EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP football kicked off its preparations for the 2023 season with their first spring practice on Glory Field on Monday morning.

It was the first of 15 scheduled spring practices the program will have in the next month and a half.

This spring, UTEP hopes to set a foundation for this year’s new look team. UTEP welcomes in 25 new, scholarship players. They also return some familiar faces from last year’s team. UTEP is aiming to use this spring to get all the new additions up to speed with the system, continue to develop returning talent, and find out who will be the backup quarterback for the returning Gavin Hardison after the departure of Calvin Brownholtz.

“We had a really good off season to this point. I think we’ve really learned how to work at an even higher level going into this year and I could see it from our first day,” UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said. “The type of tempo that we’re practicing with is really good. And specifics, obviously it’s replacing some of the guys that we lost. That’s always a big emphasis for each and every football team. And our big emphasis is the backup quarterback position, getting some of our younger backs or our newer backs that we really liked to play at the level we know they can play at. It is the same with the receiver position, so those are all the things we’re looking to do.”

Redshirt junior Kevin Hurley, junior Cade McConnell, and sophomore Jake McNamara are the three quarterbacks on the spring roster that are battling it out for the backup quarterback spot, per Dimel.

“We have to make sure right now it’s an open competition, so they’re getting the equal number of reps for our backup quarterback position,” Dimel said. “As one of them starts to show themselves, we’ll make some moves, but we don’t plan on doing that quickly because they’re going to have to really show that they’re doing a good job and really compete well and be really consistent with their effort. I am really looking forward to those guys getting the reps they need to get and improving throughout spring. Obviously, that’s a huge focus for us.”

UTEP is also expected to announce who will be the team’s new offensive coordinator after Dave Warner retired in the offseason.

Dimel said that he has made a hire and it was one made within. Dimel said he is hoping to make the announcement sometime this week.

To see UTEP football’s full spring practice schedule, click here.