Week 10: UTEP football press conference transcript


Photo Courtesy: Ruben R. Ramirez

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP head coach Dana Dimel spoke with the media Monday in advance of the team’s upcoming road game at North Texas on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas.

Head Coach Dana Dimel

Recapping the LA Tech game:

“One of the things during the week was the emphasis on minimizing penalties. We did do a much, much better job on that. We had three penalties. One was a substitution penalty and two were defensive penalties that we had. That was a positive part of the game. The negative part was our turnovers. I felt like we came out and started to move the ball very well. It was the second drive of the game where we took it 13 plays for a good, long possession drive that was mostly stimulated by the passing game, which is a little bit different for us to attack in that manner. We came back again later in the half and had some other good drives going. We had the bad snap, which was a critical, critical error for us. It leads to points off a turnover for them. Then, we come back on the next drive and have a good drive going with good consistency, good combination of run and pass, but then we had the fumble. We just have to be much better. We can’t do that on any side of the field. We can’t be fumbling the football because that is a dramatic thing to overcome in a game. Those were some critical errors that really switched the whole momentum of the game. When you are playing a 6-1 football team that is on a six-game winning streak and you give them advantages like that and momentum switches like that, it is hard to overcome.”

“I didn’t think we played very well defensively. We can play so much better defensively than what we played. That is the first game all season where we have really taken a relatively healthy team out to the field, but I felt like we just didn’t play well defensively. To me, it was partly their execution, but we can be so much better with what we are doing. We will work on getting that fixed. We will face a really, really good quarterback again. This is two weeks in a row we are facing quarterbacks who are three- and four-year starters and had prolific careers, so that is always a big challenge. We know how important it is to have experience at that position. That will be a big challenge for us with the North Texas game.”

“We have to eliminate the turnovers. For an overall synopsis, we did some positive things in our passing game. We really increased the efficiency of our passing game. We had six or seven difference receivers catch the ball, which is what we would like to do all the time in our offensive scheme. We were better on our third down efficiency. We have been really good all year on fourth down and that is important. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that are starting to take shape, but we have to eliminate the mistakes that cost us football games. We are closing that gap with our opponents. LA Tech is having a good year, but that game could have been so much different if we had not lost momentum early with those turnovers.”

On facing North Texas on the road this week:

“I talked a little bit about (Mason) Fine and what type of quarterback he is. He has two receivers that he likes to go to who are really good players for them. He is going to try and work those guys as much as he can. They have a good stable running back in the backfield. They have a very good offense. They have been good in the conference for the last three or four years. It is going to be a big test for us.”

“Defensively, I know they have some experienced defensive linemen that have played well for them. They are coming off a really tough loss last week to Charlotte where they were ahead for most of the game by two touchdowns and then lost the game with 16 seconds left on a long pass play from scrimmage from the quarterback. It was a tough loss for them.”

“It will be a challenge for us, but again, I think that in a lot of ways we are getting closer and we just have to play better defensively, eliminate the mistakes on offense, continue to be balanced with what we are doing offensively, continue to throw the ball downfield like we did last week. I thought that was really positive. I thought our offensive line at times was coming off the ball and doing some really effective things in the run game last week as well. There were really some spurts where we were playing good, quality football. The things that have to be eliminated are just the mistakes that cost us momentum and field position. That is what we will work on all week. Now, it is just about showing improvement. We have five games that we can be very competitive in and they are exciting opportunities for us. We just take it one practice at a time and keep working to improve because that is what the season is all about.”

On the plan for quarterback vs. North Texas:

“Right now, Kai (Locksley) is going to be the starter for the ball game. Brandon’s status is up in the air right now and still questionable at this point for the upcoming ball game. That’s where we are at right now.”

On preparing to face a team similar to LA Tech:

“Monday is our day to get things fixed. It is going to be important for us to be diverse with what kind of coverages and what kind of looks that we give them defensively. The thing we need to do better that we didn’t do well was with detachments and the perimeter passing game. That really hurt us. They threw a few balls downfield on us last week, but it was more just the short game and North Texas will take advantage of that if you don’t get those things fixed. Again, we have been really good for the most part defensively against that, so last week was something that we have to get fixed fast.”

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