POSTED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 4:12pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 10:43am
Irving, TX — Quotes from Conference USA media day, taking place in Irving, Texas:
Talk about returning to El Paso.
El Paso is special to me having played there and coached there for eight years. We are doing our best to get ready and are looking forward to starting camp soon to get ready for the season.
Tell us about the new coaching staff.
On offense Patrick Higgins, he was the coordinator in 2000 when we won the WAC Championship and he has had an outstanding career. He has been to places like BYU, Purdue and La Tech. He has great knowledge of the game and is an outstanding teacher and competitor.
On the defensive side, Scott Stoker his defensive stats for Sam Houston the last few years and their success and having the chance to play in the championship game the last two years speaks highly of him. He plays a style of defense that I want to have at UTEP, which is an attacking defense that plays a lot of man coverage. He is a great teach and has done a great job at implementing that defense.
How do you avoid injuries?
There are some seasons you go through no injuries and other seasons that you have injuries. We aren’t looking backwards, we are looking forward and even the guys that had injuries and missed spring due to surgeries those guys are on point and ready to go for camp. We are looking to stay healthy, you can’t really avoid that at all cost, but we are going to practice safe and teach the right technique.
How do you feel about playing in the Sun Bowl?
I’m comfortable and very proud of our stadium and there are things in the works to improve it and again I think it’s one of the best settings in college football. It’s a beautiful place to play at and I’m very excited to coach there.
Has campus changed much since your return to El Paso?
Well the area around campus has changed dramatically since I left in 2000 and campus has tripled in size. The area around it restaurants and things to do, it’s almost unrecognizable when I came back. The feedback that we have gotten from parents and recruits that have come out is great and they really love the area.
What do you think of the new conference?
All those programs really have outstanding coaches and it’s pretty neat for us to have the chance to develop rivalries with Texas schools like UTSA, Rice, North Texas because we recruit those areas and even La Tech with it’s proximity. Of course there are also some old ties to the old WAC conference. I’m excited about it but every team that I face this year is going to be a new team being a new head coach but we are looking forward to the challenge each week.
What kind of team do you want to be?
We certainly want to be a physical team and we don’t want to just talk about it. We are going to approach it that way at practice and our off season conditioning are structured as such so we are hoping that physical play will improve and that will give us the best chance to win on Saturday’s.