EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The first day of full padded practices anywhere in college football can become very physical very quickly.

Monday at UTEP certainly fit the bill. The intensity hit a crescendo late in the two-minute portion of practice, when a small altercation broke out between members of the offense and the defense. It was quickly broken up, and shouldn’t be looked at as a potential issue moving forward. Training camp fights are common throughout football at both the college and professional level.

It wasn’t the only physical moment in practice, though, and for a UTEP team hoping to build off of a 7-6 season and a New Mexico Bowl berth in 2021, it should be seen as a good sign that the Miners’ are willing to do whatever it takes to compete at a high level.

“The whole team’s collective perspective has changed. Everyone is bought in, everyone is together and this team is big on unity, coach Dimel is big on unity. Everything is coming together pretty well,” said 7th-year season Walter Dawn Jr.

Babe Laufenberg, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and father of the late Luke Laufenberg of whom the Miners honor in a myriad of ways, was on hand at practice and helping starting quarterback Gavin Hardison. Laufenberg is in town this week and will speak to the team.

One other nugget from day five of Miners camp on Monday: former UTEP wide receiver Justin Garrett has been named the Miners’ Director of Player Personnel, an announcement made by Dimel after practice.

UTEP’s second-leading receiver in 2021, Garrett caught 50 passes for 685 yards and four touchdowns as a beloved senior a season ago. Garrett looked at going pro, but instead chose to return to UTEP and help build his former team.

“He can help with the analytical stuff, he can’t do any coaching right now, but he’s really a nice mind and has some good ideas to share with us about schematics,” said Dimel. “He knows our system and knows the intricacies as well as anyone because he’s played in it. He’s really been a good addition.”

UTEP will open the 2022 campaign Aug. 27 at home vs. North Texas. Less than 10,000 tickets remain for the 7 p.m. kickoff at the Sun Bowl.