Week 9 UTEP football press conference transcript

UTEP

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP head coach Dana Dimel spoke with the media Monday in advance of the team’s upcoming home game versus Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso.

Head Coach Dana Dimel

Recapping the early lead in the FIU game:

“We had a 7-3 lead and I expected that to happen. When we were ahead 7-3, in my mind, that is how I anticipated the game going and how I anticipated the game to continue to go. The next drive, they went down the field and converted a bunch of third-and-long plays. We seemed to be better on the night at third-and-medium than third-and-long. It was a nemesis for us at times, especially in that drive, which got them back in the lead. I made that statement that I felt like when we were ahead 7-3, I was comfortable in my mind that’s how I saw the night going. I really felt that way. I am just not sure yet that I have been able to get the confidence into our football team where they felt the same that I did that this was a game that we could and should have an opportunity to win even though we were a huge underdog. From that point on after we lost the lead, we just didn’t play with consistency and there were way too many critical unforced errors. We had the mechanic problems with the snap. Some of the momentum we had was broken. It seemed to escalate from there.”

On eliminating penalties and unforced errors:

“We had two penalties in the game that were just undisciplined, retaliation and or blocking behind the football and blocking someone in the back. Those are two penalties that to me are not acceptable in any form or fashion. As a head coach, what we have decided to do is escalate the consequences. That, to me, is the most important thing you can do as a leader of a program. If actions are happening that are not acceptable actions for your football team, then you up the consequences to try and minimize those. We are putting a pretty huge penalty on the fouls that are occurring to deter those moving forward with what we are doing. For anyone that watched the game, that was a big part of the outcome of the game.”

“We have to be more disciplined with what we are doing and just be better fundamentally. To me, we are just still not playing well enough fundamentally at times. When you don’t play well fundamentally, you get penalized. Some of them were undisciplined and some of them were not good enough fundamentals to put us in the position to not get those penalties called. We just have to execute and be more fundamentally sound on these instances that occur.”

On facing LA Tech at home this week:

“Looking at this next game, it will be Military Appreciation Night for us here and we invite everybody from Fort Bliss to come on out and see the ball game. We are obviously very thankful for all the military does for us. It should be a good evening. We are playing LA Tech, who is a very good football team. Right now, they are on top of our conference and on a good run. They enjoyed a big victory over Southern Miss when they came from down 14-0. They have a really good quarterback in (J’Mar) Smith. He is a tremendous player and does a really nice job of running their offense. He is an experienced player who has played quite a few ball games for them and you can tell. I think he has done a great job in leading that football team.”

“Defensively, they have rebuilt their defense. I know they lost some good players last year, but they have gotten better on defense. I think they have a good secondary. They have some players up front that are playing really well on the defensive line. They have brought in some offensive linemen that have come up through the program and developed into some good players.”

“You can tell that Skip (Holtz) has developed a good program there through the years and he has had time to put together some good depth in his program. He has some talent that has been working its way up through the system. They just consistently have a good football team. It will definitely be a big challenge for us. Again, this is a game that we just have to control the things that we can control and make it a very competitive game to give ourselves a chance to win.”

On the plan for quarterback vs. LA Tech:

“Brandon (Jones’) status is unknown and up in the air. From the performance of the two players on Saturday, I would say both of them did some good things. Both of them did things not well. At this point, I would say from that evaluation that I like some of the plays that Kai (Locksley) made in the ball game, so I would say that he is probably going to be the starter for this ball game.”

On beginning to utilize other quarterbacks with the new redshirt rules:

“Right now, Gavin (Hardison) is going to get more and more reps this week. He has the four games and we have six left. We definitely want to see if we can start getting him into action and start working him in. It would not be out of the realm of possibility that he might play some in this ball game this weekend. We are going to work toward preparing him toward that angle and getting him more and more reps and just see how the week plays out. He would be the first guy that would have the opportunity to get in there and play. He had a good workout today. Today is less of a dynamic practice, but it is still a practice to work on some things. He had a good day today, so as the week goes along, we are going to keep trying to bring him along and see if we can get him in some of these games.”

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