EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Winning solves everything. It makes the weekend feel longer, it makes food taste better and its finally given UTEP head coach Dana Dimel the ability to coach his team the way football is supposed to be coached: hard.
The Miners are off to their best start in program history since 2010. They can match that 5-1 start from 11 years ago with a win on Saturday against Southern Miss. But Dimel is far from satisfied and that’s much more prevalent than ever before.
In his first three years leading the program, Dimel faced a total rebuild and from the media’s standpoint, rarely chewed out his players. However, this season he has been much more vocal at practices and on the sidelines during games, even getting after sophomore quarterback Gavin Hardison in a Week 1 win over Bethune-Cookman.
“The more success you have, the more confident your team gets. The more confident your team gets, the harder you can coach them,” said Dimel. “When you’re dealing with a fragile team that is learning how to win and how to build, you can’t coach them as intense because they’ll lose their confidence. Our team is gaining more confidence which allows us to coach them at an even higher level.”
It makes sense and the players are buying into it. Five games into the season, and the Miners are just two wins shy of their first bowl appearance since 2015.
“We’ve had a talk with coach [Dimel] and it’s more like him asking us what we want to do and what we want to achieve,” said UTEP junior defensive back Dennis Barnes. “Everyone is saying bowl game and to have a winning season.”
At practices is when Dimel can be heard the most. Every detail matters on both sides of the football, and if mistakes are made, his players — even his staff — is going to hear about them.
“We have to prepare. That’s what this is all about right now,” said Dimel. “Preparation comes from pushing ourselves to another level that we haven’t been to before.”
UTEP will look to continue to make history on Saturday night in Hattiesburg. Kickoff against Southern Miss at M.M. Roberts Stadium is slated for 5 p.m. MT on ESPN3.