UTEP preparing for different quarterback rotation with Jones hurt

UTEP

EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – With quarterback Brandon Jones expected to miss Saturday’s game against Louisiana Tech with an injury, UTEP has been forced to change things around at quarterback ahead of Saturday.

The Miners will still start Kai Locksley under center, head coach Dana Dimel said on Wednesday, but sophomore Gavin Hardison will have a much bigger role than he normally would.

The junior college transfer has moved into the backup role and will have to be ready at a moment’s notice against the Bulldogs. Dimel also threw out the idea of putting Hardison in the game anyways, just to get him some experience. With the NCAA’s new redshirt rule, players can see action in up to four games and still remain eligible to redshirt the season.

“It would not be out of the realm of possibility that he might play some in this ball game this weekend,” Dimel said. “We are going to work toward preparing him toward that angle and getting him more and more reps and just see how the week plays out. He would be the first guy that would have the opportunity to get in there and play. we are going to keep trying to bring him along and see if we can get him in some of these games down the stretch.”

For his part, Hardison is preparing like he’s going to play the entire game, even if he doesn’t get off the bench. It’s what he’s done all season long.

“Every week, I’ve been preparing like I was going to play. You never know what can happen,” Hardison said. “One or two plays and you can be in the game, so every week I try to prepare like I’m playing. If not, I’m going to help Kai (Locksley) through the game and tell him what I’m seeing and help win the game.”

The Miners and Bulldogs will tee it up at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Sun Bowl.

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