Mike Price, 7th year at UTEP, 34-38; 163-160 overall, 29th year.
MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER
RB Donald Buckram -- Buckram rushed for 1,594 yards as a junior in 2009 and if he can replicate that in 2010, the Miners can be in the postseason conversation. That production is not only helping the run game, it opens things up for QB Trevor Vittatoe in the passing game.
WR Donavon Kemp -- After averaging 23.7 yards per reception in 2009, Kemp seems ready to make the leap to the Miners next home run threat at wide out. He even got the endorsement of his quarterback. "Donavon Kemp is going to be a breakout receiver this year, I really feel," QB Trevor Vittatoe said.
NEWCOMER TO WATCH
K/P Dakota Warren -- Even though he's never played a down for the Miners, he might actually fit under the "Most important player" category. UTEP is hanging its hat on the transfer as there isn't another scholarship player on the roster who can kick or punt. Only walk-ons back him up. Warren did not participate in spring drills, but he is still the dual-role starter in the kicking game for the season.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
Offense -- QB Trevor Vittatoe, RB Donald Buckram, WR Evan Davis, WE Donavon Kemp, WR Kris Adams, TE Jonny Moore, LT Will Osolinsky, LG Anthony McNac, C Tanner Cullumber, RG Rod Huntley, RT Alex Solot.
Defense -- DE Robert Soleyjacks, DT Germard Reed, DT Jamie Fehoko, DE Bernard Obi, WLB Anthony Morrow, MLB Jamie Irving, SLB Royzell Smith, CB Antwon Blake, CB Travaun Nixon, SS Braxton Amy, FS Brandon Miller.
--SS Braxton Amy, who led the team in interceptions (5) in 2009, was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in July. Amy redshirted in 2005 and missed 2008 with a knee injury.
--QB Trevor Vittatoe said in early August he was "between 90 and 95 percent" after offseason shoulder surgery, but added "If you were to see me go out and throw and play, you wouldn't be able to tell there is any difference."
--After missing much or all of spring practice, RT Alex Solot (suspended for six spring practices for an unspecified violation of team rules) and LT Will Osolinsky (sat out spring with a shoulder injury) both entered August practices as the projected starting bookends on the Miners' offensive line.
Copyright (C) 2010 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.