2015-16 Football Previews – (C-USA) – Miners
The UTEP Miners were the team that was just kind of there in Conference USA. They were beat down by Louisiana Tech, gave Western Kentucky all they could handle, and even took out Old Dominion.
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Conference USA 2015-2016 College Football Preview – Texas El-Paso Miners
Head Coach: Sean Kugler
2015 Record: 7-6
UTEP Odds to win Conference USA: +2800
You were never really sure this Texas El Paso team would show up on a weekly basis. Still, it handled itself and got to seven wins and made it to a postseason bowl game where they were beat up by Utah State.
Utep’s offensive and defensive numbers are exactly what one would expect too. They averaged 26.6 points per game (84th) and allowed 28.1 (77th).
When they won, it would be by an average of 2 touchdowns. When they lost they would typically be down 3 scores.
All these stats and numbers really fit the identity of what UTEP football is. However, they have made it a point that this season is about identifying themselves and show the conference how good the program is.
It won’t be easy, but the Miners do have some talent and depth. If they get can off to a hot start within conference play, things could be come very interesting.
Letting the game come to them: UTEP doesn’t have the fire power or athletes to keep up with the class of the conference. However, they know what they are offensively and never try to get away from that.
Leading the charge for them in 2014 was RB Aaron Jones. The now-junior rushed for 1528 yards and 11 touchdowns.
There were only 8 teams in the nation that ran the ball more than UTEP did. UTEP knew they didn’t have many threats out wide and with a below average QB, mistakes with the pass game were bound to come about.
So what they did was exactly right, give the ball to Jones, run some clock and do it all over again.
This likely will be the same situation UTEP is in this coming season. It got them to post season bowl game and kept them in many games.
Passing: Clearly based on their strengths, the pass game is an obvious weakness. In 2014, Jameill Showers threw for just 1858 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 6 INTS. He rarely took chances down field and kept everything short and simple.
This offseason the Miners lost Showers and if you want to call them “most threatening” receivers and tight ends.
UTEP will likely make a decision on their QB for the season closer to the opening game. The likely candidate would be Mack Leftwich who will be a Sophomore this season. He is the only QB with game experience, but that came back in 2013. Leftwich had just 75 pass attempts however in that season.
2015 UTEP Miners Season Prediction: 4-8
UTEP regressed if anything this off season. They really have nothing in terms of offensive threats other than Jones and the defenses will realize that and stack the box.
Building some sort of, if any pass game is the main key for the 2015 season. If they can find a way to get even just a little threat within the passing game, defenses won’t be able to stack the box and blitz as much.
Keeping them honest is a must, but still, UTEP just doesn’t have enough to compete or make any sort of splash this season.
UTEP 2015 Schedule
|9/5/15||3:30 PM ET||@ARK|
|9/19/15||8:00 PM ET||@NMSU|
|11/6/15||8:00 PM ET||RICE|
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