UTEP going back to two quarterback system


Following the bye week, UTEP head coach Dana Dimel addressed the media for the first time since the Miners’ heartbreaking loss to North Texas at his weekly press conference. UTEP will play at Louisiana Tech on Saturday and Dimel hinted the Miners will play both junior Kai Locksley and senior Ryan Metz at quarterback.

Dana Dimel press conference transcript:

Opening Statement

“I feel like our team gained a lot of confidence from that ballgame (vs. North Texas). You can really see it in the way that we’re practicing. We had a couple of practices last week and came back and had one this morning out in the chilly weather here this morning. Guys aren’t quite accustomed to that (the chilly weather), but they need to get accustomed to that because we’ve got some games later in the year that could be in cooler climate. So, I thought that was good work for us as well. I can just really see that the practices last week and again this morning were practices that had a lot of good tempo to it. The team is starting to gain some confidence from the performance (against North Texas). There’s been some improvement in each area stemming all the way back to the Tennessee game. We talked about playing them the way that we did, and then just moving forward having opportunities to win each and every ballgame that we’re in. As a coach, that’s the spot you want to get to. You want to get your football team in a position to win football games in the fourth quarter. I think we’re definitely doing that. Now the big thrust is obviously you want to win football games. So, the thing for us now is to jump over that threshold and get some victories as we go through what is the second half of our regular season. It’s not really the second half of your season, because you have a lot of fall camp practices leading into the season, but it is the second half of the regular season. For us as we move forward, we have a great challenge against LA Tech. We need to take some of the positive things that we did against North Texas, which was respond to being down in the ballgame and coming back. We’re starting to do that well. We took the lead against North Texas, 3-0. But then we fell down, 20-10. We responded with a couple of scores there to make the game really close. We had a chance to win it on the last drive of the game. So, that’s a couple weeks in a row for our football team when we’ve had a chance to win a football game on the last drive of the game. So, we need to improve our execution in those types of situations. I’m pleased with the effort, pleased with where the team’s moving. The team is having the next man up philosophy really. Guys are stepping up that haven’t had a chance to play, and they’re doing some nice things for us.”

(On LA Tech)

“They’re a team to me that has had good success this season. They’re doing some nice things. They have a quarterback in (J’Mar) Smith that’s a very good player. They’ve got a couple of running backs that they get the ball to and kind of share the touches between those two guys. They have two receivers that get the majority of their catches for them. They both have good quickness and good speed as well. Then defensively they have a couple of defensive ends that I think are outstanding players that create some issues off the edge. They’ve got some good experience in the secondary and at the linebacker position. They took a few injuries in the ballgame last week, which we haven’t heard any updates on out of their camp. We’ll have to see as we go into the ballgame on Saturday if any of those guys are going to play or not in the ballgame. There’s a linebacker, some (players) on the offensive line and the quarterback was moving around with a little bit of a limp there throughout the second half of their ballgame against UTSA. They did what they’ve done all year. What you do when you have an open week like this is you get a lot of tendencies on your opponent. They like to throw the ball. They’re a 50-50 team run to pass (ratio), almost exactly the same ratio. I think it is within two reps of each other of run to pass right now. It was very even Saturday where they threw it a bit more early (in the game) and then they ran it at the end of the game. So, they’re very balanced with what they do. We need to make sure that we’re prepared for both segments of what they do offensively. I talked about the players they have on defense that help them be a good defensive football team. We need to make some plays in our special team this week. I think that would be really crucial for us in this ballgame. Looking at our special teams, we’re starting to get some continuity back with some guys coming back from injuries this week. It will help our special teams. I’m looking for our special teams to get back on track and do some things that will help us win a football game. Then also we talked about all week that we need to create some more turnovers. We’ve talked about that the last couple of weeks. We need to create some more turnovers and to really minimize our turnovers. I don’t want our football team to be concerned about turnovers because then you play too cautiously. But, we need to win the turnover margin. I think (if) we do that in any of these last three ballgames, then we probably come out on top. So, that’s a goal for us moving into this week.”

(On what was accomplished on the open week)

“We had some good practices. We allowed the guys to try to get caught up on their injuries and get healthy a little bit. Then we also put a lot of focus on our schoolwork. As coaches, we went out and recruited. We had a really heavy workload. There were 72 junior colleges that we hit, and I think it was 106 schools overall that our staff hit from Wednesday evening through Saturday before preparing for the LA Tech game. Myself, I went out and did a lot of windshield time. I hit a couple of junior colleges in Kansas. They said it was the first time that they’ve seen a head coach there in probably a long time if ever. We’re out there making efforts to really pound the pavement and find some good players for us. Moving forward, we’re sure excited about what the second half of this season brings as well as we move forward to this LA Tech game.” 

(On updates on injuries)

“I’m not going to make any comments about any injuries right now. I’m not in the position to do that.”


(On his plan at the quarterback position)

“It’s going to be interesting because I thought Metzy (Ryan Metz) played well in the ballgame (vs. North Texas). I thought he brought some dimensions to our offense that were very, very positive in the things that he did. By playing both (Kai Locksley and Ryan Metz) of them in the ballgame, which could very easily happen this weekend, I think we become a tougher preparation. We talked about that going into camp. In the first ballgame, Metzy (Ryan Metz) had the bad first drive and didn’t get to see much (playing time) after that. I think just from studying our football team and studying what teams have to do to prepare for us, I think we can create more issues by playing both of them. So that’s my thoughts going in. As far as rotation of the reps will go, that will be evaluated each and every practice moving forward after today. At this point, I’m thinking that both of those guys are going to play in the ballgame.”

(On the offense’s performance against North Texas with Ryan Metz at QB)

“Well, we did some nice things. We were able to throw the ball well. I like it when we can throw for over 300 yards a game. I’ve always said if we can get seven to nine guys to get touches, that’s more of how our offense likes to be able to operate efficiently. We did that more last Saturday when we played. Metzy (Ryan Metz) did a lot of good things for us. He can run the ball well enough that you still have to be concerned about the run game with him. The complement of him and Kai (Locksley) both is something that I think can be a tough preparation for people. But, I did like a lot of the things that we did offensively last week.”

(On if he’s happy with how players are recovering from injuries)

“Yes, it’s been really good. I just don’t want to talk specifics, but I can talk generally for sure. I like that we’re going to have some guys back that have been out. Especially it’s going to show up more in special teams. As the week goes along, there will be more updates as far as who’s going to be playing and who is not. There will be some guys that haven’t played that could be back this week as well. That could be a plus for us as well.”

(On if Kai Locksley could develop in the passing game to be more of a dual threat)

“Yes. Again, some of the things that we did Saturday was because of the match-up. Metzy (Ryan Metz) did a good job, but a lot of those were because the offensive line matched up well with their defensive line in pass protection. As you look at in the game plan, that was something that we saw that was a good plus for us because of the how the match-ups were with the guys that we had playing and that guys that were up on their front. My evaluation of Kai (Locksley) as a passer is that I think Kai is going to be a really good passer of the football and be able to run our offense at a high level. He’s continuing to improve on that, but he’s very intelligent and he’s a very good athlete. He throws the ball extremely well. There’s nothing wrong with the way Kai throws the football. So, the reason we haven’t been throwing with Kai is not what it’s perceived to be. We haven’t felt good about our match-up of our offensive line pass protecting against some of the defensive lines that we play. I really think that Kai can progress as he continues to become more mature. Ryan has a lot more experience, a lot more starts under his belt. As Kai continues to mature, he’ll become a very good passer for us.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Local Sports

More Local Sports