POSTED: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 3:21pm
UPDATED: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 11:00am
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — UTEP Coach Sean Kugler hinted he might make a quarterback change but nobody expected him to name Mack Leftwich the starter against North Texas.
The true freshman will get Saturday's start.
"Our starting quarterback this week will be Mack Leftwich. We've informed all the quarterbacks and that's the way we practiced reps today and that's the way we'll do it moving forward," said Kugler.
The UTEP Coach had preached the importance of saving his redshirt freshmen even though the team has struggled to a 1-7 (0-4) season. However, a season ending shoulder injury to Jameill Showers and the Miners offensive struggles changed Kugler's mind. It came as somewhat of a surprise to the freshman.
"Obviously we needed to make a change, it was the kind of situation that he came up and I said I'd be willing to do it," said Leftwich.
"...Coach Kugler called me in his office and told me I was going to be the starter so been just trying to work all week to get ready and get some reps to prepar... I think just being a leader our there, being a true freshman it's kind of hard to come in and be a true leader but I think I can bring that to the table and just competing. I've always won every where I've been so that's what I'm going to try to do here."
Kugler pointed out Leftwich can still redshirt next season and have three years eligibility remaining. That's the Miners' plan assuming Showers is healthy in 2014.
"He's got great intangibles, he can make all the throws, he can make plays with his legs but he's got a great command and understanding of the game."
UTEP has struggled to score points and avoid turnovers following Showers injury. The Mines had six turnovers in the first six games of the season and seven turnovers in the last two games.
Leftwich is from North Allegheny High School in Wexford, PA where he was a two-year varsity letterman and tabbed as Pennsylvania Player of the year. Leftwich is the son of Spencer Leftwich, UTEP's assistant head coach and offensive line coach.