Week 14: UTEP football press conference transcript


Photo credit: Ruben R. Ramirez

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP head coach Dana Dimel spoke with the media Monday in advance of the team’s final game versus Rice on Saturday, Nov. 30 at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso.

Head Coach Dana Dimel

Recapping the NM State game

“I want to start off by talking about the game with it being my first experience going over there. It is a fun rivalry. I thought it was a good environment for us to go to and play in and enjoy the rivalry that we have. I have a lot of respect for Coach Martin and the job he does over there. Playing in the afternoon in late November, not that it is something we are going to do moving forward, but I thought that was a nice touch for the game and a great setting for the communities. Sometimes the emotions are raw after the game, but I just want to put it into perspective. Both teams did a lot of positive things in that game and both teams played extremely hard. For two 1-9 football teams, there was a lot of good football being played out there.”

“We felt like defensively, we didn’t play well enough to win the game. When you go back and look at it, it was four huge running plays, but you take that out of the game and it is just a different kind of ball game. We had 70-something plays to their 56 plays. When I went back and talked to our team this morning, we had 570 yards of offense, and in all honesty, we should have had another 150. We left 150 to 180 yards out there on the field that should have been taken advantage of. If we do that and eliminate the turnovers, then it is a different ball game. What was disappointing was on the first turnover, we had a call that was custom-made for Cover 3, we knew what coverage we were going to get, and Kai (Locksley) could not see Reynaldo Flores the receiver. He just could not find him. If he just waits another split second, it is a 70-yard touchdown because Rey was running wide open like we intended to do with that coverage. The difference in the aspect with that play right there with a guy running wide open versus coverage you know you are going to get, it is a 14-point swing in the game right there. It is just those little things we have to do better.”

“I did like the fact that every one of our receivers who play had two catches or more. Our tight end had a couple catches as well before he went down with an injury. We put in a lot more of our run-pass option offense. You can just see that Kai is back and playing. He is a second-year guy who played some last year and then got hurt, but he missed a lot this summer. You can see how the offense can take shape and really start rolling with all the run-pass concepts, the quarterback run concepts, the drop-back passing spread offense. There are a lot of different dimensions to what we did Saturday offensively, so that part of it was very pleasing moving forward. It just goes to show you as Kai gains more and more experience in the system of what he can do. And now we just have to get the younger quarterbacks to jump on board and continue to play around him. We played a lot of young offensive linemen in the ball game who played a pretty solid football game. Obviously, I was happy with their play. Most of our receiving corps will be back. I was happy with their play and what they did.”

“We’ve got some young running backs and Wadley coming back at that position, so to me there is a lot of encouragement with how the offense is starting to come together and what direction it is moving.”

“Defensively, we have to figure out how to stop the run game better. We have to be better suited to stop the run game as far as assignments, techniques and fundamentals of what we are doing and not allow those big runs to get out on us, because if we take those out of the game it is a whole different ball game for us.”

“One more thing on offense is we have to finish drives. We were 3-of-5 with touchdowns in the red zone. Those other two drives we got in the red zone and we came up short. Those were big drives that we need to finish better.”

On facing Rice this week:

“I think Rice is playing extremely hard. They are really trying to control the clock and shorten the game, which is what you look at when you look at the scores of their games. They have been keeping the scores very, very low, but it doesn’t really play itself out because they are averaging 70 plays a game and their opponents are averaging 70 plays a game. Their defense is playing extremely well. They are keeping the score down. I thought they played really well against LA Tech, Southern Miss and obviously they have gotten a couple wins here late with the last two ball games against Middle Tennessee and North Texas.”

On honoring the senior class on Saturday:

“This is a great group of guys. They have been really positive. They come out to practice and are excited to be there. They are working hard. It has always been fun for me to coach football on Thanksgiving week. It is a cool time of the year to prepare and enjoy the opportunity. These seniors have been rock solid for us, the whole group of them. They are really good individuals. They are all good students and are going to go out in the community and do a lot of positive things, especially the group who has been here for a while. The ones who have been here the last three years – I am really proud of them because they are a great, solid group of people, and that is important to have. It is going to be enjoyable trying to get them a win. Let’s try to get them a win more than anything because they need to get that taste as they leave the program.”

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