Week 11 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 home game versus Charlotte on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.

Head Coach Dana Dimel

Recapping the North Texas game:

“We’ll start off by talking about the first 29 seconds and falling behind 14-0. On the opening kickoff of the game, we actually did a really good job of covering that and a lot of components of our coverage team were really positive on that one. One of our players who has had a great year came down and lost contain on the play just trying to make a play and playing with a lot of aggression. That basically allowed a broken play. They had a return to the boundary and it was all clogged up. When we lost contain there, they jumped up the field and got a 65-yard return, which sets the tempo. The next play, they ran an RPO that is good against zone coverage. We were in man coverage. Their receiver just did a really good job of beating us one-on-one against our corner and making a play. That gave them the quick lead and then we come back with a kickoff return and our execution wasn’t very good on that at all. One of our returners actually hit the returner’s hand with his elbow and knocked the ball loose. Undeniably, we have to have much better ball security at the return position, but the execution around the returner wasn’t very good around the returner. Then, they came back and hit a play on us with a motion and vertical route to the tight end, so it was 29 seconds and we were down 14-0.”

“Again, there are things as we progress and try to work toward improving each and every weekend, we came back with a really positive drive where we converted a fourth down in that drive. We moved the ball very, very efficiently two weeks in a row now. I think our passing game is taking strides in the right direction. We have a 55 percent efficiency rate that we want to run the football at, and we’ve run it above the 55 percent efficiency rate. I thought that was really positive. We had no turnovers as an offense and only two penalties offensively. We are really trying to get the penalty thing cleaned up with what we are doing. I thought we executed our run-pass option and we threw the ball much more consistently. Those were the positive things I liked.”

“At times, I thought our offensive line did some really good things. We gave up some sacks. At times, our pass protection was really good. There were times when we gave up the sacks, there was just a glaring mistake by one position just getting beat one-on-one in pass protection. Offensively, there are signs of us showing improvement and moving in the right direction. Defensively, we did not start off very well at all. We gave up too many big plays defensively. There was not great eye control. That was a negative thing. The positive thing was we played the run well again. We defended the run very well and made them one dimensional. Obviously, one dimensional was plenty enough for them to win that ball game with what they did. The thing we did that I liked a lot and what I pointed out to the team this morning was more tackles for loss, more passes broken up, more tipped passes, more sacks, more quarterback hurries – all the things about being disruptive as a defense we wanted done, we did and now we have to eliminate the big plays we gave up through assignment errors.”

On the performance of special teams last week:

“Special teams wise, the first return set the tone for the game. We have to protect the punt better. We have to clean that up a little bit from last Saturday. I thought there were some things we definitely need to work on. Our kickoff return is a scheme we have been running for many years. We haven’t changed it. We’ve got different returns – one to the right, one to the left and one that is a counter off of that. Through the last 12 years, it is one that I put in at Kansas State that I had developed personally. It had been one of the very best at Kansas State and in the top 10 almost every year we were there. I’ve seen it start to take shape here and on Saturday, it showed itself. That is encouraging for me because it shows that some of the things that you keep doing the way it is supposed to be done, they will start to show themselves. I see that with the offense. I see it starting to take shape each and every Saturday with moving in the right direction. I saw it with the kickoff return. I know Duron (Lowe) had 204 yards on returns, which I believe someone said was the second-most at the school. I thought that was a real positive for us.”

“There are positives in everything and obviously negatives. Right now, we are going to try and eliminate those negatives and dwell on the positives to keep growing and sawing wood to get things going the way we want them to go in all three segments of what we are doing.”

On turning the attention to the final four games:

“As far as getting into these last four games, we are planning on playing some of our younger players now in the ball game coming up this week. We will start using the four games they have available to them for a redshirt season.”

“We are playing Charlotte this week, which will be a big test for us because they are on a nice roll. When they came from behind and got that win against North Texas, I think they gained a lot of momentum and came out and played a really good ball game against Middle Tennessee. They are executing their offense at a very high level. It is a tempo-style of offense and they do a lot of really neat things that created some real issues for Middle Tennessee. They are averaging 6.4 yards per play, which is a stat I always look at more than total yards because to me that measures efficiency of what the team you are playing does on offense. It will be a test for our defense. We have already had some good meetings defensively and I feel like we are putting together a good plan to stop their run game and stop their quarterback. He has been doing a nice job with the football. He is a runner and does a very solid job throwing the ball. We have to do a nice job of stopping both out of him. We don’t know the status of their running back yet. He didn’t play last week because of an injury, but we don’t know what his status is this week yet. He has had some tremendous production. He is a very physical, hard runner. It will definitely be a test for our defense.”

“Offensively, it is about just continuing to see us trend in the right direction that we are trending right now. We need to continue to be balanced and be efficient with what we are doing in both run and pass.”

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