Week 13: UTEP football press conference transcript


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP head coach Dana Dimel spoke with the media Monday in advance of the team’s upcoming rivalry game at New Mexico State on Saturday, November 23 at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces.

Head Coach Dana Dimel

On the decision to bring Gavin Hardison in at QB:

“Obviously, we were not happy with the outcome, but I think some things were accomplished throughout the game that bode well for us moving forward. The start was not good and kind of led to us falling behind 17-0 after the interception. I didn’t think we started off well on either side of the football. Initially, we allowed them to go down and have a couple scoring drives and then the interception that led to a score for them. The start was not good and that is why we made the decision offensively to get Gavin (Hardison) some opportunities where the game situation was and allow him the chance to gain some experience against a team that was ranked in the top echelon in defensive stats nationally. They were in the top 12 in four different critical defensive stats. Putting him into an environment where we were down 17-0 and going against a really good defense was a good opportunity for him to mature and use some of these last ball games to get him more seasoned as we head into next season. That was the positive to being able to use him and take advantage of that type of situation. Initially, we kind of tempered what we did with him. Based on what they were doing, we tempered what we did with him to get him a feel for the game. Our defense started to gain a little bit of traction and started to understand some of the new things they were doing at the end of the half. We started to let him throw the ball a little bit and open up the offense. He led us down on a drive that had some inconsistency, but for a first start and with the circumstances I just talked about, there was some really positive execution by our offense.”

On the progression of younger players:

“There are things I saw that really got us excited about some of the younger players. We started a true freshman on our offensive line at right tackle. We had a redshirt freshman at right guard. We had (Derron) Gatewood at center, which has just been monumental for us throughout the season and doing a tremendous job. He is a warrior and I am so proud of him and what he brings to our football team on and off the field. We had a sophomore at left guard and then a true sophomore at left tackle. The positive part about that is I thought we protected really well and gave our guys some opportunities to do some things that fit them against the type of defense we were playing. Some of the receivers that are playing well are guys that we return to the program next year in Jacob Cowing, who is doing some sensational stuff. (Tre’Shon) Wolf has been playing very good. (Justin) Garrett has been playing well. (Alan) Busey is a senior, but he is doing some nice things for us. Walter Dawn made a catch and he is starting to pick his game back up after being stimulated by the guys around him. Hopefully, he will continue to do that and respond to the competition. I like what our receiving corps is doing there. In our running backfield, Deion (Hankins) made a really strong run after he was hurt. He made a very strong run and did some really aggressive things. He is continuing to improve each and every week. He was the Luke Laufenberg winner for us on offense this week. We are so proud of him and what he is bringing to the table. It is fun to see him and what he is going to be as well. Those are the positives we are gaining from the football game.”

On the defensive performance at UAB:

“Defensively, we have to do a better job of stopping the run, but once we settled in a little better, I think we did a better job. We have to do a better job of the stopping the quarterback run game. That was the big thing. It surprised us because we didn’t really think that quarterback was going a runner. He really came in, ran hard and did a lot of really good things. They played a very aggressive, physical football game, so hats off to them for what they brought to the table.”

On moving forward to the NM State game:

“We want to be competitive, but also make sure we build and continue to get better for the future. A lot of that was gained from the game. I talked to the guys this morning about getting the things we need to get fixed and get our corrections made. That was the message. Fix what we need to fix. Learn what we need to learn from the last game. And then let’s get excited about this game, which is always a big game for everybody involved in El Paso and everyone involved in the program and cares about our program. This is a big game and it will be a fun challenge. New Mexico State had a nice win last week and did some positive things both offensively and defensively. They are a football team that is hot from that win last week and they are obviously a much better football team than their record indicates and they have some good senior experience on their football team. They have a lot of talented players and good athleticism. They are coached extremely well. They do a great job of coaching him over there. It is just a fun game for our guys. Now, we get ready to have an exciting weekend with our guys and get ready to play a really good football game and try to get better every day and have fun this weekend playing New Mexico State.”

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