UTEP Miners

FBS RankingOffenseDefense
Rushing154.9 (57th)189.8 (90th)
Passing225.6 (65th)251.7 (84th)

Miners report: Notes, quotes

The Sports Xchange
Notes, quotes · Strategy and personnel · Inside slant

--SS Braxton Amy was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, a move the team expected but had to sweat out until mid-July. When healthy, Amy has arguably been the best defender on the Miners since he completed his redshirt season in 2005. He earned freshman postseason honors in 2006, led the team in tackles in 2007, missed all of 2008 with a knee injury and then saw action in seven games in 2009 and led the team with five interceptions.

--Former UTEP snapper and tight end Jamar Hunt is suing the Dallas Cowboys, arguing the team's practice facility collapse in May 2009 due to high winds cost him his professional career. Hunt, who was an undrafted free agent, suffered a herniated disk in his neck as a result of the structure's collapse and was later cut by the Cowboys before training camp.

The Miners were able to pull off an early upset over the Houston Cougars in Game No. 5 a season ago, but repeating that feat on Sept. 10 this year on the road is a tall order. If the Miners defense is clicking by game two and can keep QB Case Keenum in relative check, the Miners might not only have another upset, they'd be sitting atop the C-USA standings.

Price's offense with QB Trevor Vittatoe and RB Donald Buckram will score like crazy, again. The key to the Miners success this season is how quickly players buy into new defensive coordinator Andre Patterson's 4-3 scheme. UTEP can't allow 33.5 points per game as it did in 2009 and expect to make a return to the postseason.

Price will always have a pass-happy offense, but until the season begins, it's hard to know for sure who the big playmaker receivers are going to be. Fortunately for the Miners, there are several candidates. The biggest concern might be on defense, though, where only four starters return. Considering the struggles the team had in 2009, maybe that's not a negative after all.

"The seniors have stepped up and taken charge. They are doing a fantastic job, better than any year since the first year or two. They are governing themselves, setting their own rules, policing themselves. I couldn't be more excited." -- UTEP head coach Mike Price to the El Paso Times.

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April 6, 2012 4:00 PM ET

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