EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – It’s well-known in El Paso that Dana Dimel came to UTEP from Kansas State in 2017, after serving as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator from 1995-1996 and again from 2009-2017.

Under the legendary Bill Snyder, Dimel helped guide the Wildcats to within arm’s reach of playing for the 2012 national championship. He cut his teeth in the 1980s and 1990s in Manhattan after playing for the Wildcats, before venturing to Wyoming and Houston as a head coach.

Much like Dimel, first-year Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables got his start as an assistant under Snyder in 1993, after playing at K-State in 1991 and 1992. Therefore, Dimel and Venables go way back and have similar backgrounds.

After playing there from 1984-1986, Dimel was first on staff in a variety of roles at K-State from 1987-1996 as an offensive assistant. In 1991, Venables came to Manhattan and played as a linebacker in the 1991 and 1992 seasons.

From 1991-1996, Dimel and Venables were in Manhattan, first as a player and a coach, but then from 1993-1996 as colleagues on opposite sides of the football. They got to know each other well and as UTEP gets set to face Venables’ ninth-ranked Sooners on Saturday, they know the other’s tendencies and are looking forward to the meeting.

“Bill Snyder is one of the best offensive minds in the history of college football, in my opinion, and that’s Dana’s root system,” Venables said earlier this week. “He’s done a nice job wherever he’s been. His guys will play loose and aggressive; that’s who Dana is.”

Venables has had a lot of success as an assistant coach in college football, but Saturday will be his head-coaching debut. He came back to Norman after 10 seasons as the defensive coordinator at Clemson, helping guide the Tigers to a pair of national championships.

He left K-State for Oklahoma in 1999 and was in Norman from 1999-2011 as the defensive coordinator for one of the most successful runs in OU history.

Venables put together some potent defenses in his time at OU and at Clemson and Dimel believes he already has the personnel on hand in Norman to vastly improve the unit from a season ago.

“I think they’ve recruited the same type of athlete that fit into the type of systems that Brent wants to have. He has plenty of athleticism just like he had at Clemson, plenty of length and size to work with so he can do anything that he needs to do,” Dimel said.

After a 31-13 loss to North Texas to open the season in Week 0, UTEP is looking at an 0-2 start to the season, as they’re 31.5-point underdogs to the Sooners.

That said, the Miners will look to make Venables’ head coaching debut more difficult than he’d like it to be on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. MT on FOX.