EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – After back-to-back 1-11 seasons in Dana Dimel’s first two years in El Paso, UTEP is hoping for a big improvement in the win column in 2020.
To do that, they’ve got to shore up a defense that was lacking at times a year ago, giving up nearly 36 points per game and was low on impact players in 2019. One of the best players from the defense a season ago does return, though.
Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Praise Amaewhule stepped up in a big way as a freshman, playing in all 12 games and leading the Miners in sacks (3) and tackles for loss (5.5). His work earned him a spot on the Conference USA All-Freshman team, but he wants to do even more this fall.
“I know how good I can be if I just get the technique right,” Amaewhule said. “I just have to get in and work on my footsteps, it’s the small things. My hand placement, eyes being at the right place at the right time. That’s all it is. I already know all the plays so it’s just about working on my technique stuff and my pass rush.”
Amaewhule’s talents have been on display at practice and head coach Dana Dimel said he’s added nearly 20 pounds of muscle to his already-impressive frame.
Dimel thinks Amaewhule has the potential to be on the level of some of the top players he’s been around in his long coaching career.
“He’s got a chance to be really special,” Dimel said. “He likes to play and he likes to practice. Guys like that are usually successful.”
Amaewhule and the Miners are scheduled to open the 2020 season at home on Sept. 5 vs. Stephen F. Austin.