restart will become a memory. Eventually. But this, and the loss of players are subjects for debate. The loss of players, and the impact it had, while debatable is not something that can be changed. Finally, the players will grow older. Unless they die that is not debatable. The affect that age has on the team is debatable.
Next week we get our 100th year Homecoming. We are playing a team that just joined the conference, and just started playing football at this level this year. What a perfect set up. This is the kind of match up the big boys get all drool slobbery over. Me, I'm thinking this is UTEP, the Miners I have known for so many years, the team I have seen last year and this is set up for a UTEP style loss. At Homecoming. 100 year celebration. Some of it is the funk and feeling of despondency, some of it is the way we lost yesterday in a comedy of errors, that appeared to be ready to burst last week, and the feeling of having been here before. The thing is, it is more than that. It is the knowledge that they were a very good team at the level below us. How many of you think we could beat the top teams of the FCS division? Plus, I have watched them rip up real football teams. Plus, plus, we have been shown to not only come to a screeching halt when the run is stopped, we find ways to find ways to do stupid, inexplicable, unlucky, unwise, insane things. They like to put up points. We like to run time off the clock. Unfortunately, the "W" or "Win" is determined by points not time. I am afraid that like Coach Kugler said about K State, and like we saw for our own eyes against LA Tech, we are not going to match up well against ODU. Their quarterback is a flat out stud with lots and lots of experience who can get 300 yards in the air and 200 yards on the ground against the Miners. They are licking their chops. They can smell the blood all the way back in Virginia. Meanwhile, you can bet your ass the Miners players are not exactly going into the game with confidence. Oh, and they won't be tight because of the 100 year Homecoming. Naw.
Man, oh man, won't I be relieved when we win. I won't be misled. I will be happy. I don't know that I could be much more disgusted than I am right now. It really is hard to measure disgust when it is at this level. I'm not sure it can be measured. If there were some kind of disgust scale, the Miners football team, over the years, might be used as a standard, that's for sure.
There are a whole bunch of other things to throw into the discussion, but my wife is calling me to the kitchen.
I have to admit that after the last two games, and taking stock of our two wins coming against perhaps the only two other teams as historically bad as the Miners and I have already given in to the idea of UTEP returning to it's former life of humiliating, disgusting, laughing stock football. I hope I am wrong, as it follows in a long list of recent disappointments. But, life goes on.
September 15, 2014, 09:50:36 AM by kyyote | Views: 491 | 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: 804 | 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.