The worst thing that could happen to the Miners this season was Rice and Mike Bloomgren starting to win. That happened. Rice finished their year off 3-0, and has some nice momentum going into the next season. To top it off, fellow University of Texas system school UTSA has fired their head coach.
Dana Dimel and UTEP had a bad season, going winless in the league for the second time in two seasons. Last year they managed the one win over Rice.
This season was bad. When Dimel came in, he said it would be hard but he was excited to learn from his previous stints as Houston HC and as a staff member at K-State. Last year it looked solid, as the Kugler kids played well defensively and OC Mike Canales had the Miners trying to control the clock and do some K-State type runs with the QB.
This year, Kai Locksley was unavailable because of an arrest, and Brandon Jones and Devin Hardison did not impress. The offense was poor and ineffective. The trio of QBs combined for eight TDs and five INTs.
The defense, missing the talent like Nik Needham (Dolphins cornerback) struggled and with no offense to speak of, had to do it for long stretches. It was a recipe for a losing season and UTEP football just about had a winless season. Even the lone win over Houston Baptist was harrowing and required a comeback.
UTEP has been at the bottom of the recruiting standings (no surprise there) for three straight-years and there is no great hope. The plan is to develop and build a system, says Dan Dimel, and to supplement that with the right transfer. The import of Kai Locksley was supposed to do just that. He was a former quality recruit and his talent running the ball is evident.
The challenge was going to be in developing his arm while building a team. So far, not so good. Compared to the close-but-not-quite-there struggles in Houston with the Owls, UTEP looks more desperate and further away from the goal.