EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – UTEP will play both Brandon Jones and Kai Locksley at quarterback on Saturday against Nevada, head coach Dana Dimel announced on Monday.
Jones will get the start against the Wolf Pack, as he did in the first two games, but Locksley will most certainly rotate in at some point, Dimel said. The Miners plan on riding the hot hand on Saturday; if Jones plays well, he’ll continue to get reps, but if Locksley enters the game and lights things up, he’ll remain in the game.
At any rate, playing two quarterbacks makes it harder for Nevada to get ready for UTEP.
“They both are different in preparation as you prepare for them,” Dimel said. “We need both of them to continue to improve as they get more experience. Both of them played just last year, so they don’t have a ton of experience, but what I want to see out of those guys is them continuing to elevate their games. But everyone can expect to see both of those guys play because they are both too good of players to have them both sitting on the bench.”
The rotation the Miners are planning on using against Nevada is a continuation of the quarterback conundrum they’ve had since June, when Locksley was arrested and subsequently suspended. Jones led the Miners until August when Locksley’s suspension was lifted, then started UTEP’s first two games against Houston Baptist and Texas Tech.
Jones played well against Houston Baptist, but struggled in the first half against the Red Raiders and was replaced at halftime by Locksley. Dimel said after the game in Lubbock that the Miners would make a decision about what to do with the two quarterbacks in the bye week.
Regardless of who is under center, the Miners will have their hands full against Nevada. The Wolf Pack are 2-1 with an upset of Purdue under their belt, and Dimel sees them as a good measuring stick for how UTEP could do the rest of the season.
“They’re an upper echelon Mountain West team, so if we can perform well against them, then we’re performing well against some of the better teams we’ll face on the remainder of our schedule,” Dimel said.
Nevada and UTEP will kickoff at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Sun Bowl.