EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – As UTEP enters its third week of fall camp, the Miners harbor high hopes of heading to a bowl game once again and perhaps even more than that.
The key to a big season at UTEP might be the boys up front on the offensive line.
In Dana Dimel’s sixth season with the Miners, UTEP will return four of its five starters on the offensive line and a fifth – Zuri Henry – that has started 24 games during his UTEP career.
The foursome of Steven Hubbard, Elijah Klein, Justin Mayers and Andrew Meyer made up 80 percent of Pro Football Focus’s 2023 preseason all-Conference USA team. All of them were also all-CUSA selections in 2022.
“It all starts with us up front. As long as we go, I think the offense can go. If the offense can go, then I think we’ll have a good day out there,” said Meyer.
Outside of the starting five, UTEP also has as much depth as its had on the line in Dimel’s tenure. The Miners would ideally like to have 9-10 linemen that they trust and they’re nearly to that mark.
The fact that so many players have been able to challenge for time and push the five players expected to start is a positive sign for Dimel.
“That’s a strength of our football team, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to get better and they have gotten better to a man,” said Dimel. “There’s a lot of leadership and experience and they’re doing a really good job with that.”
Players like Aluma Nkele, Sedrick Luke, Ivan Escobar and Nick Scalise were all names mentioned by Dimel. True freshman Tyrone McDuffie III, a Parkland graduate, will likely redshirt in 2023 but is coming along nicely as well.
“I feel like it’s just a group of good guys who are inspired to be out here right now,” said Klein. “It’s honestly been great to push all of us older guys to have these younger guys come in and bring a breath of fresh air.”
UTEP will open the 2023 season on Aug. 26 on the road at Jacksonville State at 3:30 p.m. MT on CBS Sports Network.