Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the UTEP Miners season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: UTEP Miners
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– UTEP Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
It’s been a while since Dana Dimel did this head coaching thing.
After three good years at Wyoming in the late 1990s, he had a rough run at Houston going 8-26 before being let go after the 2002 season. The former Kansas State offensive coordinator under Bill Snyder took his old job back in 2009, and he was a part of the program’s resurgence.
Now he gets to see what a real rebuilding job is like.
He’s getting a shot to turn around a program that’s known just one winning season since 2005, and is coming off a year as the worst team in college football scoring just 141 points in an 0-12 season.
How bad was it? The 15-14 loss to Western Kentucky was the only game the Miners didn’t drop by at least 17 points.
Dimel knows what a winless season is like, going 0-11 at Houston in 2001. It wasn’t enough to keep his gig, but he managed a five-win improvement the following year. If he can get UTEP to five wins this season, he’ll be in the mix for Coach of the Year honors.
It all starts with an offense that completely lost its way – and that’s where Dimel should be able to change things around.
UTEP scored more in the final four games of the 2016 season than it did all of last year. Now, if nothing else, the attack will start to push the ball down the field more, will get more dynamic play out of the skill spots, and it should start to be more fun.
Only five starters return on the offensive side, but again, Dimel knows how to get an O going. He’s got veteran quarterback Ryan Metz to work with, and dynamic option in Kai Locksley to get a shot at the gig, and enough veteran skill players to expect more.
The ground game gets Dimel’s son – Winston – from Kansas State, and now, even with the loss of blasting guard Will Hernandez, there’s hope for the production to be a bit better if the line can merely be decent.
Most of the top tacklers are gone, but the new 4-2-5 alignment plays into the strength of the defense – the secondary. Nik Needham is a good one at corner, Kahani Smith is a producer at one safety spot, and just enough parts are back up front to expect more of a pass rush – with a little bit of luck.
And that’s mostly what the program needs.
After so many down years, it needs a break, it needs some luck, and it needs Dimel to be the right guy at the right time.
The program is starting over, Dimel is rebooting his head coaching career, and now it’s a fresh start for all.