EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — UTEP is 4-1 for the first time since 2010 and the Miners have gotten stellar play out of the quarterback position so far this season. But head coach Dana Dimel is throwing in a wrinkle this week, hinting at playing both of his quarterbacks against Southern Miss on Saturday.
Sophomore Gavin Hardison is who has the Miners offense marching up-and-down the field this season, however, when he went down with an injury against Old Dominion in the fourth quarter last week, sophomore Calvin Brownholtz entered the game at quarterback and sealed a win with a unique style of play: ground and pound.
“It’s nice to have that wrinkle in certain types of games where you can throw Calvin [Brownholtz] in there and let him do his thing,” said Dimel. “Then Gavin [Hardison] can obviously do his thing, which both of those guys are talented at that part of their game.”
Brownholtz, who started one game for the Miners in 2020, has carried the ball 20 times for 57 yards and a touchdown this season. He rushed for 29 yards on eight carries in UTEP’s final scoring drive against the Monarchs, which is something we could see more of moving forward.
“It might be something we do throughout a game. It makes people prepare for it. We have a lot of stuff [for opponents] to prepare for,” said Dimel. “That’s what the ODU coaches told me after the game. He told me, ‘when you guys start doing that stuff, you are a real nightmare to prepare for.”
Brownholtz hasn’t thrown it much this season, but he’s perfectly capable of doing so. He threw for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns in a start against North Texas last season. Brownholtz has been one of Dimel’s go-to guys in short yardage and goal-to-go situations, which means he’s always ready to play.
“During the game, I’m the signal caller,” said Brownholtz. “I’m always right there next to the play, so, whenever my name is called on those QB sneaks, I’m right there. I’m prepared to go in every play.”
Hardison, meanwhile, is averaging 228 passing yards per game, completing nearly 60 percent of his passes and has thrown for eight touchdowns. He gives UTEP the best chance to win by playing the position as it is traditionally played, but Brownholtz’s physicality adds another element to the offense, and it could open things up for the Miners through the rest of Conference USA play.